Go ahead. Laugh at me. It’s harder than it looks…
If you follow my Instagram stories, you know I was gardening ALL day Sunday… It was miserable. Like, I don’t like dirt and bugs to begin with, then add 100 degree weather to the mix and that pretty much equals nightmare.
Okay, fine. I’m being dramatic. It wasn’t that bad. I mean it was really freakin’ hot…and a lot of manual labor…but Alex and I did it together while listening to some good ole country music, so it could’ve been worse. Now, I decided to write this post because when I decided I wanted to redo our flower bed (aka rip up the plants that were there when Al bought the house) I realized I know nothing about plants. Or gardening. “What’s there to know?,” you’re wondering. Ugh. A lot of stuff.
When gardening in Florida, for example, you should only plant things that can stand the year-round heat. We really only have like two months of “winter” AKA what fall is to everyone else. Other than that the temps are high, so your plants have got to be good with that. I guess (and I’m saying “I guess” because I knew none of this prior to this gardening experience) every city/location has a “Hardiness Zone,” which essentially is a numerical label which describes the average temperature. So your first task in gardening is determining what your plant options are in your Hardiness Zone…AKA what has the best chance of survival based on your weather conditions.
Once you semi know what you’re looking for, you make your way to the store. Maybe, like me, you do so many times before actually leaving with some plant babies. Now, while you’re shopping you must also keep in mind the location in which you are planting your new babies, because this determines the amount of sunlight they will receive (another factor in deciding exactly what plants to purchase). Y’all, this gets as detailed as thinking about what side of your house the sun rises and sets on…because some plants like full shade, while others partial sun/shade, and finally some, full sun. Yep, you really have to think about these things. I’m going to feel dumb if I’m the only one who was a little shocked by this. Anyways, lucky for us, the plants are labeled at the store with the amount of sunlight they prefer! Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!
So now that you’ve got your plants, it is time to FINALLY garden!!! Below I’ve listed the 5 steps that we took to complete our flower bed (see the pictures above which semi-correspond with the steps).
- We decided to dig up the dirt where the plants would go, so that we could replace it with moist, new soil. That would be your first step. I guess it’s kind of optional…we just wanted to give our flowers the best little chance possible.
- Next, we put down the plants! And surrounded them with the new soil. I broke up the roots a little as I planted them in the ground so that they could re-root into their new surroundings. This made the plants a little unstable (stems tilting all over the place), so make sure you really pack in the soil around them in order to get them to stand up straight.
- We then laid down landscape fabric (yes, it’s a thing – this part was Alex’s idea…gosh he’s so smart) which basically blocks any weeds from growing in your flower bed. The first step in laying this fabric down is to dig a tiny trench around the entire perimeter of the flower bed. Once you have cut a piece of fabric big enough to cover the entire bed, you’ll cut an ‘x’ out in every location that a plant will be. The idea is that the ‘x’ is large enough to squeeze the plant through, but not too big that you’re letting weeds through as well. Place the fabric over the flower bed, squeezing the the plants through (gently) and then begin to stake it down around the edges (into the trenches – these are used to hide the edges of the fabric). I think these “stakes” are actually called landscape fabric pins. Anyways…you just want them to keep your fabric barrier hidden and in place.
- Now that your fabric is down, you lay another layer of soil! This time a thin layer, just enough to cover the fabric.
- And your final step: mulch! They have brown, black, red…so take your pick! Then just lay it down evenly, water those babies, and voila! You have a flower bed!
So, good luck to you! May the odds be ever in your favor! I would love to see pictures of your flower beds…and tips and tricks are HIGHLY encouraged on this one, as I’m clearly writing as a beginner to other beginners. But hey, I’m learning…and I’m willing to be the guinea pig to help y’all out. Hopefully this has been helpful…