One of the best ways to add beauty to your landscape whether indoors and outdoors is to grow flowering ornamentals. How lovely it will be to be greeted with gorgeous flowers during their bloom season. The different shapes and colors will surely lighten up your mood.
But aside from bringing beauty, flowers play very important roles in the biodiversity of your garden. That’s why we highly encourage that you grow flowers along with your vegetables, herbs, and other plants you have at home. Flowers are also very saleable and you can use them to increase your source of income.
If growing flowers is not your forte, this article will help you start your own flower garden. Consider these following factors before you begin.
Design of the Flower Garden
Flowers are considered as softscapes in the landscape. Even if you’re not a professional landscape architect, it is best to have a clear vision of how you want your plants to be arranged in the area. Will you plant them in pots or directly on the ground?
Create a plan and a rough sketch of the garden. Decide on the theme of the garden. Identify where you would plant the flowers. If potted, think of how you would position each plant. Visualize the colors and texture of the flowers during blooming. Your imagination and creativity works best at this stage.
Purpose of the Flower Garden
It’s also important to consider the main purpose of the flower garden you’ll be establishing. Is it a butterfly garden, a garden for pollinators like bees, a garden for flower pests or an edible flower garden? This will largely determine the type of flowers that you can grow.
Butterfly and Bee Garden
If you have a bee farm, it’s always a necessity to keep a bee garden. They need those flower nectars to produce the honey that we consume. This type of garden is specifically established to help pollinators find a safe place to fend themselves.
Edible Flower Garden
This is basically a garden of flowers that can be eaten and consumed whether raw or cooked. They are used as garnishing on salads and other cooked meals. Some are used as decorations on cakes and pastries. Others are used in juices and teas. Examples are chamomile, nasturtiums, butterfly pea and lavender.
Type of Flowers to Grow
Once you’re sure about the design of the garden, you can decide on what flowers to grow. There’s a huge number of flowers you can choose from and we know it can be overwhelming. What you can do is consider the growing cycle of the flower to know where and when it’s best to plant them.
Annuals are those flowers which completes its entire life cycle from germination to seed production and senescence. This means that you need to renew them year by year.
Examples of annuals: Celosia, Sunflower, Daisy, Golden Dewdrop, Rattleweed, Zinnia, Marigold, Dianthus, Petunia, Bunny Tail
Perennials, on the other hand, will take more than two years to complete its life cycle. This type of flowers will stay in your garden for a long time and there’s no need to replant them annually.
Examples of perennials: Bird of Paradise, Yellow Trumpet, Cannlla Lily, Crown of Thorns, Hibiscus, Ixora, Mussaenda, Purple Heart, Roses, Aster, Dahlia, Gladioli, Morning Glory, and Hollyhock.
All flowers above were successfully grown (from seed, cutting and bulb) here in Lagos, Nigeria.
After deciding on which flowers to grow, it’s time to start securing your seeds or seedlings. You can buy various types of flower seeds here.
Starting the Garden
Just like growing vegetables and other crops, the process involved in starting a flower garden are almost the same.
Prepare the soil by cleaning the ground. Remove the weeds and other obstructions. Dig the ground to create flower beds. We recommend having the soil tested first.
Add 1 to 2 inches organic matter such as compost or manure on the soil to improve its structure.
Planting Seeds or Transplants
There are flowers that you can directly sow on the soil while there are others best planted using transplants. Always check the label of the seed packet to know exactly how to plant the flowers you’ve chosen. For transplants, give them time to harden off by exposing them to the sun little by little each day before you transfer them on the ground.
Maintaining the Garden
Water the flower beds daily except when it rains. Flowers would also need to be fed periodically. Use the ones specifically designed for flowering plants. It usually contains higher amounts of phosphorus.
Remove the weeds from time to time so they won’t compete with the growing flowers for water and nutrients.
Once the flowers start to blossom, your garden will become a haven for bees, butterflies, hoverflies, and other insects. This is the most enjoyable part of growing flowers. Not only will it add colour to your landscape but will also feed and attract beneficial insects.