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Spring is here – we think – and that means that across the Waterloo Region homeowners are heading outside to make the most of the improving weather and get a head start on beautifying their outdoor living space to prepare for the summer to come.
In terms of landscaping, there are few features more beautiful than a colorful flower bed in full bloom. And whether you are staging your Waterloo Region home for sale and are seeking to boost its curb appeal or just want to create a better looking landscape to relax and enjoy all summer long now is the time to get started if you want to cultivate a flower bed, or flower beds, that truly impress your neighbours and prospective homebuyers.
Need a little help? Here are a few tips to get you started.
Craft a Clean Slate
There are two kinds of flower beds: those that have been well-prepared and those that just end up covered in weeds (and dead flowers)
Give your unplanted flower bed the once-over. Does it get enough sunlight? Does water collect there? Have you removed all weeds, roots and rocks, so your new plants will thrive? It’s much easier to fix these problems now than it is once you’ve planted all those shrubs and flowers.
Get Those Seeds Started
It’s a common gardening ‘hack’ to start a new flower bed from seed to save money, raise unusual varieties and enjoy the satisfaction of having grown a whole garden yourself from a just handful of tiny seeds. Sounds great, but it isn’t easy.
Since some seeds transplant poorly, check the packet and make sure you don’t have to sow directly in the ground. Start seeds in trays, pots or coir pots, using a seedling mixture, place them in a sunny spot, and transplant as soon as they have developed sturdy stems.
Prepare Nursery Plants
Nursery-grown bedding plants provide instant gratification, but the short time between purchase and planting is crucial to their survival.
Pack them closely in your car to avoid damage and take them home right away, so they don’t fry in your car while you run other errands.
Water nursery plants as soon as you get home, as often as necessary after that, and a few hours before planting to help their fragile roots survive the trauma of transplanting.
Be Mindful of Spacing
Follow the guidelines on the seed packet or plant tag as closely as possible. An often overlooked factor is the amount of space to leave around each plant so they have room to grow. To cover a lot of ground quickly, choose spreading varieties like Superbells and climbing nasturtiums.
Dig With Care
Dig each plant’s hole twice as wide as the original pot, so the roots will have plenty of room to grow. To give them an even better head start, make a little trench around the inside of the hole so the roots will spread down and out.
Plant With Care
When planting transplants and nursery plants, always place them so that their crowns (where the plant meets the soil) are level with the soil in the bed. If the crown is above the soil level, the plant may dry out when soil washes away from the roots. If planted too low, soil will settle around the crown and rot the plant.
Push the soil around the transplant and firmly tamp it in place with a trowel so no gaps are left between the roots.
Catalog Your Garden
As the flowers bloom, it’s easy to lose track of what was what, and when potential home buyers, or interested neighbours, ask you what a certain beautiful bloom is you may find yourself (embarrassingly) stuck for an answer.
To avoid this, take the time to add a label as you plant. This can be in the form of a simple stake or, if you want to get a little fancier, painted pebbles like these that will catalog the contents of your flowerbeds while also adding a little extra aesthetic appeal of their own.