Not really such a daft question. After all, on the whole we don’t eat them or turn them into medicine, not domestically at least. Fundamentally we grow flowers because they are beautiful, we spend our time and exert our energy on them because their aesthetics make us feel good. Beauty is a characteristic of a person, animal, place, object, or idea that provides a perceptual experience of pleasure, meaning, or satisfaction…in other words…flower’s rock…and that’s why we want to grow them.
This depends on a myriad of factors including the type of soil you have (if indeed you have any), what climate you enjoy, your access to water and indeed your own personal sensibilities. There are varieties of flower for almost every situation. Extremes of conditions naturally curb the availability of flora but generally you will be able to find something to grow and to make your heart sing a merry little tune…
Annuals are grown from seed and will last, as their name suggests, a single year, after which they will set seed and keel over. Perennials have adapted to get through the winters and last several years. If you are just taking up the splendid hobby of flower growing then we would suggest you try a few of each. Of course you will make some mistakes at first but you will soon find your way…and mistakes are a great teacher. Buying seed is dirt cheep (excuse the pun) whereas buying perennials can be expensive, just spend what you can afford at your local garden center and get started.
Ok, you’ve decided, like us, that flowers rock. You’ve checked out what grows in your area at the garden center and your ready to go. So how do you do it?
Now to go into the different needs of every flowering plant would take me until I’m a very old and wrinkly man…(at least a couple of weeks). So instead I shall give you a general idea how to prepare your ground and grow the ‘family favorites’.
Preparing the ground
Dig your ground to at least the depth of a garden spade and preferably twice that. Add to this loose soil lots of organic matter, generally in the form of general purpose compost. Don’t forget if you are planting perennials they could be in the same spot for years and years so do a good job of it! On the whole most flowering plants like to be in full sun but check the label before hand.
Know the requirements of your plants
If you are planting perennials ensure you are giving them enough space, one wouldn’t want them being to close and having to compete with each other for water, light or nutrients and consequently underperforming…oh no no…perish the thought.
You will by virtue of adding all that compost have made your bed ‘free draining’ which most flowering plants prefer. They don’t like to get their feet wet. This does not mean however that they do not need a good supply of water at regular intervals. Again the information on your seed packet or plant label will no doubt inform you of how many times you will be turning on the hose in the oncoming months.
Fertilize and deadhead
Oli recently wrote a rather jolly post on the subject of organic fertilizers….check it out here.
Most flowering plants will send chemical messages to itself to set seed once it senses its flowers are dying…so deadhead your plants regularly and it will fool it into producing blooms for longer.
Most of all, enjoy growing your flowers and we hope they give you as much pleasure as we get from growing ours. Do let us know how you’re getting on.
Expanding Mandy xxx
Image Credits. Presentation Zen, Heaven and Yarn.