Planning A Flower Garden
by Kirsten Hawkins
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If you're planning to start a flower garden, you might be a little stumped when it comes to choosing flowers. Although there's no such thing as a bad choice of flowers, there are some choices that can take your garden from okay to simply magnificent. Consider these simple tips when you're trying to choose which beautiful blooms you want for your garden.

First of all, how much light do you have? If your garden is located in an area that gets direct sunlight for part of the time, and shade for the rest of the time, your flower choices are almost infinite. The majority of flowers in the world are best adapted to these half-and-half lighting conditions.

If your garden area is very sunny, consider planting flowers that not only enjoy sunlight, but can stand up to direct heat. A few good strong sunlight flowers are sunflowers (of course) and daylilies.

On the other hand, if your area is more on the shady side, go for lower-light flowers such as irises, tiger lilies, or honeysuckle. These plants are more tolerant of the cooler temperature in the shade, and their photosynthesis process is adapted to smaller amounts of sunlight.

What about soil? If you're planting in a rocky area, you may have some trouble getting many plants to take root. The ideal dirt for flowers, of course, is black, fine dirt without much rubble. If you live in an area where the ground has a sand consistency, look into planting local flowers - those will be the ones most adapted to growing in sand, such as violets.

Now comes the fun part. Once you get an idea of what types of flowers you're able to grow, it's time to think about what types you'd like to grow.

Try drawing out your garden on a sheet of paper, based on the various heights the plants are expected to reach. Try framing sunflowers with ground covering plants that will flourish in the shade of the taller plants around them. Pay attention to the colors of the blossoms and arrange them in a pleasing manner. Use your imagination here - feel free to plan a garden with a strict outline, featuring only blue and yellow flowers; or let your brain and your garden run wild, with bursts of random color everywhere. It's up to you.

Keep in mind that the first year of a flower garden is only the beginning. If you truly want to enjoy your garden to the utmost, try to plant perennials that will return next season. That will give the plants a year to mature and gain strength, and with a little luck, you'll be surprised each year with a flourishing flower garden that gets stronger and brighter as time goes by.

Kirsten Hawkins is a food and nutrition expert specializing the Mexican, Chinese, and Italian food. Visit www.food-and-nutrition.com for more information on cooking delicious and healthy meals.
©2005 Kirsten Hawkins. All rights reserved.

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