Flower Gardening Methods: How to Get Closer to Nature
“Gardening is any way that humans and nature come together with the intent of creating beauty.” – Tina James, 1999
There are two basic kinds of gardening methods. Unfortunately, the most common gardening done today uses chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides. These chemicals over the long run destroy helpful soil organisms and throw flowers and other plants out of their natural balance. This system of gardening focuses on treating plant diseases and pests without strengthening the plant’s immune system and is harmful to the environment. Sadly, today it is practiced by most commercial gardeners and farmers.
The other method is organic gardening, which works to create a natural balance in your flower garden. This approach considers your garden as a living ecosystem, and uses the laws of nature to produce healthy plants that are resistant to diseases and pests. Organic gardening focuses on building up the soil, using plants wisely, and maintaining an ideal balance. Organic gardeners recognize that pathogens attack weak plants that live in poor soil. An abundance of soil organisms, from earthworms to fungi, provide needed nutrients to plant roots and keep your flowers healthy.
Organic gardeners also understand that some plants grown together will benefit the entire garden-ecosystem. Roses and garlic are a classic example and are discussed in detail in the book Roses Love Garlic, by Louise Riotte. Likewise, some plants grown together may actually create problems for overall garden health. This concept is called ” companion planting.”
We recognize that organic gardening is closest to nature and is beneficial to the environment and to your family. For this reason, it is the method that we’ll focus on in this website. If you are looking for a good source of organic fertilizers, organic pest control products, and quality gardening tools, we recommend Clean Air Gardening.
Considering Your Region: Looking to Nature’s Garden
“None can have a healthy love for flowers unless he loves the wild ones.” – Forbes Watson
When you begin thinking about planting a new flower garden or expanding your current flower garden, you can look to the natural landscapes of your region for ideas. Wherever you live, there exists a diversity of micro-climates and eco-zones to explore. Next time you take a drive or a walk in the country, pay close attention. Depending on where you live, grassy plains may give way to rolling hills which turn into steep, rugged mountains. The edges of streams and creeks near your home also have unique, “riparian” ecosystems. Each of theses areas represents a unique community of plants working together in harmony.
It’s important not only to pay attention to the individual plants, but how they interact. Note the way larger plants provide shade for low-lying plants. What other relationships do you observe? Study these landscapes and take notes.
While the natural scenery that surrounds us is a work of nature created over hundreds of years by environmental conditions, gardens are our immediate creative expressions using the raw ingredients of trees, plants, soil, rocks, etc. Nature has worked hard to find a balance of soil, climate, plants, insects and animals. For this reason, we can look to the native plants of our state for inspiration. If we plant a flower garden primarily of natives in thoughtful combinations, we will inevitably create a more harmonious and carefree garden. Using natives, your flower garden can also read like a picture book of the natural history of your region, blending the open spaces around your city or town with your created landscape. You will also attract birds and beneficial insects and your garden will become an extension of the natural world that surrounds you.