Green Thumb: Tactics to Grow Annual Flowers for the Beginner
What comes to mind when you think of flowers? Wedding ceremonies? Valentine’s Day? The truth is, flowers are plentiful and have many abstract meanings and uses. I will also elaborate methods to plant flowers, introduce types of annuals, and mention which types of flowers I have planted myself.
Pansy Annual Types Flower More Easily
To begin, pansies are a great flower for the beginning gardener. They’re some of the first blooms you can plant to celebrate the start of the season, as their tolerance to frost is high. Many varieties are blotched, white or blue. Often emitting a fragrance, these special flowers make me smile. My mom told me to use the digging tool to “plant myself.” (My nickname, being shy, was Pansy).
Filler, Thriller Versus Spiller
The Thriller plants are often the focal point and omit an eye-catching vertical element to one’s eye. If you’ll be viewing your container from all sides, the thriller goes in the middle. If your view the container from the front, plant your thriller in the back. Asters, Cosmos and Dahlia often are used as the main focal points and make excellent thrillers. I will mention the filler and spiller plants in the next sections.
Filler Plants and Their Uses
Filler plants are meant to be enhancement plants to the thriller; these fill the space in the planters, and you can have more than one filler. Coleus, Begonias, Geraniums, and Petunias are often picked as the filler plants.
Spiller Plants and Uses
Spiller plants cascade and swirls around your planter. Examples of these plants include ivy, calibrachoa, and sweet potato vines. The purposes of spiller plants are to keep the rest of the plants in scale (so one can see the beauteous assortment).
Fun Facts About Flowers
Let us get into some fun facts before I spill the details about the “simplicities” of gardening. Aster leaves (and Angelica) were burned to ward off evil spirits by Ancient Civilizations. Did you know roses are related to apples, cherries, plums, peaches, pears, and almonds? The titan arums reach a height of 10 feet tall yet smell like decaying flesh, warding off most people and other creatures that want to harm it. Interestingly, the lotus flower was considered a symbol of the flower of resurrection, being used in burial rituals in Ancient Egypt.
Flowers Mentioned in Alice in Wonderland
As a child, I watched Disney’s Alice in Wonderland and always enjoyed the “Golden Afternoon” choir of flowers. Cel, the white rose, upheld an angelic voice. My juvenile ears took in the differences of their personalities; these flowers were personified definitely. There was also an iris, a daisy, pansies, tulips, sweetpeas, bluebonnets, violets, a calla lily, a lily of the valley, a lilac, sunflowers, morning glories, daffodils, a tiger lily, a dandy lion, a white rose, a yellow daisies, a rosebud and a dandy pup.
Gardening Tools For Beginners
Gloves are an essential tool, so you do not get any weeds or thorns on your hands. A trowel is essential, and its purpose is to dig and smooth over the dirt. Spades are great tools (think of a shovel but less curved) and so are gardening forks.
How to Garden For The Amateur: Step One
What is the best time to start digging and growing? Spring! Think of that time period where rabbits run amuck, frolicking with each other (like Easter bunnies). Your first step is to get an idea. Do you want flowers you have to replant every year (annuals)? Or are you more interested in flowers that have shorter bloom time but return every year (perennials)? Whatever your choice, I advise you to start small, as it is easier to succeed a little than fail in large ways.
How to Garden For The Amateur: Step Two
The second step is to see how much acidity your soil has. How does one do that? To get a thorough reading of your soil’s pH and nutrient levels, you can get an at-home testing kit. If you do not have the right alkaline or acidic level, then your soil may not be suitable for the type of plants you are looking to grow. Soil should crumble as soft as a cookie for one to the garden; anything that is clay-like prevents roots from growing.
How to Garden For The Amateur: Step Three
Growing vegetables are something that takes less effort and shows more quickly. Sunflowers grow tall and quickly, and their early success builds self-efficacy in your new green thumb.
How to Garden For The Amateur: Step Four
When it comes to growing plants or flowers, planning how you space the flowers is significant. Get yourself a measuring tape and a journal and do some learning. I will tell you that perennials need at least 18 inches apart from each other for proper growth (because they return again the next year and add a beauteous filling appearance).
How to Garden For the Amateur: Step Five
Another step for you to do is to get a calendar out. A calendar will let you know to fertilize 6-8 weeks in the spring, not to plant in the overly-heated summer and when to prune shrubs in trees (typically in the fall).
How to Garden For the Amateur: Step Six
Water definitely is a bare necessity to gardening. The proper amount of water is important. It is vital to use a gardening house so that you can keep your water supply readily available. The best way to tell if plants need watering is to push a finger knuckle down into the soil; this is about an inch. If it is dry, then the plant needs watering.
Life At Work in the Greenhouse
Coming into work, you never know if you are going to load mulch into customer’s cars or if the coleus plants actually are speaking to you to water them today (coleus plants do not require much water). You might not be so swift on your feet and tumble over the garden hose like me, when watering the hanging flower pots. Are the Begonias fried due to the sun? (Hurry- keep them in the shade!). A customer asks why the price for a 3-pack of pansies increased, and you can only wonder that yourself. How exciting it is to get a 50% discount on plants and flowers (I already snatched my succulent there the other day).
More Fun Working in the Greenhouse
The smells of unique flowers blend together like a strawberry banana smoothie, and my senses are moved by the tranquil colors of coral, violet, blue, red, and an abundance of pinks. I smile and tell the Impatiens to “be patient” with my watering skills. The coral geraniums are a definite eye-catcher and, looking at them, I sense myself getting lost. The watering schedule is about two times per day, depending on the heat index. Each flower has its own delicate watering schedule and personality.
Types of Tomatoes
Most people think there is just one type of tomato. Well, that is wrong. I will tell you about the tomatoes we have in our greenhouse. The Pink Tomatoes like “Pink Girl” is the old-fashioned tomato with a decent balance between acid and sugar. The Red Tomatoes like Super Fantastic hold more acidity to them. The Purple Tomatoes like “Black Cherry” has an “earthy” or “smoky” taste to them. Size also has a major effect on the flavor.
Types of Squash
Learning how to garden, I do not want to “squash” your hopes at all. Actually, gardening vegetables takes preference in ease compared to gardening flowers. There is a myriad of squash types. Zucchini is one of these types, as an unfailing commodity on the farm. There are types of Zucchini: Easy Pick Green, Cocozelle and Gold Rush, to list a few. Crookneck Squash has curved necks and rounded bottoms, at 4-6 inches long.
Gardening Advice Overall
I advise you to start with vegetables, use a journal and calendar, have water nearby, and use patience. Do not despair if you see the sight of a first wilting flower. Remember- flowers have abstract meanings and have a life of poetry on their own, but they need you to be consistent so they grow.