The loveliness of flowering plants needs little embellishment by description. Certainly every gardener seeks the beauty and color that can be brought to his grounds by a variety of flowers. The proper arrangement of flower beds in your garden and attentive care to them can insure you a continuing bloom of lovely flowers year after year.
For with planning, it is possible to maintain flowers in your garden during the entire length of the growing season. Borders and beds are planted with flowering annuals and perennials which bloom at different periods during the year. By choosing carefully initially, and by caring for the flowers thereafter, the blooms will overlap each other, so that there will never be a period when an old bloom disappears but that a new one will start to show its color.
Preparing the soil for flower beds or borders requires greater care than planting a lawn. For one thing, digging must be deeper. It is not too much to dig the bed 2 feet deep, although 1 1/2 feet is suitable. It is, of course, possible to grow flowers in a shallower bed than this, but the deeper you dig, the better your production will be.
All heavy lumps should be broken up. It is a good idea to spread some sand, cinders or ashes in the bottom soil to break it up. Also, you might work manure, well-rotted compost, grass clippings or peat moss into the bottom. Do not firm the bottom soil down, but let it settle naturally.
Good loam should be used for the topsoil — e.g., well-rotted manure, humus, peat moss, well-sifted leaf mold or heavy sand. Wood ashes are fine for spring, and lime may be used for loosening the soil. You might think about the character of your soil and consider the particular fertilizer which contains the elements your soil needs most. Should you use manure, be careful not to let it touch the roots of plants.
Should you use manure, be careful not to let it touch the roots of plants. The problems of color should be kept in mind when planning flower borders and beds, so that while there is sufficient contrast in texture and color of the flowers, there is at the same time an attractive blending.
A plan for a bed of annuals, for example, might be designed to stress zinnias, with contrast provided by such softer flowers as chrysanthemum, scabiosa, nasturtium, cosmos and candytuft. Siting of the flower bed is important. Ideally, it should be close to the house, facing south or south west.
Any location that gets good sun, however, will produce well. The border should be located away from trees or shrubs. These plants absorb more than their share of moisture and nutrients from the soil and, because of their strength, can overpower the more delicate flowering plants.
A good background such as a stone wall or a fence adds to the beauty of a flower bed or border, and evergreen shrubs make a pleasing backdrop. Edgings need not be restricted, as they so often are, to one color (e.g., the white of alyssum).
Coral bells, whose lovely foliage makes a handsome edge, are an all-season flowering plant, and they provide unusual cut flowers. Baby pansies, violas, portulaca, ageratum, dwarf double nasturtium and dwarf marigolds are multi-colored flowers.