The first spring in your new house is exciting and full of promise for the warmer months ahead, especially when it comes to the yard. As the trees begin to blossom again and wildflowers start popping up, it’s natural to gain an itch to start planting.
Planting a spring flower garden is a great way to cultivate a rewarding new hobby in the sunshine and fresh air. And you can get the whole family involved in a new outdoor activity while spending quality time together.
Before you roll up your sleeves and begin working in the dirt, your garden will require some planning to ensure its greatest chance at success. Here are some questions to consider to help you get digging.
When should I plant my garden for the spring?
The short answer to when you should begin planting your spring garden is after the threat of frost has passed. However, the weather is often fickle, and it may be difficult to predict which frost will be the last. To stay on the safe side and avoid hard freezes that can affect your delicate plants, it’s a good idea to wait to plant outside your home until April. Before April, you risk an unpredicted freeze harming your plants while they are still adjusting to their new home in your garden.
How should I prepare my garden for the spring?
Before planting any spring flowers, it is best to prepare your garden for the new season. This includes pulling weeds and raking any pesky leftover leaves that have stuck around all winter to become matted under the winter frost. The fallen perennial leaves are important to protect the ground and tiny ecosystems in the harsh winter, but they must be cleared once the danger of ice has passed. Early spring is also the best time to prune any summer-blooming shrubs and other plants that are mostly dormant through the winter.
If you notice that your perennial flowering plants have become a bit overgrown, it’s often wise to dig into the dirt and divide the plants so that they are better maintained within your designated bed. You can easily replant the divided sections of the plants into pots to gift to friends and neighbors, or compost the excess.
Once the plants are pruned and the ground is cleared, you will need to fertilize the soil and prepare it for new growth. Consider the plants that you are planning to grow in the outdoor space and choose a fertilizer that matches the needs of the particular species. For any existing plants, fertilize around the roots and water thoroughly to ensure nutrients are received by the plant so that it may bloom all season long.
What should I plant in my spring garden?
Now that the hard work is out of the way, the fun part begins! Spring brings the absolute best flower choices and gorgeous blooms to enjoy as the season starts fresh. Choose your plants based on the amount of sunlight that your garden is expected to receive and how frequently you plan to water.
Marigolds, sunflowers, daffodils, and forsythias bring a bright, sunshine-y yellow to your spring garden beds. Their buttery tones present a warm countenance to greet both human visitors and busy bees as they bounce through the lovely blooms.
Zinnias and gladiolus add bold and bright pops of color with orange-red blooms that excite onlookers of all ages. If you’re looking for a softer pink flower, you might consider rhododendrons, lantana, or a simple primrose. Hydrangeas and forget-me-nots come in a variety of pink and blue shades to suit your fancy.
Grape hyacinth, scaevola, aster, and sweet pea are popular choices because their purple hues make for a calm and soothing addition to any garden. Plus grape hyacinth and sweet pea both come with fragrant spring blooms. Pansies are hearty little plants as well with a unique flower that incorporates different shades of purple, blue, and yellow. Lilies also bloom in an extensive variety of colors and styles to liven up any garden space.
Some plants, such as tulips, hyacinths, and crocuses, grow from bulbs often planted before the start of spring. Crocuses especially may sprout up early, sometimes even before the frost completely melts, and bloom in stunning variety and vibrant colors in early spring.
What should I avoid planting in my spring garden?
Although it may be tempting to purchase that gorgeous tropical plant for its impressive blooms, it might not be the best fit for your spring garden in the Midwest. Do some research before you purchase your spring seeds or seedlings to determine which plants are native to your area and have the best opportunity to thrive.
The best way to find out which plants are well-suited for your garden is to visit your local plant nursery. Experts will be able to tell you which plants are viable for your home and will typically provide comprehensive instructions for their care. Another way to find out if a plant that you love will be able to grow in your garden is to do a little research to find its USDA Plant Hardiness Zone and determine its potential for success in your outdoor garden.
How can I make the most of my spring garden?
The process of growing a spring garden can be a bit labor-intensive, but its vibrant hues will be worth the toil. You can make the most of your time by bringing the whole family into the flower selection and soil preparation process. Many hands make lighter work, but they also cultivate even more memorable moments.
After a long and frigid winter, there’s nothing like the sight and smell of your very own delightful flower garden. Its bright, bold, and warm blooms are just ready and waiting to welcome you home.
Melanie Theriault is a writer, counselor, and lifelong learner. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Southwestern University, where she discovered her passion for fostering human connection through storytelling.