There is something so lovely about being surrounded by flowers throughout the garden season. Any time I’m driving through town and see yards absolutely brimming with flowers, I know a contented gardener lives there.
For years, I’ve planted flowers of all types, shapes and sizes, and they give me such joy. Here are some of my favorites that keep the bloom going all season long:
Flowering bulbs extend the growing season for an early start. Great choices for this region include alliums, crocuses, daffodils, narcissus, Siberian squill, glory of the snow and Spanish bluebells. Planted in the fall, they bloom in early spring.
The blousy, colorful blossoms of herbaceous and tree peonies make garden visitors stop dead in their tracks to take in their beauty. Both types are easy care and worthy of a spot in any garden. One of my favorite herbaceous peonies is Coral Charm.
Early blooming perennials include hellebores (Lenten rose), candytuft, columbines, false indigo (Baptisia), bright-yellow celandine poppies and irises in many amazing colors and types. Flowering shrubs that are a springtime delight include rhododendrons, golden currants, lilacs and Burkwood and Koreanspice viburnums.
The options for summer blooms are endless. For perennials, think about coneflowers, bee balm, astilbe, coreopsis, Shasta daisies, delphiniums, phlox, lavender, daylilies and black-eyed Susans.
Annual flowers shine during the summer and are well worth adding to a garden since they step up when many perennial flowers are fading. My favorites include zinnias, cosmos, love-in-a-mist, nasturtiums and sunflowers of all sizes and colors. My two favorite sunflowers are Peach Passion and Autumn Beauty.
Summer-blooming bulbs are real eye-catchers. Think about adding Oriental lilies, alliums, canna lilies and gladiolus. The last two need to be dug up in the fall and overwintered indoors.
The rose has to be the queen of summer, so splendid with all of its colors, fragrances and types. Hydrangeas also are wonderful blooming shrubs that have different styles of flower heads, from mopheads to the more conical-shaped panicle type or oakleaf hydrangeas.
Many summer-blooming perennials will carry their flowers well into the fall. Examples include Gloriosa daisies, black-eyed Susans and coneflowers. But there are plants that welcome autumn with their very best colors. Asters, chrysanthemums, goldenrod and sedum Autumn Joy immediately come to mind. Their cheery flowers add to the beauty of our glorious fall days.
If you find your garden is lacking in color at certain times of the growing season, consider the following ideas for inspiration on how to fill in the gaps:
Create a chart that tracks when the flowers in your garden are in bloom. That can help you focus your search on the types of plants that would be ideal to add to it.
Visit Manito Park’s Joel E. Ferris Perennial Garden and Duncan Gardens for ideas of great perennials and annuals, as well as flowering shrubs. I first saw Koreanspice viburnums at Manito Park many years back, fell in love with their intoxicating scent and ended up adding four to my garden.
Patronize your local, independent nurseries for selections that are ideally suited for our climate.
Go on garden tours to see what your fellow gardeners are growing and get inspired.
Peruse garden magazines and plant catalogs to learn which plants they’re highlighting for each season.
With flowers being such a delightful aspect of our environment, it’s worthwhile squeezing a few more into your garden.
Susan Mulvihill is co-author, with Pat Munts, of “Northwest Gardener’s Handbook.” Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Watch this week’s “Everyone Can Grow a Garden” video on youtube.com/c/susansinthegarden.
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