Seed catalogues are a lifeline to the warmer months that the typical gardener desperately dreams of. They come one by one in the mail, and what excitement it is! You ear mark pages, circle photos, and delight in every aspect of info given in the description. Or at least that is how I am. I love thinking about the next year’s garden. My wants and wishes have morphed as my gardens as well as my intent with my gardens have changed. My approach to our new yard is natives and designated beds where I want to grow what I eat and what I want for cut flowers. Luckily, the yard is forest edge and has not been touched by human hand much. I have multitudes of natives that I didn’t need to lay a finger on to get established. My main focus is the shrub and small tree layer. It is lacking. I want to have some distance from the road sights and sounds. We were so secluded in Puerto Rico, our pups have a hard time with the unnecessary loudness some drivers make on the road. We were hoping our fence would provide that block, but it isn’t quite enough. The most exciting thing I will be trying this year is Pagoda Dogwood from seed. It is a fast grower, but will take a few years to gain the height I am looking for. In the meantime, I hope to see growth in the evergreens and elderberries I planted last year.
If you are new to gardening and always wonder what to do for a flower bed, let me give you an example of what will work. Let’s say, for ease’s sake, that we have a full sun bed and want to ensure success this year. My top easy plants to grow from seed are:
This gives you cut flowers and great salads. You do have to water, weed, and generally care for your plants. Plant the seeds given the instructions on the packet. Be attentive to water needs in the first stages of development, but as they reach a bit of maturity, these plants can survive with a deep watering once a week of an inch of water. They are relatively easy to grow and will reward you with blooms and food. As a beginner, you want to start easy. Set yourself up for success. As your confidence builds, add more to your garden.
Take time to consider the colors you like. Maybe you love hot combos of oranges and purples with sparks of red. Perhaps you are into muted corals and white. Maybe you want to go all one color, yellow. It is up to you and really is what makes you happy.
Some of my favorite seed sites:
Botanical Interests (the seed packet is loaded with helpful info for the beginner gardener)
Prairie Moon Nursery (natives)
Happy seed hunting!