August 18, 2011


Are you buying annual flower plants each year?  With some planning and an initial investment, you can have a sequence of blooms all spring, summer, and fall by creating permanent flowerbeds using combinations of perennials, biennials,  and/or "self-seeding" annuals.
As I age, my appreciation for flowers increases, just as I had been told it would. I have at least one of each of the above types. The bed shown below has all of these types.  Blooming in spring are crocuses, tulips, hyacinth, scalla, yellow irises** (in the far corner bed), and many other bulbs. The bleeding heart blooms next. The summer blooms you see are self seeding annuals mostly echinasia (cone flowers)** and brown-eyed susans**. In the fall, before cutting down the dead stalks, I pick the dried seeds off (and spread enough to insure that there will be no room for weeds or grass to invade. The rest I collect to give away (would you like some?). The mums will bloom in the fall.

                                                                Country Garden

I have another wrap-around bed with purple irises. These are perennial herbs which grow from rhizomes (ginger root is a rhizome - for definition, click here).  This bed also has hostas, daffodils, and small flowering bulbs* along with the "tiger-lilies* seen below. I have added other assorted lilies and tulips.


I have pachysandra (ground cover) on one side of my house and Lily of the Valley on the other. I have another bed with daffodils, which bloom first, followed by tulips, lilacs, peony's**, and gladiolas (in late summer). Note, gladiola bulbs and dahlia tubers, must be lifted from the ground in the fall and stored in cool frost-free conditions during the winter. Spring blooming bulbs can remain in the ground year round, but daffodils should be dug (after the tops die off), divided (to prevent overcrowding), and replanted every three years.

I do not have what is commonly referred to as a "wildflower" garden but a friend has the delightful one pictured below. You can buy ready mixed seed assortments or individual varieties and blend your own. An easy planting method is to spread the seeds over the prepared soil and cover them with topsoil. These blooms are from last years reseeding. Some control of reseeding or spring thinning and weeding maintenance may be required. I have a spot in mind to start one next year. For more on wildflowers, click here.  Wildflowers

                                                                    Wild Garden

Tips for planning your beds: To obtain eye-catching displays, plant in clusters, not rows. Group similar color blooms together. Limit bed widths for easy reach. Use 5 inch wide edging with 1 inch above ground. Gently sweep the inner border of corner gardens for easy mowing. These will have deeper beds,so  add "reach" or walk stones.  Plant taller varieties in back.

Credits: The previous owners left me several gardens and the plants denoted with  '*' 45 years ago. My gardening mentor gave me the plants and seeds for the annuals denoted by "**".
Happy Gardening,
Mr. C.

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