Let’s face it growing anything today can be a daunting task. Walk through the rows and rows of plants and vegetables in a nursery or big box store can be like a scavenger hunt. Just try to ask a clerk for help there is a pretty good chance they may not know the difference between an annual and a perennial. Have no fear I can help. Growing plants especially flowers is my passion.
Let’s start at the beginning. Have you seen the Lowe’s commercial? The one where the gardener rolls out a “blanket” of plants and like magic it’s a beautiful floral masterpiece. Wow how misleading! Does anyone think it’s that easy? I wish it was, but the truth be told ” a little knowledge goes a long way” Picking a spot and knowing the right kind of plants is a good start. Flowers are classified as either annuals or perennials. An annual is a plant that completes its life cycle in one year. A perennial is a plant that lives for 3 years or more.
Full sun plants require 6 or more hours of full sun. Plants that require partial sunlight need 3 to 5 hours of light each day. Full shade plants do no like any sunlight at all. The varieties of full sun flowers are enormous. It seems as if all flowers love the sun. Do not despair if your garden is in the shade. Some of the most lovely flowers are shade loving. Knowing what kind of flowers you need sun or shade is half the battle.
The internet is a great place to find beautiful gardens. I could spend a rainy afternoon admiring stunning gardens on Pinterest. The midwest is home to many gardens check out my Facebook page it is totally devoted to flowers from my garden and plants that I love. Once you have an idea to what kind of flowers you love you are ready for the next step.
Make a sketch of your space. Tall flowers should be close to the back. Shorter to the front. Planting in groups of 3 to 5 provide for splashes of color instead of small dots of color. Lastly make a list of possible flowers you wish to purchase. A word of advice, not all nurseries may have the flower you are looking for. Listing a variety of flowers that will work well in your spot will save you from frustration. I can’t tell you how many times I plan on buying a certain variety of plant and come home with another. Here is a list of flowers I have grown with description as well as helpful hints.
Common edging plant that can be used in pots baskets or containers. It grows short 4 to 6 inches tall and spreads. It comes in shades of white, purple and pink. Available at most nurseries it is a tiny flower whose bloom is no bigger than the cursor on a computer screen. It has a sweet scent and a good pollinator. It loves cool rainy weather and will bloom well into the fall. For this reason it is a good plant for beginners.
Alyssum also known as Sweet Alyssum. Easy annual. Full to partial sun. Sold in nurseries in 6 packs. Can be started by seed.
Easy full sun annual. The plant Love Lies Bleeding is an old-time flower producing tassels of deep red flowers. Plant at back of border near a wall or fence as the plant can grow up to four feet. Head to the seed rack at your local store as this plant is started from seed directly into your garden.
Amaranth. Love Lies Bleeding.Easy annual. Full sun. Start from seed.
Another easy sun-loving annual. Each plant produces white umbrellas of lacy flowers. Here in the midwest there is a wild flower called Queen Anne’s Lace that blankets the roadsides and parkways. Amni is a relative of that flower but produces larger flower heads that make for stunning floral arrangements. Where can you find these beauties? Unfortunately the only place I have seen them is through seed catalogs.
Amni. Easy sun-loving annual.