The GIANT Book on Growing Flowers
There are far too many people out there who are under the impression that you cannot have a beautiful garden without spending huge amounts of money. That is so not true. A little bit of planning and this fallacy is going to fall to pieces by the wayside. Those who are grown annuals for years are going to give this statement the lie gladly.
Their initial investment must have been just a packet of seeds. The next year, the plants were grown from the seeds collected from the previous years’ crop.
Do not forget that the life of an annual is limited to just 12 months and so you must not expect them to grow up and bloom again the next year, unless of course you allowed the seeds to lie in the bed without collecting them. That is when they are going to bloom up just like weeds with a little bit of rain, and with the coming of the spring.
One of the great advantages of annuals is that they are quite easy to grow and flourish in your garden over a long period. The most common are well known to even amateur gardeners who can recognize a cornflower, nasturtiums, Virginia stock and Candytuft. These are very beautiful in themselves, but every gardener is growing them in his garden.
So be a little adventurous and grow annuals that are lesser-known, whose names you will find in seed catalogs, nursery catalogs and in nurseries online.
There are two kinds of annuals – the hardy kind and the half hardy kind. The hardy annuals are sewn out of doors, either in the autumn are in the spring. The half-hardy annuals are normally raised in frames or under cloches if you are subject to a continuous frost. Half-hardy annuals may need a little bit more of extra care and coddling , but that extra is going to be worth it when you see the blossoms in your garden.
Useful Gardening Tips
If you have planted plants, which flowers, continuously, make sure that you get rid of all the blossoms which have died out. Apart from improving the aesthetic looks of the plants, the dried blossoms can either be put on the compost heap, used in potpourri or a couple just dried for seeds.
If the seeds have to be kept, the flowers should remain on the stalk until the fruit is totally ripe and dry. After that the seeds can be taken out and stored for the next planting season. Marigold and most of the winter flowers’ seeds are thus made and kept in this manner.
Chrysanthemum and portulacas can be replanted from their former parent plants. During the off-season, let some of these plants remain in the ground or in the pots. You can also plant some in a quiet part of your backyard. When the sowing time comes, take 3 inch sprigs broken from the parent plant. Sow them close to each other in your garden.
When the roots have taken firm hold, you can transplant the saplings separately widely spaced in rows or in pots. This is going to save you a lot of money as saplings are expensive.
It is best to grow Chrysanthemums in pots in the initial stages because they are going to delay the planting of winter plants, especially if you do not have many flowerbeds in the garden. These plants have delicate stems. They need to be supported with small bamboo supports and sticks.
Some plants are capable of growing again, next season without any replanting. These plants include portulaca, chrysanthemums, and sweetpeas.
Grafting is the art of uniting one part of one plant to another plant, which is going to nourish it. The part which is united is called the graft or the scion. The plant, which nourishes it, after the union has been done, is called the stock.
How long mankind has known about this process, can be seen in the Holy Bible, when St. Paul spoke of the grafting of the wild olive tree onto the good olive tree. [Romans XI, 17 – 24.] This simile is however inverted in general practice. The grafting is going to be done of a good scion onto a wild tree.
The moment you hear the word “orchid”, you have an immediate vision of an exotic exquisite flower being presented to a dainty young maiden, getting ready for her first prom. This particular word has become synonymous with grace, class, and luxury. And they are not as rare as they are supposed to be, even if they come in the “expensive desirable item” category.
There are 20,000+ species of orchids growing all over the world. Most of them have not been classified at all and many species are still being discovered in remote corners of the earth, and their classification being debated by botanists all over the world today!
Ever since orchids became a rage in the 19th century, with horticulturists growing them in hothouses and experimenting with them, more than hundred thousand cultivars and hybrids have sprung up from the original 20,000 varieties and species. So that is how Vanda, Cattleya, Dendrobium, and other popular orchid specimens came into the public eye and social usage.
Apart from the colorful and fragrant flowers, the leaves of many varieties are also considered to be ornamental. These leaves are perennial and they are going to live for a number of years. On the other hand, there are other varieties which are going to develop new leafy outgrowths, after shedding the old leaves every year.
Orchids like most other plants require a certain period of rest, when they are not going to grow at all. During this time they require practically no water or only just enough to keep them alive. It is after they have had the rest that they are going to be ready to blossom to the best advantage.
This period is almost universal, and can be from November to February, depending on the weather and the atmospheric conditions. That is why gardeners usually do all the repotting and general fixing up of the plants at the end of February so that they can produce their blossoms about the first week of March.
Traditional Control of Slugs
Here is where you are going to use a chemical, even though I do not like chemicals, much. But then I also do not like slugs. You are going to have 20 pounds of bran put in a gallon of water. Add 1 Pound of Paris Green to it. This is an extremely poisonous powder emerald green in color with the chemical formula of C4H6As6Cu4O16. Apart from being used as an insecticide, it is also used as a green paint pigment and to preserve wood.
Anyway, this Paris green mixture is enough to dress 1 acre of garden. You may want to give more than one dressing, depending on the season, or whether or not the dressing has not washed away in the rain. This often happens when you are subjected to heavy rains. Spread the mixture, early in the evening and the slugs are going to be killed overnight.
As the warmer weather starts, you are going to need to mulch the soil. This is done with lawnmowings and manure with straw. Light soils are going to need this more than heavier soils. Some plants are going to need this more than others.
As your plants grow, you will need to stake them with pea-sticks to keep them straight. Continue the hoeing process throughout the summer. If you find it difficult to do the mowing between tight clumps of flowers use a small hand fork.
Re-mulching may be necessary from time to time. In very dry weather, your border can be flooded, one evening in a week. You can even do some sprinkling with the water can to freshen up the border, but this should be done only in the evening hours.
So get your gardening tools out, and enjoy the fresh air and the sun.
Live Long and Prosper!