Beautiful Blooms

In Home and Entertaining, Lola Shreveport by Lola Magazine

By “The Flowerbed Lady” Tammie Davis

I have always loved being outside and growing plants. It is something us Southern women have instilled in us at a young age. Gardening is a genuine passion of mine, so much so that I decided to share my passion with others and formed my business. Since then, I have built up a monthly clientele and gladly welcome new customers.

There is nothing more exciting than waking up on a warm spring morning to enjoy a cup of coffee outside on the porch. You can smell and hear the earth coming back to life after a cold, dreary winter. In the planting world, spring is just as exciting to a gardener as Christmas morning is to a child. Your flower beds are one of the first things a guest, potential home buyer, or family member will see as they drive up to your home. Your home is the cake, and your flower beds are the icing on the cake. Who wants to eat cake without icing?

In the spring, one of your biggest obstacles will be the weeds. They love to come to life in warmer weather. There isn’t an easy way to get rid of weeds other than digging them up. I am not a fan of using chemicals to kill weeds. I believe chemicals can wreak havoc in our soil and create future weeds. Weeds love unattended areas that receive sunlight, so it is very important to cover any exposed areas with pine straw or mulch. In my opinion, pine straw is more effective in keeping weeds at bay. When you are planting shrubs, pick a color scheme and mimic that color throughout your landscape. I like to plant in groupings of three with particular plants that will bloom separately throughout the year. This way there is always something colorful to admire. I follow this same color pattern with bedding plants, annuals or perennials, or a combination of both. I generally use annuals and change them out in the fall and spring.

I start in the spring by cleaning out my flower beds. I remove any debris, weeds, and clippings that may have fallen after shaping up my existing shrubs. Once that is done, I add some new soil into the existing soil and mix in a slow-release fertilizer. I turn the soil and mix it all together. Once that step has been completed, I start planting the flowers that I have selected to coordinate with my existing shrubs. After I have completed planting my spring flowers, I then top everything with mulch to help retain moisture.

If you haven’t pruned your crepe myrtles, you may have time to prune them before they start showing signs of new growth. Late winter is the best time to prune a crepe myrtle. They bloom on new growth, so trimming them will increase the amount of blooms. There is an art to trimming these beautiful southern trees. You do not want to hack them down and commit crepe murder. This is chopping them down too low and creating ugly knots. It isn’t healthy for your crepe myrtles either, and only allows whip-like shoots to grow. You want to see the beautiful mottled bark on maturing trunks. I start with my hand pruners and remove all the suckers coming from the base and also the ones on each branch. My goal is to have the larger branches growing straight up and completely cleaned of any smaller twig-like branches.

In our area, we usually have one last freeze before Easter, so it is best to wait until after Easter to plant annuals. I know it takes a lot of restraint to wait that long, but better safe than sorry.

If you are planting shrubs, they will need to be watered thoroughly several times each week for the first month. Hand water with your hose, adding enough water to fill up the hole that you dug to plant the shrub. If you plant late in the summer, you will want to water daily, due to the heat. Watering is the most important step in maintaining your flower beds. You need to know how much to water each planting. Annuals can get water logged and develop root rot. This is very common in vinca flowers. They require very little water as opposed to zinnias that require more watering. I do a lot of hand watering with the hose and use our irrigation system for the grass only. This method helps me determine if one area of my flower beds need more water and attention than others. It takes more work, but if you want to reap the rewards of beautifully manicured flower beds, you will have to put forth the effort.

Any lawn can be beautiful. The sky is the limit as to the type of shrubs, annuals, perennials, bulbs, and trees that you can plant. And if you want those gorgeous flower beds but don’t want to battle the bugs and heat, call me. I’ll help you obtain the most beautiful flower beds on the block. If you have any questions about my services, please call me.

Happy planting!