The wonder and surprize at first time gardening

I think it is safe to say I know what I’m doing in the veggie garden, well most of the time.  I have discovered over the course of time how different crops respond to the different seasons.  I’ve had summers full of drought, flooding and high winds and I have also had the perfect summer – only once, way back early in my gardening journey.

I wonder if you can get seeds for this in a different colour?

I wonder if you can get seeds for this in a different colour?

I can pick a brassica seed from an okra seed in a line up and I know when and how to plant them for the best chance of success.  Although failure is always there hanging around in the background, waiting to pounce.  But I know he is there and I do my best to keep him out of my greenhouse.

I can visualise just how big the plant will grow from just looking at the seed – experience has taught me this.  I prepare the soil lovingly to meet the individual needs of all the things I have growing.  It is all wonderful, although I try not to be too confident as maybe I haven’t yet experienced the worst a garden can throw at you, but I don’t mind.  I love being in my veggie patch.

The unmistakable tomato seedling - you always know where you are with a tomato seedling

The unmistakable tomato seedling – you always know where you are with a tomato seedling

So this summer I have decided to broaden my horizons into a field I know nothing about – FLOWERS!

I have never had a lot of success with flowers.  I have a Mother’s Day garden, which I asked for a few years ago and Hubby the Un-Gardener and the boys spent ages digging it up and removing all the rocks and compacted soil and fluffed it all up and made it nice.  But even as I write about it now I am wracked with guilt as it is full of weeds and any flowers in there have a hard job shinning.  It has a great position and can be clearly seen from the house.  But I ran into two problems – When it is full of flowers and not weeds, I find it hard to make myself remove any flowers lest I ruin the view. And weeding something beyond the veggie garden just doesn’t happen.  It’s a bit of ‘out of sight out of mind’ while I’m working, and a lot of ‘I really should get to that’ as I gaze upon it from the house.

I think the Joeyosaurus is agreeing to weed my new flower garden for me!

I think the Joeyosaurus is agreeing to weed my new flower garden for me!

So I came upon a cunning plan.  I am going to treat the flowers like a crop!  I built a large cut flower bed in my veggie patch and Hubby the Un-Gardener filled it up with soil for me.  This was all a few months ago and while it seems like a good start we have had a setback as the weeds have got a strangle hold upon it already!  But undeterred I grabbed a whole lot of seeds from my favourite supplier and basically picked any that even remotely hinted about being suitable as a cut flower, and a few more because they looked pretty or offered a sweet fragrance.

When the time came to sow the seeds, I threw all caution to the wind.  I know with veggies that it is best to sow peppers in early August for a great head start, but a great head start offers no favours to the pumpkins and cucumbers so I make them wait until the last moment.  I know nothing about flowers and their sense of timing.  I glanced at the back of the seed packets, but there were so many of them, so I figured I’d look into all of that when the time came for getting the spacing right in the garden and ripped open the packets and started sowing seeds in earnest.

Oh my goodness - what on earth?  Check out the spikes!

Oh my goodness – what on earth? Check out the spikes!

The seeds themselves came as a bit of a shock – they looked all weird.  Some were fluffy and some were huge.  Nothing like veggie seeds at all.  It was like I was doing a completely different hobby, learning a new language or something.  The seed leaves are starting to emerge from the soil and it is so exciting waiting to see what on earth they will look like – certainly not veggies!

Seeds like I've never seen before...  Are you sure things will grow from these?

Seeds like I’ve never seen before… Are you sure things will grow from these?

I have a sneaky feeling that this journey in the floral side of gardening may be quite interesting as I shall be applying my usual learning style of “give it a whirl!”

Come again soon – spring is showing its cold and rainy side today.

Sarah the Gardener  : o )

21 Comments on “The wonder and surprize at first time gardening

  1. Lovely post Sarah. I always plant flowers in my veg garden. Not cutting flowers though, but cleome, geranium, calendula, chamomile. Aren’t the seeds amazing? I’m so looking forward to some warm spring weather 🙂

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  2. I’ve been a veggie gardener for thirty years. I have never stepped over the line to flowers. Everyone else in my family is the opposite. In years to come, though, I see some flowers in my future–especially wildflowers and self seeding varieties.

