Flower Garden Basics

By Sierra Reid

Audrey Hepburn once said, “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” She’s right, and if you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at a flower garden, there’s no better time to begin than now! Before you start, there are a few things you should know so that you can be successful.

1) Soil Preparation is Key

A flower is only as good as the soil it’s planted in. Simply put, flowers only need three things to grow successfully: water, sunlight, and nutrients. The three main nutrients required for healthy plants are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Before you get excited and begin planting willy-nilly, it’s important to properly amend your soil with a potting mix/fertilizer so that you can set the stage for beautiful blooms.

2) Not All Flowers Grow in Your Climate

There are so many beautiful flowers out there to choose from that it can seem impossible to narrow it down to what you want to plant. However, it’s important to be aware of what you can actually grow in your climate and what you can’t. For example, everyone loves the whimsical look of a wisteria or bougainvillea vine climbing up a trellis, but it might not be realistic to grow in your area as both of these flowers require extremely hot climates in order to thrive. Luckily, the USDA has created a tool called “The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map” that can help you determine what you can grow in your area. The map divides the U.S into 13 different zones based on the annual average minimum temperature. All flowers are assigned a zone number and if it corresponds with the zone you live in your plant will survive and thrive.

Plant Hardiness Zone Map-United States Department of Agriculture

3) Annuals, Perennials, and Biennials

These terms get thrown around quite a bit in the gardening world, and it can be confusing if you’re new to growing flowers. A perennial is a flower that comes back and flowers year after year. Black eyed susans and shasta daisies are examples of classic and beautiful garden perennials. An annual is a plant that will only flower for one growing season. Many people enjoy planting annuals so that they can take them out at the end of the season and begin designing a completely new look for the upcoming year. A biennial is a plant that only flowers on the second year of growth. The first year the plant focuses on vegetative growth, and then the second growing season is when the flowers come. It can be enjoyable to plant a variety of types in your garden so that you can experience all kinds of flowers.

As a zone 5 on the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map, Southeastern Idaho offers a wide variety of planting options. Don’t be afraid to visit different areas in the region for inspiration for your own garden, including the beautiful LaBelle Lake. The serene and natural feel of the grounds will leave you feeling inspired, refreshed, and ready to make your own space beautiful. Happy planting!