More bloom for your buck


⎹  By Courtney Paige, Editor-in-Chief⎹  🌸 🌿 🌺 🪴

Summer blooms aren’t always about budding flowers. Get the best bang for your buck by cultivating indigenous drought-resistant plants that offer vibrant color year-round. My clients often ask, “How do you plan your garden; where should I start?” 

Garden planning is a daunting task. Trust me, no one is born with a green thumb. A brown thumb is natural until you give yourself the room to fail. It’s not the end of the world if a plant dies. Think of it as knowledge accumulated. I still kill some plants without fail. Others love me so I love them back. Similar to a relationship, don’t force it. Trial and error is a good thing.

Succulents are full of life ~ Photo by Courtney Paige

As with any topic, gardening information is endless, so we’ll share three tips to start.

1) Create a balanced mix of annuals AND perennials so you aren’t committed to starting from scratch each year. Make a mental note about which plants thrive and which plants don’t. This simple habit increases bloom real estate each year.

2 ) Watch your garden closely over the course of several days (and seasonally) to assess which areas are shaded or sunny.

3) Take time to get to know your plant’s watering needs. Yes, they all have different needs.

All three points are vital, yet number three is essential. If you envision a dazzling garden,  you’ll need to assess your lifestyle. Do you travel? Do you forget to water? Do you live in a dry arid area? Do you live in a foggy moist area or somewhere in-between?

With these basic three observation steps in place, it’s time to commit and purchase your flowers. This is the exciting part. Deciding which plants to grow is a tad overwhelming. There are so many choices. Again, where to start? 

Pansies & Petunias at Home Depot – Photo by Courtney Paige

Budget and Pinterest. And consider succulents. People tend to think succulents are fragile and difficult to grow. Actually, the opposite is true. You may be surprised to know most succulents thrive in full sun. A drought-resistant beauty, perfect for California’s hot and arid weather. Cold and foggy mornings keep succulents happy & cozy. They also thrive in shallow dirt or sand which makes them easy to replant. 

Soft vibrant color year-round – Photo by Courtney Paige

Succulents tend to be a bit pricey $$. So if your neighbor happens to have some, don’t be shy, ask for clippings as if you’re asking to borrow sugar.  Luckily, succulents are perennials and prolific. My favorite local garden store in Sonoma County is Urban Tree Farm and Kings Nursery. Google your locally owned garden store for a personal touch. Amazon sells plants if you can believe that. Of course, prices are reasonable for those who have Prime. Otherwise, Home Depot is another option or you may be one of the lucky ones and have a generous neighbor.  

Succulents are a perfect choice for creating a low-maintenance garden. You’ll plant them once and enjoy their beauty year after year, unlike annuals, which need replanting every year.

Annuals options – Iceland Poppies & Marigolds at Home Depot- Photo by Courtney Paige

5 Replies to “More bloom for your buck”

  1. In my former home, I had a large deck, and I filled it with potted flowers and plants. I had to put in a drip watering system (which is pretty easy to do) as I am not good at watering.
    I’m wondering how you think succulents would do in a bright indoor window? I have what I think is a jade plant and it is doing well in the window. I have a couple empty pots to fill, any thoughts? CS5711

    1. Hi Downtown Santa Roa 🙂
      Potted flowers are beautiful scattered on a deck. I love that look. I also think succulents in a bright indoor window sounds lovely – as long as the succulents you plan to plant like full sun. Luckily succulents don’t require deep dirt so if you layer a shallow pot or rod iron basket with a little moss and mix a little dirt and sand you’ll be good to go.

  2. I’ve actually started to begin my spring garden plans myself and I’ve been fortunate to find a bunch of cheap organic seeds (yay!) at Walmart (not who I was hoping to support, but I’m sure you can find cheap organic seeds other places as well) and they even have the instruction on how to grow as well as a map of the best places that they would thrive in and the months they are supposed to be planted. I was going to get some redwood, a handsaw and a drill to create raised beds for my garden, that way when I move out of where I’m currently living, I can take them with me. Plus redwood has a really nice color that would add character to the garden.

    1. Hi Windexter. Smart plan with the raised garden beds and redwood is a fantastic choice for the wood. It lasts forever. Remember to make them small enough to cart around if you plan to move from your current place. I suggest limiting the length from four to five feet. This way, even filled with dirt, you can maneuver them around your yard or out the front door if need be. If and when you build the beds, Good to Know would enjoy a picture share on our blog. Thanks!

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