Now that all your annuals have been planted and the perennials have been rearranged, and everything is looking good, it’s time for some Flower Garden Maintenance. Many gardeners and non-gardeners alike dislike the maintenance part of gardening. But it really doesn’t have to be a chore, especially if you schedule regular garden maintenance or find a routine that works for you. By taking these simple steps and making time, your Flower Gardens can look amazing all summer long!
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Although this post is written with flower gardens in mind, most all the tips apply to vegetable gardens as well.
Flower Garden Maintenance – Fertilize
Lots of gardeners don’t fertilize. I didn’t fertilize much in my former gardens, but my soil is just not great in my new gardens. And, although I’m working at amending the soil, I figure the flowering perennials need all the help they can get. I’m actually surprised at what a difference fertilizing is making for my flower beds.
I love this fertilizer! I’m not even getting paid for this little unsolicited commercial. I may make a few cents if you order from my link, but that’s it. I just love the stuff and it’s made a huge difference in my flower gardens. When I transplant, or plant a new perennial, I simply give a little shake in the hole and mix it in with compost or the existing soil. On my existing plants, I just give a good shake around the base of the plant and scratch it into the soil. It’s slow release so it fertilizes for several months. For containers and annuals, I simply use Miracle Gro or a similar fertilizer.
For my vegetable gardens, I go organic and used this fertilizer is my favorite. I’ve also had very good success with a product called Chickety Dodo.
Flower Garden Maintenance – Mulch
If you haven’t already done so, apply 2 – 4 inches of mulch to your gardens. Really, just do it. It’s not something you can skip. First of all mulch is like the icing on a cake – it’s the finishing touch. Your plants and flowers will pop. The main reason for mulching though beside aesthetic, is for the overall health of your flower garden. A good, fine shredded wood mulch will break down and help amend soil. It you can’t afford a good wood mulch, use untreated grass clippings or shredded leaves.
Some other benefits of mulching:
- Reduces winter injury
- Helps with weed control
- Helps retain moisture in the soil
- I’ve also read and I’ll share it here, but I can’t verify, that some mulch types like cypress, cedar or pine also repel ticks, gnats and fleas.
I can’t recommend synthetic mulches (rock, pebbles, plastic, rubber chips, or dyed mulches) they really do nothing to promote soil health and most don’t really have any benefits, other than aesthetic.
Now that you’re all done mulching, step back and look at the overall effect – it’s beautiful, isn’t it. These same principles apply to vegetable gardens too. Although, to keep costs down, I generally mulch with untreated grass clippings in the veggie beds.
If you’d like to learn more about mulching your gardens and the different types of mulch, this article – Everything You Need to Know About Mulch is very thorough and informative.
For future reference, here’s a Pin to Save to One of Your Gardening Boards on Pinterest.
There are more Pins at the bottom of the post.
Flower Garden Maintenance – Water
I’m going to keep watering as simple as I can. There is no hard fast rule when it comes to watering flowers (or vegetables), so here are some tips:
- When planting new flowers, or transplants, I make sure they are watered at least every other day.
- New plantings benefit from deep soaking.
- Once all the flowers are settled in and filling out, I slow watering to once or twice a week, depending on the rain fall or lack thereof.
- I’ve started using this rain gauge in my veggie beds, just to make sure I’m watering enough. I water until the gauge reaches 1 inch and I do this twice a week if we don’t get rain. I have a cute rain gauge like this in one of my flower beds and it really helps me know if I’m watering enough.
- Other than that, I water when the ground is dry. Basically, I’ll walk around and stick my bare finger in the soil a couple of inches down, if it’s dry, it’s time to water.
- In the heat of the day, plants will look wilted. That’s totally normal.
- The best time to water is in the morning. If that’s not possible, early evening is good too.
- I received this simple drip irrigation system as a gift last year and it’s on my list to install this year in my dry, shade bed. It will be a huge time saver and something you may want to consider.
I recently read this article and found it very interesting and included some really good watering tips for different types of soil. Pop over when you’ve finished up here to check it out.
Flower Garden Maintenance – Weeding
Even with the best of weed barriers, weeds with always pop through. So, no matter what, you’ll always have weeds to contend with. Just hand pull them. It’s the easiest way to control weeds. There are all kinds of ideas and recipes for homemade weed killer on the internet, and I’ve used some of them. But we’re talking flower gardens here. I’ve learned over the years, that if you pull weeds and stay on top of them, they become less and less of a problem. See How to Deal With Weeds In Your Garden for more great weeding tips.
On new flower beds, I use a preemergent product called Preen before I apply mulch. I sprinkle it between plants and in large blank areas. It totally saved me with this weed pit makeover and all my other makeovers. The folks that owned our home before us just let the weeds go the last summer after they sold the house. I’m still fighting the after effects, but by taking the steps I mention here, I’m winning the battle. Although I know some gardeners don’t like it, Preen has been a lifesaver for me. DO NOT use this or any other weed control chemical in your vegetable beds.
Flower Garden Maintenance – Deadheading
Deadheading is basically removing the spent flower. Once the flower dies, it goes to seed. When all the flowers die and go to seed, the plant thinks it is done for the season. So simply put, deadheading helps extend the bloom period of most flowers. The plant will put its energy into making more flowers instead of seeds. I use a pair of gardening shears like these. I prefer the scissor type pruners over the ones that latch for deadheading.
In addition to deadheading, I will also give scraggly plants a good haircut or pinching. I have a few Walker’s Low Catmint plants and while I love them, they can become floppy and not all that pretty, so I just give them a good shearing. Within, a week or so, they look awesome. I give perennial salvia a good haircut once in awhile too. Petunias and impatiens benefit from a good pinching and they pop right back looking better than ever.
Garden Maintenance Schedule or Routine
Try to develop a routine, or if necessary a garden maintenance schedule. My routine goes something like this: when I get home from my job that pays for flowers and a few other necessities, I quickly change into my gardening duds. Then I grab my supplies:
- plastic or paper bag (for weeds and other debris that I don’t compost)
- yard waste bin (this one is sort of spendy, but I love mine and I’ve had it for several years with no signs of wear)
- shears for deadheading
- my trusty gardening hat
- these gloves
For me, tending my gardens is a great way to decompress and relax. This routine will probably look different for you, so experiment and find out what works.
A Few More Flower Garden Care Tips
- Cut some flowers and bring them inside to brighten up any room. I love having a cheery vase of flowers inside the house. If you’re interested in learning to grow a specific cutting garden, check out the post- How to Grow a Cutting Garden.
- Take some pictures. It’s so fun to be able to look back and see how your gardens change over the years. Plus, pictures of flowers and vegetables are the best when you can’t actually be in the gardens.
Thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens today. I hope you’re enjoying your visit and thinking about ways you can improve your garden maintenance by coming up with a routine or schedule. Do you have an additional tip for simplifying garden maintenance? If so, please leave a comment. As always, if you have a gardening question, be sure to ask in the comments section below.
p.s. Go ahead and feel free to “pin” these pictures. If you hover in the upper left-hand corner of the picture, you’ll see the little Pinterest icon. Just click it and pin away.
p.p.s I’d love to have you follow me on Pinterest. Lots of great gardening ideas and tons of gardener’s eye candy.
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