Put some power behind your blossoms

By Rachel Vogan

The power of the flower is pretty hard to match.

Whether it be the joy of giving or receiving a freshly hand-picked posy or bunch of flowers, or watching as something special starts to bloom for the first time, flowers are back and are appearing in drifts, gardens, pots, baskets and containers everywhere.

With hundreds of exciting old, new and interesting types available, there is certainly a flower for every spot.

They are easy to grow but, like everything in the garden, it's all about preparation, planning and care.

You will be successful only if you choose flowers that will grow in the area you provide for them.

Hunt down a copy of the Tui NZ Flower Garden; this book has 1000 photographs, 150 different flowers and pages and pages of ideas. Once you have worked out what you want to grow and where you are going to grow it the fun bit starts - choosing the flowers.

Choose only healthy plants. Bargain-bin flowers are usually there for a reason.

In cases where you are planting in large drifts, maybe along a driveway, choose a range of plants that are already in flower and some that are yet to flower.

This will prolong the flowering period to provide a longer colour display.

The trick to keeping your flowers blooming is food and water and a little deadheading, where required.

When planting in the ground or in pots and containers, use flower potting mix, which will have all the goodies flowers need to keep blooming.

If flowering plants have been in pots and containers for a year or two, apply fertiliser to give them a prolonged boost of flowering energy. Keep the soil moist, not wet or dry.

Some of the best:

Fragrant Flowers: daphne, michelia, sweet pea, star jasmine, gardenia.

Edible Flowers: calendula, borage, nasturtiums, rosemary, hyssop.

Picking Flowers: roses, lilies, carnations, alstromeria, daisies, hydrangeas.

Hanging Basket Flowers: lobelia, petunias, impatiens, begonias.

Christmas Flowers: Christmas lilies, pohutukawa, penstemon, fuchsia.

- The Aucklander

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