Living in the city with a limited garden space creates a challenge for most urban gardening enthusiasts. But having a small garden doesn’t mean that you can’t create your dream flower garden. Fortunately, many flowers grow well in containers which makes it easier for the urban gardener to move them around. A flower garden typically requires far less maintenance than a vegetable garden. Once the blooming period starts, it becomes a great source of relief from that urban stress.
Cultivating flowers from seeds
About six months ago, I stumbled upon this packet of seeds which read “Cottage Flowers” in the garden shop. I was not really into flower cultivation but still, I decided to give it a try. I sprinkled some seeds into two elongated containers filled with good potting soil. The seeds germinated one by one in about two weeks.
These cottage flowers are actually a mix of different varieties of flowers that used to grow wildly in fields. Planting them together from seeds or cuttings create a nice rural garden feel once they start to bloom. The combination of such varieties as zinnias, daisies, dianthus, peonies and hydrangeas gives a beautiful cottage garden effect for the urban garden.
When to start planting
The timing for growing these flowers depends on the particular flower species. In the Philippines, we have the hot and dry summer months starting from March to May, followed by wet rainy seasons from June to October, and then the cool months from November to late-February. It’s always advisable to use native flower varieties or those endemic to the region because they can withstand the local weather conditions better than imported varieties. Learn more about the climate requirements for each flower species before starting to plant them.
Generally , flowering plants bloom when they are a little stressed. Most plants love being exposed to sun which encourages more blooms. Most of them don’t like to be soaked in water, and therefore it’s best to use a well-draining soil when planting them in pots or containers. Make sure the soil is moist (but not soggy) and water them as needed or when the soil feels dry. Fertilize with pellets once before they are ready to bloom and every three or four months thereafter. Replenish the soil with rich compost material once a month.
Cut flowers, straight from your urban garden
Encourage new growth of stems and flowers by trimming old stems and flower blooms. Cut the stems and arrange them beautifully in a nice vase filled with clean tap water. To make the flowers last longer, dissolve a half tablet of aspirin into the water.