Last year was my first year planting flower gardens and I learned a ton. I’m also no longer pregnant, which I’m sure will help a lot as well.
Some things I’m going to do differently this year:
Our pollinator garden is actually planned out and blocked verses just randomly throwing seeds in and hoping for the best. I can’t say it’ll be this perfect when it’s actually done, but there is a plan!
I’m going to try and do a number of plants in containers, like strawberries.
Caterpillars eat a lot. Like a ton. I fully underestimated how much those little buggers eat. I’m going to not only have a full buffet of host plants in our garden, but at least 2-3 deck railing boxes of additional fennel, dill, and parsley, to provide safe eating areas for them. I’m also replacing the impatiens next to our deck with additional dill, parsley, and fennel. Again, those caterpillars eat a TON.
Paying attention to plant height. In the front bed across our porch, I had incredible success with my all white plants- polar bear zinnias, begonias, white poppies, white cosmos, bells of Ireland….they were BEAUTIFUL. I had a 6ft Cosmo plant that was easily and inch thick at the base. For as successful as it was, the success actually ended up looking like an unsightly, wild jungle. This year I’m keeping things on the shorter side: Snap Dragons, Bells of Ireland, Begonias, Tulips, Daffodils, and Poppies.
Typically wild flowers, and delicate stemmed flowers don’t transfer well. I’m terrified of flooding again, so this year I’m going to sow 2 ways. I will do some direct sow in the spring around May. Using toilet paper rolls and egg cartons, I’m going to start most of my plants inside. I’ll sprinkle my flower mixes across my 36 count egg flats. Once they have solid sprouts, I will actually plant the entire thing directly in the garden as the cartons will decompose! My hope is that this will give me the full, lush, beds that I’m looking for, while also ensuring a stronger root system.
- Thicker, fuller, beds
- More variety
- Full spectrum of colors
- Attract more bees & butterflies
- Raise at least 50 caterpillars
- Dry flowers & herbs for medicinal, food, & craft purposes
I’m hoping this year, to make the garden up to some local homeschool families. Nothing fancy, but a way for students to see the life cycles of butterflies in nature, or even the opportunity to work on art in various mediums- paint, drawing, or photography.
The hardest part now is waiting to get started! If I were to start now, everything will have grown, bloomed, and died, by the time it’s actually ready to put them outside. Initially I will only start Milkweed and herbs at the end of January. The rest I will start in April so that they are ready to go out by mid to late May.