Garden Planning

5 Questions to ask before planting a flower bed

5 Tasks before planting

Have you ever visited your local plant nursery at the beginning of spring when all of their bright and colorful plants are out, and suddenly you have a trunk full of flowers and no idea what happened or where you are going to put them? It’s okay, we’ve all been there. Before the nursery tempts you with their bright beauties ask yourself these 5 questions.

5 questions to ask before planting a flower bed

What is the purpose of this bed?

What do you want out of the flowers in this bed? Do you want flowers you can cut and bring inside for arrangements? Do you want to add some curb appeal to the front of your home? Or is it to simply make you smile when you look at it? All are valid answers, but they will influence which flowers you need.

What is my time availability to care for the bed?

Flower range in their neediness. Ask yourself how much time you want to spend watering, pruning, weeding etc.. A perennial garden with low maintenance plants will require much less time than other growing options. Pick your flowers according to the time you can give them.

What is my budget for this project?

There, I’ve gone and mentioned the “B” word. Now it is out in the open. Realistically, what do you want to spend on the bed? This not only includes the cost of the flowers, but also, fertilizer, mulch, and any necessary tools. You can spread the costs out over a couple seasons if you like. If you plant perennials, you may have a higher starting cost, but they will be around for multiple seasons. If you prefer annuals, your money is only for one season of flowers.

That can add up after a while, but  a bed can be built up over a couple seasons to spread out costs. You can buy anchor plants first and fill in at a later time. Also try asking your gardening friends if they have any flowers they are dividing at the end of the season. Plants like day lilies, iris and hostas can be divided as they mature and can be shared with friends.

How much sun does the bed receive?

When choosing flowers a key piece of information on the tag is the amount of sunlight it requires. Placing a plant in the wrong spot can kill it before its time. I learned this the hard way after frying my hosta plants in the Kansas sun. Pick a day where you can observe the bed at different times to gauge how much sun it received throughout the day. If you are doing this in winter and you have trees in the yard. Be aware that plants may receive less light when the leaves grow back on the trees.

What flowers do I love?

Finally after taking in all your other answers, pick flowers you love that fit those criteria. What are your favorite varieties? What colors do you love? If you need some help identifying what your favorite flowers need, I frequently use or to help me out.  Combine that with your knowledge from above, and you can now visit the local nursery with confidence to choose flowers that you love and will live happily in your garden.
What lessons have you learned planting flower beds?

Posted by Morgan in DIY, Gardening, 0 comments

May Garden Tour, a Vision and Adding Annuals

It is the very end of May, and I wanted to give you an update on whats been going on with the flowerbeds. Spring brought gorgeous blooms from my bulbs and early perennials, but right now there is a bit of a lul between spring and summer blooms so I added some annuals to brighten up the beds between the perennials last weekend. I want to share our garden with you and the plans we have for them!

May garden tour

I am a sucker at flower nurseries when all the spring and summer flowers are in bloom. It is such a colorful place and sometimes reason and bed planning go out the window while I’m there. If you are alsoovercome with these feelings you should check out 5 Questions to ask before planting a flowerbed. I reviewed those tips before visiting the nursery last week. It saved me money and headaches when I got back home. This time I did stay pretty on track and already had some varieties in mind to try.

I have two flower beds I’m working on around the yard. The first gets a lot of sun in the back yard and the other is a shade garden in front of the house. The shade garden needs a lot of work so I’ll show you what we’re doing there another day.

Last fall I started the rear flowerbed with perennials and I think it is developing nicely.

Digging the flowerbed

We removed all the grass and amended the soil before planting the perennials and bulbs last fall.

The plan is to add an arbor in the center with climbing flowers like roses or Columbine. I haven’t decided which, but I shouldn’t get the cart before the horse. First I need to refinish our arbor with a fresh coat of paint. We bought it for our wedding with the intention of using it in the garden later.

wedding arbor

Photo by Josh Junghans

The arbor is on the summer project list along with refurbishing a park bench we rescued from Habitat ReStore and edging the bed with stone.


I made a diagram for the rear flowerbed to help keep track of what is in the bed. The plan is to add a rotation of annuals tucked in between all the perennials for more color.

Flowerbed plan

I drew this up last fall to give me some idea of placement and spacing when the perennials are full grown. It gives me a good idea of which flowers will be blooming when, general coloring, and the mature size of all the plants. I’ll be updating this as more flowerbeds are added and I can spread out all the Daylilies and Iris.

New Plants

All of my flowers are shades of white, pink and purple. This is what I added around the yard!

Sunny Plants

  • Petunias
  • Geraniums
  • Snapdragons
  • Verbena
  • Dusty Miller
  • Garden Mum – Chelsey Pink (this will be great come fall!)
  • Vinca
  • Lavender
  • Yarrow – Summer Berries
  • Foxglove
  • Alyssum

Shade Plants

  • Heucheras – also sometimes called coral bells
  • Impatients
  • Wax Begonia
  • Dichondra – Silver Falls
  • Coleus

New Annuals

I’m a perennial gal, but annuals do such a lovely job of offering continuous color as the perennials come and go. Plus they liven up the patio in pots.

The bulbs came up nicely this spring, but I’m left waiting on the perennials as they are building up for summer blooms. The bright pops of color from the petunias and Snapdragons are already brightening up the garden!

I am so eager to see how all the summer blooms fair. The daylilies and alliums are about to open for quite the show!

What plans do you have for your garden? Have you planted anything new this spring?


Posted by Morgan in Gardening, 0 comments