The Q&A Archives: Trouble in my flower beds

Question: Hi,
My husband and I have two large flower beds that have relatively sandy soil. We have not had much luck planting pretty flowers that last, except Lantanna. We would like some low maintenence, higy yield and hardy flowers to make our beds look nice. Can you make any suggestions?
We are more than happy to get out there and work, and to keep up with it, but we are new to gardening (obviously)and need some 'easy' ones to start with

Answer: Lantana loves a full sun location with fast draining and relatively dry soil, so it is not too surprising it is doing so well in your sandy bed. For better results I would suggest you work lots of organic matter such as compost, old rotted down leaves, or well aged stable manure/bedding for example, into the soil before you plant. The organic matter helps the soil hold water a bit longer. Then, keep your flowers mulched year round with several inches of organic mulch, topping it up as needed. The mulch will help to keep the soil moister and also will break down to supply additional organic matter to the soil as it breaks down over time. Some perennials to try would include daylilies (Hemerocallis), purple coneflower, sedum, verbena, achillea (yarrow) and salvia. Some annuals to try would include Angelonia, petunias such as the Wave series, cosmos, marigolds, sunflowers, and annual salvias. Finally, to know when to water check the soil with your finger. If it is still damp, do not water yet. When you do water, water slowly and thoroughly so it soaks down deep to the roots. After watering, wait a few hours and then dig down to see how far the water went; it may surpsrise you. I hope this helps. Enjoy your garden this summer!

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