One of the most common questions I get asked by customers and flower lovers is “How in the world do you grow these flowers in West Texas?!” It always makes me smile. Realize, I’m no expert. In fact, a fellow plant lover said to me the other day that she thinks the difference between a green thumb and a black thumb is PERSISTANCE. That’s probably the truest thing I’ve heard when it comes to growing things out here. But, its much easier than most people think!
My grandmother and mother grew all of the old timey blooms- zinnias, bachelor buttons, hollyhocks, gomphrena. So, that’s really how this whole thing started. I can’t help but smile at the beds full of hollyhocks in front of my house.
Flowers make me happy. It’s simple enough. I love sharing them with others.- no one is ever upset to receive flowers! I wanted to share some of the resources that I love and used to learn how to get going scaling my flowers.
- Anything written by Erin Benzakein of Floret Farm. She is an amazing human that farms up in the Pacific Northwest. Admittedly, that is a very different climate than ours but goodness she is truly gifted. Any time I can snag seeds from her website, I’m there. She blogs about each variety and how to grow them. It’s truly the best resource out there.
- Another key to growing in our soil (and probably most) is adding compost. I love cotton bur compost but most any will help. Add a couple of inches on to your beds in the spring a few weeks before you plan to plant and till it in to allow it to incorporate. My rule is that more is always better and generally I shoot for two inches of compost on top of my soil (it takes more than you would think). There are some good sources of cotton bur compost available in Midland/Odessa. If you are local, I’ve loved Casa Verde’s compost.
- The seeds you try and timing will go a long way toward success or failure. Zinnias, sunflowers, gomphrena, celosia and hollyhocks all lend that “cottage garden” feel that makes us think of our grandma’s flowers. I love to use mint and basil as filler flowers in bouquets. My favorite source of seeds is easily Johhny’s Select Seeds. I use them for everything!
- Probably the deal maker in my flower beds in a good watering system that doesn’t require me to be out there with a hose with any sort of consistency. We all know that needing to water every day will lead to disappointment for us. So, the best thing you can do for yourself if you truly believe yourself to be a failure with flowers is to purchase a soaker hose and timer so that your flowers are getting watered regularly while you sip a glass of Cabernet instead of moving hoses all evening.
It’s truly a journey but I hope this helps you whether you have a tiny little plot to play around in or you are considering going all out! Don’t be afraid to fail. It happens. Honestly, it happens a lot around here. That’s okay. We win some and lose some but it’s so fun to see the progress and share the beauty with people around us. Grow on!