The Q&A Archives: Beginning Gardener

Question: I am starting a flower bed and have never really done any gardening before. I was wonderng if you could suggest some right, colorful flowers that would be easy for a beginning gardener to plant and take care of.

Answer: Everyone has to begin somewhere, so make your first garden a guaranteed success by choosing plants that will thrive. Is it a sunny location or a shady one? How's the soil? Does it drain quickly or does water puddle and stay for hours - or days? Do you want flowers that you can cut and take indoors? Answers to each of these questions will help narrow down the choices for your garden. To get your garden off to a good start, spread some organic matter over the top of the soil and dig it in 6-8 inches. You can use compost, leaf mold, aged-manure or peat moss. Organic matter will help loosen the soil, help it drain quickly yet hold in moisture, and will release nutrients into the soil as it breaks down. If you have a sunny spot choose sun-loving plants like marigolds, Shasta daisies, Cosmos or or Salvia. If it's a shady garden, grow Windflower, Corydalis, Forget-me-Not, Impatiens and Primrose. Each of these plants is easy to grow and will reward you with bright flowers. Once you've figured out how much sun the site gets, visit a local nursery and see what plants will grow in that site. Just keep your new flower bed watered well, stand back, and enjoy the pleasure your new hobby brings.

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