By Michelle Day
So, you are thinking about starting a new flower garden, but don't know where to begin? Perennial flowers make an excellent choice for a beautiful flower display, but in order to create a garden with the most impact, there are many factors to consider before planting your perennial flower garden.
When selecting a site for a perennial flower garden, you should be certain that it receives enough sunlight. Most perennial flowers thrive on six hours of sunlight a day or more. If you are stuck with a shady place, however, you can still grow some perennial flowers. You will just need to be careful of which varieties you choose, and make sure they are shade tolerant.
You also need to consider soil quality and drainage in your proposed perennial flower garden site. Avoid planting in areas with an abundance of weeds, as they will compete with the perennial flowers for needed nutrients and water. You should also avoid areas that have poor drainage. While perennial flowers will be able to survive in a wet area for a short period of time after a rain or watering, they will not survive in an area where there is standing water for long periods of time. Ideally, the soil in your perennial flower garden site will also be fluffy and rich, but if not, try to incorporate sufficient compost into the soil before you plant your flowers.
You should also consider foot traffic and children and pet play habits in the area you are considering establishing your perennial flower bed. Try to avoid planting your perennial flowers in an area where they will be trampled underfoot.
Perennial flowers come in a wide array of colors, shapes and types, and the perennial flower gardener may quickly be overwhelmed by choices. One tip for making your flower selection is to consider how colors combine. Try not to choose flowers whose colors may clash (such as orange and pink), and instead focus on complementary colors in your garden (pinks and blues often make a beautiful combination).
You should also consider the height of different flower species. Try to make sure a tall perennial flower you have selected does not hide a smaller one behind it.
Finally, pay attention to the blooming period of the perennial flowers you are selecting. Most perennial flowers have a short blooming period lasting from two to four weeks, and for maximum impact you should coordinate the blooming periods of different perennial flowers.
Growing Habits of Perennial Flowers
If you are starting your perennial flowers from seed, you should be aware that it is unlikely you will see any flowers during their first year of growth. This is because most perennial flowers will put all their energy into root and plant growth during the first year, but during the second year (and future years) you can expect a beautiful display. If you do not think you have the patience to wait a full two years to see flowers, consider planting some annuals with your perennials so that you will have some color in your garden during the first year.
You can also try using transplants you first year, in order to get your perennial flower garden off to a quick start. If you decide to use transplants, try to select plants that are not in bloom when you plant them, since this is not a good time to establish them in your garden. Also avoid transplants that have pale or yellow stems and leaves. Try to do your transplanting on a day which is relatively cool and overcast for the best results, and be sure to water the plants well after transplanting and continue watering until the plants have become well established.
Although starting a new garden can be a challenge, by following the few suggestions outlined above, you should be well on your way to creating a beautiful, and long lasting, perennial flower garden.
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