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    • Hi There. I feel like I have crossed over into something else… growing the un-edible! But by treating them as a crop I feel like I am still in a degree of familiar territory!
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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  3. Hi Sarah,

    I reckon you need to think of your flower garden as a banquet for the friendly bugs and pollinators, without whom our veg patches wouldn’t do half so well. In order to attract the aforementioned bugs and pollinators, you need to make the banquet look as appetising and appealing as possible. Maybe that will help you in terms of weeding etc, treating it as an essential addition to the veg patch, rather than a flower garden, with cut flowers for the table a beautiful bonus.

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    • Hi Elaine. The Mothers day garden may be too far away from the veggie patch to benefit the good bugs. I may need another garden bed for beneficial flowers as I don’t know if I want any kind of bugs crawling over flowers I’ll be bringing into the house! Oh dear, now I have to tell Hubby the Un-Gardener I need another bed! Cheers Sarah : o )

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  4. You’ll have fun with the flower gardening! It might take a year or two to get the hang of what looks good and where, and there will be a lot of moving things around, especially after they’ve established for a couple of years and need some dividing. But the result is just as satisfying as a vegetable patch. My beds are not only full of flowers, but the hummingbirds and butterflies are also great to watch.

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    • Hi Heidi.
      I think it will be a huge learn curve, but at the same time it can’t be all that different from growing veggies? We don’t have hummingbirds, but hopefully we will get loads of butterflies (not the white cabbage one though) and beneficial insects. Cheers Sarah : o )

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  5. I can see calendula seeds in there and since the flowers are edible it’s almost a veggie, right?

    I like interplanting flowers with the veg to encourage pollinators and give predatory insects somewhere to hide and breed. It also adds colour and fullness to the beds and you can even use some species to help your veg grow better! For example, tap-rooted plants grown next to tomatoes can help them to root more deeply, so interplanting with Queen Anne’s Lace works nicely.

    I look forward to watching your new bed bloom!

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    • Hi there. Yes there were calendula seeds, and zinnia and daisy and I think the other one was a dahlia. I normally plant marigolds all around my garden and it looks lovely and is supposed to keep the pests at bay.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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  6. Welcome to the dark side! 😉 I know a whole lot about trees and shrubs but very little about perennials and annuals (especially veggies) and so this is like going back to kindergarten. The best thing about flowers (apart from smelling good) is their pollinator attractant abilities and we all know, the best veggies come from well pollinated flowers. Good luck with those cut flowers and it will be lovely to have a bunch of flowers in a vase inside when they grow 🙂

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    • Hi Fran, I’m still a bit apprehensive about the floral side. All that effort and you can’t eat them! But hopefully they aren’t too different to grow. It will be interesting to see how it all pans out.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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      • There are lots of them that you can eat. I loved my grandma’s and mum’s gardens. They were always a mass conglomeration of stocks and asters and sweet peas and daisies and all kinds of shrubs etc. Flowers add so much to a garden and the bees adore them as well so we have to make room for them but I am like you…I don’t know a lot about annuals and perennials (apart from the possums and wallabies LOVE them 😉 )

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  7. Ah, this year I put some flowers in with the vegetables. It is supposed to help with attracting pollinators, which are in somewhat short supply around here lately.

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    • Hi Lucinda. I normally put marigolds about the veggies, but to grow flowers for flowers sake is a new concept for me. I have seen a few bumble bees about the place so far, but there aren’t all that many flowers and it is probably still a bit to cold for the honey bees. I hope they turn up in healthy numbers this year. Cheers Sarah : o )

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  8. Think of the flowers as a garden for your eyes. I love to see my flower beds in bloom and to see the zinnias and marigolds in with my vegetables.

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    • Hi Sarah. I am really looking forward to having beautiful flowers in my garden. I love the way veggies look and how they are so functional but there is definitely something quite girly about flowers and with a house full of boys, I can never get enough of moments of girly!
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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