Beautiful Flowers are Just a Few Steps Away
I know what my fantasy garden would look like. Glorious blossoms would appear like magic while I sat in a cool and shady spot, iced-tea at hand, directing the show. Alas, this isn’t likely to happen. Experience has taught me that it takes time, effort, and planning to create a garden full of beautiful flowers, and vibrant color every spring.
Step 1: Plan & Plant
Planning comes into play long before those spring blossoms arrive. When the weather starts to turn cool in the fall, it’s time to get your flower beds ready for the coming winter so they’ll be in the best condition possible come spring.
- Remove any annuals, weeds, and spent blossoms still hanging around.
- If you have beds that are used only for annuals, you can work organic matter such as manure into the soil.
- Plant bulbs if you’d like your spring garden to contain flowers such as tulips, daffodils, or crocuses.
- Monitor water for remaining plants. If your fall season doesn’t have adequate rain, supplement with sprinklers.
- Trim back perennials to ground level after the first frost, unless you want to leave any attractive stalks to add interest to your winter garden.
- Prune your shrubs and trees as needed before the first frost.
- Add a thick layer of mulch around perennials and shrubs to protect them from the cold.
Keep an eye on your garden from time to time over the winter. If you have a thaw and snow melts away, that’s an excellent opportunity to check the condition of your mulch covering.
Step 2: Primp
In the spring, you can begin preparing the soil after the ground thaws. Remove any debris, such as broken branches or trash. If the old mulch is in poor condition, remove it, too. Otherwise, work it into the soil, adding leaf mold or manure if necessary. Add new mulch to preserve moisture and keep down weeds.
Early spring is also a good time to start encouraging your plants to bloom.
- This is the best time to divide most perennials, just as the new spring growth begins to show. The plants have energy stored in their roots that will help them survive the stress and settle into a long summer of growing time.
- As the blossoms on your early-blooming shrubs and perennials die, trim them off to encourage more blooms.
- After the danger of unexpected frost has past, plant annuals or new perennials to bring a burst of bright color to your garden.
Plan your garden to show off every flower to its best advantage. In beds along a path, fence, or wall, shorter plants should be in front and taller varieties in the back. New varieties of old perennial standards like coneflowers and hibiscus arrive every spring, as do new annuals. Plan a mix of your favorite colors and flowers using established varieties and toss in a few of the new styles for unexpected punch.
Step 3: Plan
Unfortunately, a beautiful garden won’t appear by itself. The only way to have that display of color is to plan for it. Set a weekend in the fall and again in the early spring to get the big jobs done. Enlist your spouse, kids, neighbors, or cousins for help if you need it, or consider hiring help for the hardest work if you can’t manage it yourself. However you accomplish the job, you’ll be rewarded with those beautiful flowers every spring.