Hi there, In this blog we will look at how to care for flower beds. Congratulations on your new flower bed well done to you. You now have a purposely planted flower bed. Which will hopefully get even more beautiful over time as you add more and more layers to the masterpiece that is your garden. It will make your neighbours jealous and make you smile every-time you look out the window at your work.
Whether you are newly appointed gardener or are a seasoned pro. There will be a small amount of nurturing needed particularly for the first year. This will ensure that the work you have put in will pay off and all your plants will become established and reach their full potential. Let’s have a look at the most important care tips for any flower bed.
1. Water regularly! Seems obvious right? But it can happen you put in all the work at as you look at the finished bed your thinking that’s it I’m done relax. Remember most of these plants have come from a nursery or garden centre. Where they get just the right amount of water and fertiliser to help them look beautiful. So that they scream “ pick me, pick me” as you walk by.
Now you have picked them it’s over to you to make sure they are looked after the same way. But its quiet easy, you just need to keep an eye of them. Make sure that they get water every day or two during any dry spell of weather. The golden rule of watering is not to water during intense heat. As the water beads on the leaf combined with the sun can cause leaf scorch. So best to do this late in the evening when the sun has gone done.
2. Feed your plants! So while plants do have a certain amount of slow release feed in the pot/rootball when you buy them. This food can be used up quite quickly. There will also be food available in the soil. Depending on how densely you have planted this may also get used quickly and like us all they get hungry. So a good rule of thumb is to feed a couple of times a year with a quality food like liquid seaweed. This will give a good boost to both the roots and the top growth promoting strong growth and flower. Seaweed is my go to fertiliser . For more on the benefits see episode no 22 of Master My Garden Podcast available on a iTunes stitcher etc. or on my website www.mastermygarden.com where you can also read about it in a blog post.
3. Keep your Pets out of the flower beds! Dogs, cats and any other -*-pests-*- pets that you may have will need to be kept out of the area. While the new flower bed is exciting for you remember it will also be exciting and interesting to your pets. Dogs will like nothing more than digging up a plant and running round the garden with it . Or your lovely cat “fluffy” may think you are the best parent in the world adding a new outdoor large litter tray with flowers for her benefit. Not to mention “bongo” the goat won’t he love all those fresh juicy shoots!! Anyway you get the message take precautions to keep your pets out of your flower bed.
4. Keep your flower bed weed free! They are never far away those pesky weeds wanting to sneak in to this lovely ground you have prepared. It doesn’t have to be difficult work though the key is to check regularly and as soon as you see one peeping out of the ground pull it or hoe it. Just don’t let them get big because they will be harder to get rid of but also they will start to compete with your flowers for water and fertiliser.
5. Mulch your flower beds! Mulching is basically covering the soil with a material such as garden compost (making sure it well composted), bark mulch, wood chip, farm manure etc. This has many benefits such as, it helps the flower bed retain water during dry conditions, surprises weeds, fertilises the soil, keeps soil temperature higher during frost and generally looks attractive on flower beds. Simply what you do is spread the mulch on the ground right up to the base of the plants, covering the bed to a depth of roughly to a 2-3 inches or 50-75mm. This will finish the bed beautifully and help the plants to grow.
6. Stake any tall plants or flower heads! Perennials especially will need to be supported during the season. When you planted them they were small compact busy plants but as the season progressed they produced more and more flower heads and now they are looking ready for the show garden. Now is the time to stake and support them so they don’t collapse under the weight of all the flowers. It is really worth doing because they will last alot longer when supported. This is easy to do your can use purpose bought half moon supports, bamboo canes, plastic stakes or anything else that can support them and look good.
7. Prune and deadhead! So it’s the end of year one and hopefully all your plants have not only survived but have thrived under your care. You have one final job to do once all the growth and flowers have died back on your perennials, give them a good prune and clean up to pave the way for next years growth. Any other shrubs which look untidy or overgrown should also be trimmed and tied checking the labels to make sure the timing is correct for that plant.
8. Take stock! You have done great your flower bed/beds are spectacular! Have a think was there any gaps which you might want to now fill, some bulbs you would like to plant to add colour at a different time? Or were you totally happy? if you answered YES ! Its time to plan the next one. Mark the ground turn the sod and get started.
I hope this guide, on how to care for flower beds will have your flower beds looking great for years to come.
In the meantime,