One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides. (W.E. Johns)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Why have a flower garden?

I have a friend who asked me why I bother with flowers. You cant eat them. They die. Why do I love flowers? They are BEAUTIFUL! BRIGHT! BEAUTIFUL!

One of the great joys of growing flowers is gathering them into bouquets so you can bring your garden inside.

Cut your flowers carefully and condition the blooms carefully before arranging them.

Here's how:

* Gather them when the sun is low - morning or evening.
* Cut them at a deep angle to provide a larger surface area for soaking up water. Cut them as long as possible.
* Most flowers should be cut when the buds are still closed or half open . Zinnias, marigolds, asters, and dahlias can be cut in full bloom.
* Put flowers in warm water ASAP. The stems start drying within a few minutes.
* Remove the leaves that will be submerged so that they don't decay.
* It is a good idea to add something to the water to provide energy, maintain acidity, and fight bacteria. You can buy a commercial mix or use a solution of one part lemon-lime soda and two parts water.
* Condition cut flowers in a cool place for at least four hours before using in an arrangement.
* If you soak leaves and greenery sprigs in warm water overnight, they last longer.

I came to love flower arranging while taking a floral arrangement class at the local community college with my lovely aunt Amanda. I found that you can arrange however you want and you will find beauty as long as your blooms are hearty and beautiful!

Spring Garden Walk

For those who need inspiration and have Sunday free (luckies), check out the Spring Garden Walk at the Dancing Oaks Nursery.

Planning for April - Annual and Biennials

Keep your garden plan handy. Check your newspaper for calendars and dates and ENJOY the abundant plant sales.

I get really excited in April. The sun is out and I want to PLANT, PLANT, PLANT!!!

Don't get too excited too early. I always have to hold myself back. You need to hold off on planting until the last frost date. If you really can't hold off that long, you can probably get away with planting pansies early. I would start by sowing the following HARDY annuals outdoors: sweet alyssum, cosmos, cleome, marigolds, California poppies, and sunflowers. If you are still working on clearing out proper garden space, seed them into flats and transplant later. IF your garden is ready, sprinkle the seeds and be sure to mark where you planted in some way so that you can pay special attention to your plants as they emerge.

Keep planning your perfect garden... Some things to consider - Use veggies as garden filler! They are quite beautiful. Use lettuce as edging, parlsey tucked in with your flowers, or frilly carrot tops to accent your snapdragons. You want to choose small veggies without crazy root systems so that you dont destroy your flowers as you harvest.