• Elisabeth/Tonya

How Does Your Garden Grow

March. They say it comes in like a lion, and goes out like a lamb, or the other way around. Here it came in with a beautiful, sunny day, but today is cold, windy, and rainy. So I'm not really sure whether it was a lamb or a lion; a rowdy puppy, perhaps?

Anyway, the first glimpses of spring have us ready and waiting for warm weather! It's actually a good thing that it's still cool, though, because we are just finalizing our (never-ending) plant orders! So, while I wait for seeds to arrive, and the beds to thaw out, I'll share with you a few of our favorite spring flowers, plus a few tips for how to plan and plant your own lovely flower garden!

Hellebores are some of our favorite spring blooms, they are already blooming now, hence their common name Lenten Rose. We are definitely planting more of these this year!

Bleeding hearts are some of the most beautiful spring flowers, and they are ephemeral, which means that after they bloom, the greenery dies back, leaving space for your summer annuals to grow unchallenged. Here they are blooming behind Anemones and Ranunculus, two more early blooms, which we adore! Behind it all is lamb's ear, a perennial that works really well as a filler. Beware! it can take over! We thought we had eradicated it several years ago, only to have it reappear in profusion a couple of years ago! It can be very attractive though, and will give year round interest to your flower beds.

Quince claims my heart as one of the loveliest flowers around! Except for pussy willow, it's the earliest woody ornamental to bloom, and if you cut branches and bring them in early, as we do, you will already have beautiful, blushy blossoms!

Now for the planning par. It's so easy to go through seed catalogs like https://www.brecks.com and https://www.selectseeds.com and pick every flower you fancy. Unfortunately, we can't afford to order carte blanche, so we narrow it down. This year we cut out pictures of all the flowers we liked, so we could arrange them, see what color themes we had, and what we needed to eliminate, or add. One thing to keep in mind is the height of your flowers; for instance, we always have to have zinnias and cosmos (which I recommend you do as well as they are so easy to grow) and they are quite tall, so we'll put them near the back of the garden, or in a narrow bed, where they won't block the view of shorter flowers like snapdragons and nasturtiums (another super easy flower to grow that is so fun!)

When planning your garden, try to keep complementary colors together, warmer pinks with light yellows and reds, coolor pinks with white and blue, etc. but be sure to use your imagination, and have fun! It also helps to think about blooming time, as you want your garden to have color all season long. Bulbs tend to bloom earlier, followed by peonies and poppies, then things like roses and larkspur, followed by cosmos, zinnias, sunflowers, and so on. Your seed catalog should tell you growing information like height, bloom time, and so on, so be sure to check.

Nasturtiums will grow anywhere sunny! They bloom all summer, with gorgeous, aromatic blooms, and are also edible! A fun flower to grow if you have children, or if you like to make fancy salads.

Whether you plan carefully, or plant on a whim, gardening is a truly therapeutic activity. Not only does it improve your mood and physical health, it also provides lasting joy, as you gather the blooms you've nurtured and decorate your house with them! And if that's not reason enough, then keep in mind that birds and bees will swarm around your garden, delighting in the feast you have planted for them! So, plant a garden. You'll be happy you did!


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