Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

How does your flower garden grow?

Area experts offer suggestions

Big dreams of a colorful flower garden, but intimidated by spring winds and summer heat waves? Never fear, area nursery owners say, for there is a solution.

First, know that there is plenty of time to prepare. Traci Franklin, owner of Traci's Greenhouse in Clovis, said planting should typically happen after April 15 to avoid any plant-killing freezes.

Until then, you can prune back your existing garden or clear space for a new one.

"From now until it's time to plant, you just get it prepped and ready. You get everything cleaned out, you get your drip lines working, inspect your water system, cut back old debris and haul it off," she said.

After doing the preparatory work, you find yourself with a garden ready for planting. Where should the flowers go in relation to sun and shade?

To effectively shield plants from overexposure to wind and sun, Garden Source Nursery owner Curt Jaynes of Portales suggests keeping the east in mind.

"You can grow plants a lot better than the west side of the house because of the extreme heat, and you get your southwest winds. That's why your drought-tolerant plants will grow better on the south side of the yard, where it gets sun all day, whereas on the east side you can get your part-sun to part-shade plants to do well there," he said.

Now for the fun part: What flowers are going to populate your yard?

Guthals Nursery co-owner Charlton Guthals of Clovis suggests growing marigolds and petunias on an annual basis because "they're so easy to grow." For perennials that can grow back every year, the "very durable, very popular" chrysanthemums and dianthus flowers get his vote.

Before rushing in with a trowel in hand, Guthals suggests mending the garden with a loose soil that contains a peat moss or cotton burr compost.

"Make sure flower gardens are composted well to help hold onto moisture, which we don't have much naturally. We have to fight for any moisture we get. The well-composted flower garden will maximize its productivity and beauty," he said.

To make sure all that hard work isn't ruined by weeds, a "pre-emergent" is key, according to Franklin.

"It stops seeds from germinating. The warmer we get, the more germination rate we're going to have with weeds and flowers and plants, so if you want to help control the weed population in your flower bed, a pre-emergent is a good idea to apply," she said.

Aside from regular water, fertilization is important for keeping flowers healthy, according to Guthals.

Franklin added that pecan mulch keeps flowers safe from pests like snails and slugs, and grub control gets rid of the nasty critters that chow down on a flower's roots.

Only one question remains: What colors do you want in your garden?