Flowers to Cheer the House

Nothing brightens up a space like fresh flowers.

Nothing brightens a home more than or provides as much satisfaction for a gardener as a vase brimming with fresh, colorful, homegrown flowers. And you don’t have to be a master gardener to grow all you need for year-round floral arrangements.

The flowers of a large and densely planted bed of annuals can easily withstand regular cutting to provide flowers for the house in fact, picking blooms generally encourages the formation of others.

The classic flower arrangement is made up of three elements: focal flowers, filler flowers, and foliage. Your cutting garden should include a mix of shrubs and perennials as well as seasonal annuals and bulbs. Since annuals can be grown readily from seed, they offer a cost-effective way to ensure a steady supply of summer flowers. Here are simple steps to achieving a garden and house full of flowers.

What You Need

Compost and manure
Sand or lime
4 or 5 packets of flowering annuals (preferably with long stems)
Bulbs of daffodils and tulips for spring flowers
Organic fertilizer

What to Do

1. For best results, set aside a garden area devoted exclusively to growing flowers for cutting. A plot about 2 yards by 3 yards will provide all the rooms of your house with plenty of floral beauty.

2. To ensure vigorous plant growth and sturdy stems, a flower bed should receive at least 6 hours of sunlight a day. If this is not possible, try growing shade-tolerant plants, such as astilbes, foxgloves, violas, or impatiens.

  1. About two weeks before planting, prepare the soil by digging and turning it over to the depth of a spade blade. Add a 4-inch layer of compost and manure. Allow the ground to settle before planting.

    3. Map out your planting plan on the ground by making a thin trail of sand or lime around the area where each variety is to grow. Plant within these boundaries.

    4. Water lightly with a fine mist from the garden hose.

    Once your plants are established, fertilize them regularly with an organic fertilizer according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest