UPDATE: This one pulled from the archives by request! You can also do this in the fall
I'm so excited that the warm weather is coming and it's time to get outside and start landscaping! This is the first spring in our new home, so I'm starting from bare bones with nothing started, or even worse, grass and weeds growing all the way up to the house. It's gonna be quite a task to transform my new yard, but I can already envision it and am so excited and ready to get it started!
Flower gardening is something that just always came naturally to me and is one of my major passions in life! I started getting serious about it about 15 years ago, when my kids were babies. As soon as they went down for a nap, it was my time!And I rushed outdoors to work in my yard. There is just something peaceful about playing in the dirt!
During those years as I planted using the "trial and error" method, I learned so much! Like most passions in my life, the more knowledge I got, the more I wanted and I bet I read every book about perennials, bulbs and anything to do with DIY flower gardening projects.My bookshelves are overflowing!
When I first moved back to my hometown, after my 12 year marriage/divorce, I needed to go back to work. I had closed my salon/spa and sold off all the equipment to stay afloat, so I was easing into the transition. Aside from that business, I'd been home with my kids and had not worked for anyone else for most of those 12 years. So it was a major change! I decided to make it easier on myself by starting on a part time basis doing something I enjoyed. So I took a job at Lowe's and quickly became a Live Nursery Specialist, which was soooo me ! I spent my days taking care of all the flowers and plants! And of course helping customers decide what to plant where and why, etc. etc. I really loved that job!
I learned very quickly that come springtime, the majority of people just run out and buy what they think looks pretty and then don't understand when they get it home and it dies or doesn't flower or whatever the case is.
So I've compiled a few tips for you and then of course, my biggest (and favorite!) on how to double and triple your flowers every year for FREE!
1. Know firsthand exactly where you plan to plant the flower. Does this location get morning sun? Afternoon sun, All day sun or is it shady? Figure this out before you go to the store! Most garden centers (like Lowe's) arrange plants based on these 3 things - Full Sun, Partial Sun or Shade.(Also arranged based on whether they are annual or perennial) Now, let's say you have a shady yard, but all those flowers sitting outside near the entrance are so pretty! You just have to have them! You get them home and within no time at all, they will stop flowering. Because FULL SUN plants have to have that sun to flower! And vice-versa, you buy that beautiful Hosta and put it in a spot that gets Full Sun..the leaves burn and it withers. It has to be in the shade! So many people overlook this, so I hope you'll save yourself the $ and time on your next flower purchase! KNOW where you will plant it and make sure it is made for that spots particulars!
2)The next most overlooked issue I observed watching people spending hundreds of dollars every year to plant flowers! And they have no clue that they have a choice. If you want your hard to grow more beautiful each year AND you want to save money, it is wiser to purchase Perennials or Bulbs. They will come back every year and even better than that, they multiply themselves every year! So, think about that for a second. If you spend, on average, only a couple dollars more this year on perennials than you would have spent on annuals, then next year, you can shop in your own yard for FREE ! How you ask? That's next!
3) Ever noticed a large group of "Stalks" or foliage that sprouts every year, but only a few or no flowers? (Iris's are the most common/recognized for this) This is because those plants grow from "bulbs" that duplicate themselves massively every year. If left to do so, they become overcrowded and can't get enough oxygen and other nutrients they need in order to flower. So what do you do? Divide them! Most all bulbs need to be divided each year. So you dig up one, and separate it into 2,3 or countless numbers of individual bulbs again. THIS IS HOW TO KEEP FILLING UP YOUR FLOWER BEDS EVERY YEAR FOR FREE!
The process of dividing bulbs (and also most perennials) is very simple.
You want to dig down (perferably with a straight ended shovel) well below where the bulb roots are(3-4inches). Dig all the way around the area until you can pull out the center mound of soil that will likely be very compacted and full of the bulbs and roots. For perennials. All you need to do is take a straight knife and cut it in half or however many ways you need to get the new plant size you want.For bulbs, you want to loosen the dirt enough to see the bulbs, separate as you like and then replant at the same depth you dug it up from.
I hope this info helps you to shop more wisely as you head out with the idea of sprucing up your yard this spring! Buy the right flowers and decide if you want to do it all again next year, or go with bulbs & perennials to make it an investment that will pay you back for years to come!
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