How to start your own peren­nial flower gar­den

The Hamilton Spectator - - STYLE - MAU­REEN GILMER Tri­bune News Service

The English cot­tage gar­den be­gan as a worker’s gar­den.

Th­ese were coun­try folks who served on grand es­tates or farmed small plots in the coun­try­side. In this in­cred­i­ble cli­mate, the work­ers planted ev­ery­thing they thought beau­ti­ful, obliv­i­ous of hor­ti­cul­tural fash­ion of the day. In­evitably, they se­lected flow­ers that bright­ened life af­ter the long English win­ters.

An­nu­als, peren­ni­als, shrubs and trees that pro­duced the most glo­ri­ous colour were the most favoured. This sug­gests that at our hu­man roots lies a need for flow­ers as so­lace to the dis­ap­point­ments of life.

This is not an ex­pen­sive gar­den at all be­cause cot­tagers knew about the prop­a­ga­tion of plants, both sex­ual by seed and asex­ual via cut­ting.

This was how cot­tage gar­den­ers could re­ha­bil­i­tate castoffs and over­ages from es­tate or gardens to fill their gar­den with­out buy­ing a thing. It’s re­ally a cre­ative process in which th­ese folks made new plants for them­selves off the grid.

So how could they cre­ate such ex­quis­ite, world-renowned beauty with­out a de­signer? Sim­ple: a love of flow­ers drives ev­ery­thing.

Ev­ery­one de­serves an over­flow­ing flower gar­den for that in­cred­i­bly ro­man­tic old-fash­ioned beauty. The key to suc­cess this spring is to grow the most re­ward­ing species that bloom large and plen­ti­ful. Re­turn to your grand­mother’s favourite flow­ers, the zin­nias and the fox­gloves that made old gardens so choice.

The prob­lem at the gar­den cen­tre is th­ese big, rangy plants aren’t

suited to massed bed­ding. The orig­i­nals have been bred into com­pact dwarf forms that grow very uni­form for th­ese spe­cial car­pet plant­ings. Plants grown from open pol­li­nated heir­loom seed will likely at­tain their early look and size.

Even if you’ve never grown a flower gar­den, look for old f ash­ioned favourites in seed or seedling at the gar­den cen­tre. Th­ese plants are the orig­i­nal forms of to­day’s an­nu­als that have lost their for­mer stature, or were changed in other ways due to breed­ing.

Above all, they are eas­ily grown when sown right into gar­den soil, started in­doors in pots or pur­chased at the gar­den cen­tre.

Like grand­mother, you’ll be able to save seed of your own to grow them again next year. Of­ten th­ese seeds yield ge­netic sur­prises be­cause they dis­play nat­u­ral vari­a­tions, un­like hy­brids, which are uni­form. Let them self-sow when their time is up and they may col­o­nize, of­fer­ing many vol­un­teers to pick through each spring to come.

This list iden­ti­fies the ba­sic an­nual and its pri­mary flower colour. If it varies, that means there are a wide range of hues avail­able as with zin­nias. The last cat­e­gory tells you its form, which will help you vi­su­al­ize how their shapes will look to­gether within your flower beds or bor­ders. Ar­range shape and height so all the plants re­ceive equal amounts of full sun, par­tic­u­larly on a south-fac­ing ex­po­sure.


Nar­row planters all around your yard can be packed with an­nu­als this year to fill spa­ces be­tween es­tab­lished peren­ni­als.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.