Western Living Magazine
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Creating a vibrant, beautiful space requires a little planning and a lot of love.
If you love growing things, the brilliantly sunny spring days, twittering birds and opening blooms are likely reminding you that it’s time to start cultivating your flower garden. Curating your green space can feel like a challenging task, but you can make it simpler with careful planning at the outset and by maintaining your garden through the season. You’re just a few simple steps away from a beautiful, productive flower garden.
One of the most common mistakes for first-time gardeners is underestimating the width of their flower beds. Garden beds that are at least five to six feet wide will give you room to add larger flowering shrubs such as hydrangeas or rhododendrons, and are generally more attractive, letting you create a layered, diverse flower patch.
If you’re creating your own garden beds from scratch, the shaping opportunities are nearly endless. Try to avoid stranding your beds in a sea of lawn. Designing your beds along the contours of your yard and house will give a more natural look to your greenery. For a more casual, lake cottage vibe that suits wildflowers and long grasses, opt for gentle, sweeping curves. For more traditional and modern style landscapes, hard-edged square and rectangular beds create strong visual impact.
Pollinators are a crucial part of a healthy garden. Encourage your neighbourhood’s pollinators to visit your backyard or windowsill by planting flowers that act as nutritious food sources for them. You can get started with a free pack of seeds from Bees Matter, which contains five flower varieties chosen especially to provide pollinators with food throughout the season.
Before buying seeds and plants, you’ll want to have an idea of the main colours of your flower garden. A good rule of thumb is to start with three main colours and diversify the shades and variations of plants within those. More colour is complex and can too quickly become messy. In any garden, green and white are the neutrals you start with in your palette, so keep in mind how those hues will interact with the colours you’ve chosen.
Try choosing contrasting colours for your flowers, meaning that their primary colours are opposite, or nearly opposite, on the colour wheel. Complementary colours provide contrast and vibrancy to your flower pairings. Yellows and pinks, oranges and purples, and oranges and blues all create beautiful contrasts when combined.
If beauty and order make you happy, try layering analogous combinations of colours for a layered gradation of shades, giving your garden an ombre-like palette. This look can be achieved by layering flower colours or even different shades of green from lightest to darkest.
Ensuring your flower garden has a variety of plant heights can make the difference between a dull patch and lively, vibrant one. Even if you’re working in a smaller space, varying the heights of your flowers by only a few inches can achieve this effect. When placing your flowers, generally position taller plants at the back or middle, and the shortest plants near the edge. That will give your garden a lush, cascading look.There’s nothing like the feeling of seeing your first blooms opening. Mark National Planting Week (June 5 to 12) this year by ordering your first seed kit from Bees Matter and getting out into the yard. Being conscientious of your design and plant choices when you’re planning your flower garden will ensure that you reap the fruits of your labour throughout the growing season.