The Q&A Archives: Using Seed Tape to Create Designs with Flowers

Question: I want to start a flower garden and want to spell out words with the flowers. What flowers would work best and how do you form the letters of the words?

Answer: I've seen gardens just as you describe, and they're delightful. You can start out with pencil and paper, measure the garden site, and decide where your letters should go. The size of your site will help you determine which plants to use, depending upon their mature size. If you want to use annuals, you can change your design each year. If you use perennials, they should last 3 or more years. A more permanent design would incorporate shrubs.

The easiest way to form designs (and words) with flowers is to make your own seed tapes, with one type of flower seed on each set of tapes, then plant the seed tapes according to your drawing.

Here's how to make your own seed tapes:

Dissolve 1 tablespoon of constarch in 1 cup cold water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once it starts to boil and turn into a gel, remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperatue. When it's cool, put a few spoonfuls into a small plastic bag and seal the top.

Take 4 or 5 paper towels, fold them at the perforations, and cut into 1" strips. Unfold and lay on a flat surface. Use a ruler to pre-mark the paper so your seeds will be properly spaced. Then snip the corner off the gel-filled plastic bag and drop a little glob of gel on each of the pre-marked spots. Place a seed on each speck of gel. The seeds will be firmly attached when the gel dries and you'll have your own customized seed tapes.

Lay them on a prepared garden bed, cover with a little soil and water thoroughly. Seedlings will begin to appear in 1-3 weeks, depending upon what you're growing.

Good luck with your project.

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