I love sharing photos of our flower gardens here on the farm. All the compliments I get on them make me smile, but they also make me feel a bit guilty at times! The truth is that all the big flower gardens here, and all of the perennials, were started by the previous owners of our home.
We got lucky to find a home with so much beauty already in place. I don’t think I could have found the time or money to create what they did. In addition, the flower gardens pretty much take care of themselves; or I let them anyway. I believe the previous owner selected a lot of plants for their ability to draw in bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, which we greatly appreciate. We need those bees for pollinating our vegetable garden!
I pull a few weeds here and there, and I’ve pulled a few plants I didn’t like, but mostly I’ve just let them go. Honestly, in a lot of cases I don’t know what’s weed, what’s wildflower, and what was planted by them. The gardens are quite overcrowded and some things might be getting pushed out. I just kind of let them fight it out amongst themselves and go with the flow (as long as my favorites aren’t getting crowded out)! I’d much rather, and need to, focus my time and energy on the vegetable garden and my herb garden.
However, I do still enjoy some annual flowers, so I’ll usually start some of my own from seed or buy a few at a local garden center to put in pots. I wanted a pot of flowers on the front steps, so I bought a few plants for that. Calibrachoa has long been a favorite annual of mine, but it’s not something you can find seeds for. All the local nurseries have the plants though, and they come in many different colors.
I forgot to buy petunia seeds, another long-time favorite, this year so bought a few of those as well and put them in this pot along with some alyssum.
The herb garden is all my own, though the original thyme plants were left behind by the previous owners, next to the patio. I moved a small amount to this existing bed and look what happened! There’s second year parsley in there as well, which I let go so I could harvest it for seeds. I use both parsley and mint in my organic dog cookies so like to grow my own. Most of the herbs are perennial as well, except for the basil, which I started myself from seed. One year I planted dill in there, and though dill is an annual, it always leaves seeds behind and springs up on its own the next season.
I also have my memorial garden, where our girls are buried, but I’m waiting for something special to add to that and then I’ll share that with you. I started an herb garden outside the chicken coop too, to help keep insects from going in the coop, and for “the girls” to munch on when they want. That garden needs some weeding too, and I’ll share that when it’s come along a little more. Our cool weather in late spring slowed a lot of things down, but now that summer is really here, things are growing much faster.
My herbs and some flowers are not just for show, I use them for many things: the birds, for my dog cookies, and for Luke. Many herbs are good for both chickens and dogs. I add parsley to some of Luke’s meals, I cut herbs to put in the chickens’ nesting boxes to keep them fresh, and I have a pot of lemon balm on our deck where we sit to help repel bugs. If you are interested in that type of thing, read my post “8 Dog Friendly Plants That Repel Bugs”.
The joy of maintenance free flower gardens is that it leaves more time for the beneficial gardens. I wouldn’t want to be without the beauty of flowers either though, and luckily even some flowers have other purposes; repelling insects for instance. I started many more marigolds from seed, and they are now planted down by my tomato plants to help keep destructive insects away. There are also nasturtiums in the vegetable garden, they also repel some insects AND they are good for chickens too!
Gardening is something I enjoy, and I love that it benefits the whole farm and family too! It can be a time consuming hobby, and as long as I can find ways to make a little money from it (or simply save on our grocery bill), it can be a job too. Hopefully we’ll have enough vegetables this year for us and a few to sell as well. For me, that’s a dream come true!
Thanks to our friends The LLB Gang for hosting the Nature Friday blog hop. Please visit them and other blogs through the links below!