Your garden is constantly growing and changing, with plants cycling in and out of bloom. That’s part of what makes it so special, right? But getting your timing right, and synchronizing blooms and other colorful interests, doesn’t have to be difficult. You just have to know what works, what doesn’t, and to always expect the unexpected!
First bit of advice: Know your garden.
How much sunlight does your garden get? How much water? What’s the soil like? This is very important, friends.
If you absolutely adore tulips who need bright light, but you have a shady yard, they’re probably not going to work. Time to do a little more research for flowers that bloom in partial to full shade.
When you know what your garden has to offer, then you know what sorts of plants to look for.
You should also visit local gardens you admire.
Do you have gardens in your garden zone that you love? Why do you like a particular garden? Make note of what you like and why.
It follows that plants that do well in another garden in your garden zone would do well in yours. If you don’t know the plant, use a handy plant identifier app, like PlantSnap, to help you identify the plants you like. You might also see what other plants they’ve been paired with.
Next, shop for plants in season. Every season.
If you want to always have something in bloom in your garden, you’ll need to have a variety of plants that bloom (or provide visual interest) at different times of the year.
In general, garden centers put out plants that are close to, or already in bloom because everyone loves to see plants in their prime! But not all plants are available early in the season when most people are getting their yards, containers and gardens planted.
For example, if you’re only shopping for plants in spring, you’ll miss out on gorgeous Hibiscus plants, which bloom later and aren’t put out until summer. In fact, many of our mid-season and late-season bloomers need heat and longer days to get their growth on, so you’ll miss out on them if you only shop in the spring. Expand your options!
Buy some plants that aren’t yet blooming.
Think ahead! While it’s absolutely delightful to load up on beautiful flowering plants when you’re at the Garden Market, creating a garden where plants bloom in succession instead of all at once means you’ll want to pick up a few plants that aren’t yet blooming.
If you’re shopping now for early bloomers, you might buy some pretty primrose and phlox, but you also might buy some dianthus or peonies for their May blooms.
And why not throw in some summer-blooming coneflowers and a fall-blooming sedum in your cart as well? That way, you’ll have something that blooms in each season for your landscape.
Don’t forget the annuals!
Sure, they require replacing every year, but annuals can give you a color POW! that lasts from spring to frost.
Annuals also make great filler plants while you are in the process of growing a new garden or remaking an old bed. In addition to mulch, those annuals will help keep the weeds down, and treat you to colorful blossoms or foliage while you’re waiting for your hardy perennials and shrubs to get established and fill in the space.
You can also use colorful annuals as a strong design element. Can you picture bright impatiens lining a dappled garden path? Or a morning glory vine wrapping around your mailbox or lovely petunias filling in sunny spots? The constant color that flowering annuals provides is just plain tough to achieve with hardy plants.
And then there’s foliage and texture to play with.
The colorful leaves of coleus and caladium… The lacy texture or spiky fronds of ferns… So many options! Flowers aren’t the only way to bring color into the landscape.
Remember to include a variety of plants with interesting foliage and a variety of textures in your design, too. A few favorite hardy perennials and shrubs with colorful foliage include coral bells and Euphorbia, plus the darker leaves of fringe flowers, mirror bush, ninebark, smokebush and weigela.
And plants with colorful berries or bark are also great for adding winter color to the landscape. That’s a big bonus!
Where you plant is just as important as what you plant.
Outside of sun, water and space needs, include bloom time in deciding where to plant your plants. Say, for example, you have something that blooms in July, consider planting it next to something that blooms in the springtime so you’ll have flowers in that part of the garden in multiple seasons.
Be sure to stand back and visualize the movement of color in your garden throughout the year. Doing this will help you spot the “holes,” the times of year when nothing interesting is happening in a particular place. That makes it easier to know what you’ll need to plant and where to achieve continuous color.
Have fun and enjoy the journey.
While your year-round bloomin’ garden is stretching and growing, and while you’re making additions and adjustments, allow yourself to enjoy the process. You’re probably not going to go from lackluster to lush just like that, and it’s so satisfying to see how your choreography is working. If it’s not perfect (and it won’t be; this is nature, after all), go with it. You might discover an even better, more beautiful, more colorful solution. Enjoy the adventure!
Come on in and see what’s blooming in the Garden Market now… And see what we have that may be blooming next month.
Keep checking back for any lovelies you need to fill a hole or two in your garden. And if you need anything more to keep your garden thriving—from soil to amendments to mulch—your Garden Market is right here, standing by!