After the holidays, I go into full gardening-obsession mode. I dream about green grass, read all the gardening books, anticipate spring bulbs, and think about watering flowers on a warm spring morning. Until the gardening season starts, I like to blog to fulfill my absence from gardening and planting. However, it can be an all-year thing. Next month, I have to start cleaning the garden beds, pruning the roses, removing old leaves and rotted mulch, and getting all the ground ready for the garden season. Last year, I faced Japanese beetles and aphids, so if you have any tips for treating them early this year, I’d love to hear them!
I want to share a quick and easy flower gardening tutorial with you today! This is for all gardening experience levels!
Our backyard trees faced a bit of neglect as I focussed on my front garden beds and flowers closer to the house. Over the past two years, the grass started to cover the mulch, and the trees looked boring and lonely. I wanted to add a pop of flowers in the backyard, so I decided to build a little butterfly & bee flower garden around them.
I love how they turned out, and I can’t wait for them to come back this year! They brought me so much joy last summer, and I always enjoyed taking my coffee outside with me to deadhead, water, and just stare at them. They attracted the most beautiful monarch butterflies, hummingbirds, and bumble bees. In September, the brightest yellow finches were all over the seeds of the coneflowers, and I loved watching them. I feel like I’m doing something good whenever I plant pollinating attractors.
Creating a Butterfly and Bee Flower Garden
This would be a great project if you have some areas by your house that needs a little TLC! It doesn’t require a lot of work, money, or landscaping experience. You can customize this by choosing flowers you like, different landscaping stones, and the shapes of the garden beds.
These flower bed gardens would be a cute project to do with your kids and a great way to teach them about plants and pollination. Within minutes of planting, it started attracting all the bumble bees and butterflies. And don’t worry, those big and loud bumble bees will not hurt you! They are too busy working.
I first headed to Lowes Garden Center to pick up garden soil (the potting mix was for my porch pots) and landscaping edging stones. The stone comes in curved for a round garden bed and also straight for rectangular beds.
The total for the stones came to around $70.00 for 40 of them. This is one of those purchases you’ll only have to make once.
The total for the four bags of garden soil came to $35.00, and you do not have to buy mulch, but you can if you’d like! I ended up adding mulch to the bed after they all died out in the late fall of this year.
You can save some money by purchasing your flowers or seeds at Lowes, but they don’t have the variety of flowers that my local nursery has, and I love supporting their business. If you live near Charlotte or Fort Mill, stop by Wilsons Garden Center in Rock Hill, SC. I used to get coffee and head there almost every single week. I’ve purchased my flowers from them for years, and they never disappoint!
My backyard has full sun in the back where the garden beds are, so I went with full-sun perennials. One day when the trees are giant, I’ll have to transfer the flowers elsewhere since it’ll be a shady spot, but that’ll be years from now.
Purchasing perennials will save you a lot of money over the years because they come back every year, and sometimes you can split them and keep the garden going.
If your garden area is full sun, get full sun flowers, and if it’s heavily shaded, make sure to get part-sun or full-shade. My gardening guide has a lot of flower options listed for sun/shade sections!
If you’re wondering why our grass has chunks in these photos, it’s because it was aerated by our grass company. We had a complete grass rehab last year, which I’m hoping helped a bit with treating the grubs, which turn into the Japanese beetles that eat everything up.
I recommend purchasing everything the day before since that takes a lot of time and work. Do the trees the next day when your energy levels are back and you’re ready to start digging(I did this a month postpartum, so I was so tired during this process!
The first thing I did was lay the stones around the area that I wanted to fill with flowers. This helped me create a guide for digging. I used a shovel to dig up the mulch, grass, weeds, and rocks surrounding the tree.
I did make the mistake of not adding in landscaping fabric. If I did this again, I would not be lazy and skip that step! All summer, I picked out rooted Bermuda grass from the garden bed. So don’t make my mistake and add some in!
After the digging was done, I added 1 1/2 bags of garden soil into the garden bed. Keep the other half for planting the flowers.
Next, I removed the flowers from the pots and placed them where I wanted to have them planted. I’m the kind of gardener that likes to crowd my plants, so I wasn’t too worried about the spacing of the coneflowers.
Perineal Flowers (in South Carolina) to plant in Full Sun
I planted lantana, coneflowers, mealycup sage, cuphea hyssopifolia (Mexican heather), and balloon flowers.
I waited until June to do this project because they didn’t have cone flowers available at the nurseries until this time. You can always plant seeds if you’re patient enough!
I’m hoping they all come back next year like my flowers in the front garden, but you never know! The idea is to have them come back bigger and better each year.
After finishing up the first tree, I took a lunch break and went back to finish the second tree before the thunderstorm rolled in. I was excited about a storm coming because that meant natural rainwater after planting! You want to water them right away, so they do not dry out, especially with the sun and hot summer heat pounding down on them. Then you’ll want to continue to water them every other day since the roots are not established, and they aren’t strong enough yet. Gardens become more forgiving as the years go on.
I cut the bottom stems off the tree a few days later! They grow back fast, so I have to cut them a lot.
In just one week, they start to fill in and produce the most beautiful blooms. The key is to buy flowers that have buds that haven’t bloomed yet so you can enjoy them longer.
You can clip the dead flowers off, but don’t cut back the stems until they completely die in late fall.
I love the cottage garden look of the stones brought to the flower bed.
The best time to water them is in the early morning. If you water them in the afternoon, their leaves can burn, and if you water them at night, they can grow mold over time. If they look like they need water during a hot summer day, try watering them only at the roots and avoid getting water on their leaves. These coneflowers are fun to cut for the table! I need to get a bird camera on them for the yellow finches.
It’s going to be so fun this summer when I can take my son outside to garden with me! Last year, he was just so little, and it was hard to get much done, but he is super interested in gardening (well, watching me do things!) I planted all my tulips a few weeks ago, and he was having so much fun just sitting in his bouncer and watching. Kyle and I started drawing up my vegetable garden for this year, and I’m so excited to get things rolling! This was definitely an upgrade from the before pictures! It’s crazy how super simple projects can completely transform an area. Once August hit, they started to see their final days, but some hung on! You just have to keep up with watering, and deadheading, and patiently waiting for them to die before cutting them back. I know the dead shrubs will look ugly, but it’s important to protect them by letting them die by themselves. Beautiful butterflies all summer long!
I hope you enjoyed this little gardening blog and it has brought you some warmth during the cold days we’ve been having across the states.
Questions for you!
- What are around your home needs a flower garden bed?
- What are your favorite perennial flowers that come back every year?
- What is your least favorite thing about maintaining a garden?
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