By Michael Bernzweig
If you haven’t planted flowers yet this spring, seize the next opportunity to add some eye-popping annuals. Beautifying your yard and surroundings is good for the soul. Even if you don’t have time to plant a whole flower garden, it’s easy to pepper in a few flowers. Whether you prefer glorious splashes of color or subtle hues, annuals are tops in flower popularity. Ready to grow, these beauties are unsurpassed for their versatility and ability to put on a spectacular, season long show.
Annuals are plants that complete their entire life cycle in a single growing season. Within one year, they germinate, mature, bloom and die. Many annuals adapt well to a variety of growing conditions—from hot, dry sun to cool, damp shade. Because annuals are temporary and inexpensive, they are fun for both beginners and experienced gardeners to experiment with. Today’s gardening trends including planting collections: mixing flowers and foliage to create a tapestry of color and texture. Thanks to new technology and an increasing interest in unusual annuals, hundreds of new varieties have been developed. Not only are there new brilliant colors, these introductions offer improved weather tolerance, new growth habits and extended bloom times.
Preparing the Garden or Space for your Annuals
Taking the time to properly prepare your flowerbeds before you plant annuals will save you time and effort over the summer. Many gardening problems can be avoided with good preparation and maintenance. Before planting, prepare the beds by digging to loosen the soil and adding organic material. Experts advise loosening the soil to about 8-9 inches deep. Then, using a quality digging tool or shovel, completely dig up the bed to at least eight inches deep. Be sure to remove all sod and pieces of grass or weeds that may re-sprout. Add one or more inches of compost, manure, or organic matter if your soil quality is poor. The amount and type of organic matter to add to your soil has to do with your location and the size of your garden. For the time-crunched gardener, home improvement stores sell garden soil with organic fertilizer. Be sure to Level the bed and break up any clods with a rake.
If you’re tired of old, inefficient gardening tools, it’s time to invest in a few new ones. A new high-quality shovel is invaluable; therefore, it’s the first place to start. One amazing digging tool is the Lesche All-Purpose Shovel. It is constructed of aircraft-quality steel and features a long, tapered cutting edge which resists dents and nicks from hard digging conditions. This T-handled shovel is the most popular shovel in the Lesche line—stores that carry it can’t keep enough in stock. The Lesche All-Purpose shovel is super strong, rust-resistant and lightweight. It is also warrantied for five years against breakage under normal use.
Planting your Annuals
Did you choose daisies, Dahlias, Snapdragons, Larkspur, Cosmos or other stunning annuals? Once the soil has warmed sufficiently, you are ready to plant. The only tool you are likely to need is a trowel or a professional hand digging tool. Moisten the soil to help ease the plants from their containers. The root ball should contain a network of white roots. If the root ball is overly matted, break apart the tangle yourself. New root growth will start from the breaks and spread outwards. Insert your trowel into the soil and pull it towards you, creating a wedge. Place your annual into the soil around the plant with your hands. Water your newly planted annuals and- voila! Your new arrivals are on their way.
A trowel is a necessity for any gardener and it’s best to have a good one. Why bother with a cheap version that will rust or even break in a few years? The Lesche Digging Tool with Serrated Blade is crafted with aircraft-quality steel. It features a serrated edge which easily cuts through the toughest roots and soil conditions. The hand grip is formed from a comfortable sure grip plastic. A safety stop is included between the handgrip and the blade for enhanced leverage and safety. This trowel will be your go-to hand digging tool for weeding, gardening and any other digging tasks.
Michael Bernzweig manages MetalDetector.com in Southborough, MA. He has written on the subject of treasure hunting and metal detecting since the mid 1980’s. He enjoys traveling with his metal detector and helping to educate others in the correct use of metal detectors in their explorations.