When to Plant your New Garden

A beautiful garden can brighten up your home, promote a healthy living environment and provide countless years of joy. If you're considering doing some landscape work, or putting in a garden, you may want to think about the layout of your land and which plants and flowers to place where. A great deal of landscaping and garden design centers around the lifespan of your plants and flowers, and which items are going to bloom and when. With so many options in vegetation and blooms it is hard to know where to start, but keep reading for a list of easy to grow flowers and when to plant them which will help even the most challenged horticulturist grow a beautiful new garden.

How to Plan Your New Garden

The mistake that many beginning gardeners make is to not put enough forethought into the layout of their landscape. While that empty patch of land may look inviting, hold off on planting anything until you have thought out the entirety of your garden. Oftentimes certain plants will not grow well next to each other and may fight over nutrients, or improperly planned planting schedules may leave bare patches in your garden. Invest time upfront designing where each plant will go to avoid having to replant or destroy areas of your garden later.

So how do you begin planning your garden? Use sketching paper to draw the layout of your garden area. Try and use a rule to set some type of scale you will have a realistic idea of the comparable sizes between different areas of the garden. When deciding where to plant your garden think about the ease of access to water and the type of ground you are going to plant on. Try and select the most fertile soil on your land, either an area where plants have been before, or softer ground that will be easier to turn over. If you don't have ideal sill anywhere on your land consider putting a heavy layer of sandy loam soil on top of your planting ground. This will help retain moisture better, and provide a more hospitable growing environment for your plants.

Now that you have the area you want to plant selected it is time to think about the placement of your vegetation. According to well-renowned author and gardening expert, John Brookes, the most simple way to plan a wonderful garden is to think about it in four steps. First, you should plan your special pieces, the statement pieces of your garden which will become the focal points, such as large trees, water fountains or any statues you may incorporate. Next, think about the skeleton of your garden, the backbone, such as hedges or year-round non-flowering plants. These plants are not the items that immediately grab your attention but when grown properly they should survive year round and will provide support and structure to your garden allowing the "blooms" and other flowering plans to shine. When planning the skeleton of you garden also take into account any fencing or protection you may incorporate. While fencing may obscure some of the view of your garden many animals, especially deer and rabbits love nothing more than a new garden. If you do not protect your new garden you will most likely find that the majority of your bulbs have been dug up before they even took root, and once the leftover plants finally start to bloom the flowers will disappear to as they make quite a tasty treat.

After you have planned the skeleton of your garden think next about the decorative pieces in your garden. These should still be perennials, flowers and shrubs that live longer than one planting season (one year). These pieces may still be a little larger in size, such as tall decorative grasses or thick, tall flowering plants. These pieces will catch your attention but should provide a constant presence. Lastly, fill in the remaining space with your "pretties". These "pretties" are your annuals, the flowers that only live one season and must be replanted each year. These are the flowers with the bright blooms, they tend to be highly decorative but also very fragile and most likely will need to be replaced each season.

When to Plant your Garden

So now that you have planned out your garden, when do you begin to plant? When you begin to plant depends upon what type of plants you are looking to grow and when you would like them to reach maturation (or "bloom" for flowering plants). There are some basic guidelines to abide by, and supplementing this general knowledge with yearly information from the Farmer's Almanac, a yearly calendar which helps farmers and gardeners pinpoint the best times to plant and sow their crops and plants, will give your plants the best possible chance at thriving.

What to Plant in the Spring

While annuals are highly susceptible to cold weather and frost, perennials are more resilient and can be planted in the springtime while the weather is still cool. According to the Farmer's Almanac for 2012, if you are looking to grow vegetables it is suitable to plant these in February. Prepare the plant bed in mid-February then plant the seeds new the end of the month. Come March and April it is suitable to begin planting your perennials. If the temperature is still cool begin with easy-care perennials, such as:

  • Bergenia
  • Peonies
  • Ornamental grasses
  • Avens
  • Blazing Star
  • Irises

What to Plant in the Summer

Early summer, in May, begin planting your annuals. Planting these flowers at the beginning of the warm season will allow them to bloom come June and July and last through to fall. Some popular annuals include:

  • Petunias
  • Verbena
  • Dahlias
  • Geraniums
  • Pansies

If you would like to have vegetables come in during the fall months, September and October, plant another round of vegetables in the beginning of summer, May and early June.

What to Plant in the Fall

The Fall is a great time to plan ahead for the next year. Some more resilient bulbs and vegetables are great to plant in the Fall so they will flower and grow first thing in the Spring. Pick hearty, green vegetables or flowers with larger bulbs, including:

  • Daffodil
  • Tulips
  • Cabbage
  • Garlic
  • Shallots

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Author: Conrad Mackie