Design with Confidence: All Flowers are Pretty So You Can’t Go Wrong How to Learn Garden Design by Trial, Error, Success and Transplanting Are the Best Tools for Good Flower Garden Design

Be confident in your ability as a flower garden designer. Remember that a flower garden is meant to be a pleasure garden, not a nerve wracking experience. You can do this!


First, have you ever seen an out and out ugly flower garden? Think about it. If a flower garden is tended and flowers are blooming, it will be pretty. You might not favor the gardener’s color choice, or would prefer more or less formality/informality or you might have arranged things differently, but by definition, healthy plants and flowers look good.

A big secret of flower garden design is that you can change it later if you don’t like it. Sometimes flowers don’t grow quite the way we envisioned. That’s okay because you can transplant later. Or “shovel prune” and send it to the compost heap!

Are you an impulsive planter? Serendipity might occur – or maybe not. Just move the plants around and add and subtract until you like the result. It’s all good!

Are you a compulsive planner and list maker? Do you plan your flower garden with graph paper and lay it out meticulously with stakes, string and ruler? Sometimes nature ignores our plans. Plants outgrow their designated space. Plants up and die outright. Plants lean or mingle or spread wider or grow taller or shorter than we anticipated. They don’t always bloom when expected. It’s okay; you can fine tune it for next year.

Flower gardens take time to develop and perform their best. Flowers that survive year after year in your garden will become your best friends. Learn from your successes, and from your failures.

The weather is sure to give you fits. It’s too hot or too cold, too wet or too dry, too windy or too humid. Gardeners are the biggest complainers — and the biggest optimists — I know. If things don’t work out, you can always blame it on the weather.

Truly exceptional flower gardens develop slowly. They are tweaked with nips here and tucks there as the gardener experiments, always following cues from characteristics of the site itself and learning from the plants growing there.

Lastly, the only critic to please is you. A flower garden is a work in progress, collaboration between you, the plants, and nature. When the flower garden pleases you, that is enough. Relax! Enjoy! And keep that transplanting spade handy.