Contributed by Info Guru Cindi Pearce
Some people have a green thumb and others don’t.
Even if you are in the latter category, don’t throw in the towel. You can have a beautiful flower bed. It may not be featured in a gardening magazine but it will be nice enough that it makes you happy and proud of your accomplishment. It will involve some trial and error but keep at it.
There is a lot of work that goes into maintaining a flower bed if you want it to look first-rate. You’ve got to keep the weeds under control and the plants fueled by water. Here are the top ten flower bed maintenance tips.
Remember: Flowers are like children. You have to keep checking in on them.
10. Share garden talk
The fact that you are interested enough in maintaining your flower bed to read this shows that you are willing to do what it takes to have a thriving flower bed, even if you do not have a green thumb. Talk to other gardeners. Everyone has their own special tips on what to do and not do when it comes to flower gardening. You will pick up some valuable information when you network with other flower lovers.
9. Don’t over garden
In the fall, don’t be overzealous about cleaning up your flower garden. When you leave the perennial plants intact birds can eat the seed heads during winter’s cold. And those fall leaves you might be tempted to bag up and get rid of can provide much needed protection for your flowers.
8. Divide perennials
Divide your spring-blooming perennials (tulips, daffodils, irises, day lilies and hostas, etc.) in the late summer or early fall.
7. Shade vs sun
If your flower garden is in the shade, you must plant shade-loving groundcovers, flowers, herbs and shrubs.
Look at the tags on the flower container when you’re shopping for plants. Generally it tells whether the plant needs sun or shade. Some popular plants that like the shade include hostas, bleeding hearts, forget-me-nots, Lily-of-the-Valley and bluebells as well as ferns.
After your spring flowers and shrubs have bloomed in the spring, prune them using the right size pruning tools for the plant. When you do this it allows the plants to set flower buds in the fall. If you prune in the fall or winter you are removing the flower buds for the next year.
Don’t get upset if your colorful perennials don’t take off the first year. Some require as much as three years to reach full maturity.
Perennials sleep, creep and leap over this 36-month period. Patience is the key. It takes a long time for peonies, for example, to reach maturity but they will. In the meantime, don’t plant another perennial too close to it because you think the peony is a lost cause. It isn’t. It will grow.
If it doesn’t rain regularly you need to water your plants. Most plants require one- to two inches of water each week. Water your plants thoroughly once a week rather than daily light watering because the latter approach discourages the plant roots from growing deeper.
Deadhead your spring-blooming bulbs when they are spent (depleted.) Deadheading means to remove the spent buds. When you deadhead, the plant is able to send energy to the bulb. Do not cut down the foliage until it turns brown or yellow. When you leave the leaves intact for a while after the flower has bloomed this allows the leaves to store important nutrients that are mandatory for the bulb to bloom the next year. Some people tie the leaves together but this isn’t a good idea because it lessens the amount of light that can get to the surface of the leaf.
2. Pull weeds
Weeds are a pain in the behind but they’re inevitable. Hand-weeding is the best way to clear out and control weeds. When you hoe deeply this causes the seeds of the weeds to come to the surface of the soil and you’re going to end up with even more weeds. If you keep on top of weeding, the weeds don’t get the chance to go to seed and create more weeds. Mulch prevents as well as smothers weeds.
1. Know your zone
It is imperative that you know which hardiness zone you live in. North America is divided into 100 separate zones and each zone if 10 degrees F warmer or colder during an average winter than the zone adjacent to it. The zones symbolize an area of winter hardiness for landscape plants and agriculture, which indicates which plants, will survive the winter in that area. If you live in Ohio, don’t plant tropical plants in your yard and expect them to survive the winter. If you plant flowers that aren’t capable of surviving in the zone in which you live, you are wasting time and money.