How to Get a Colorful Garden All Year

by Kathy Maupin 06/06/2021

The dream flower garden is lush and colorful all the time. Unfortunately, it’s not a simple dream to achieve in reality. With so many plants all with different internal timers and environmental requirements, putting together a garden can be like a puzzle even for experienced gardeners. Luckily, there are ways you can plan and care for your garden to maximize its beauty and color throughout all seasons. Here we’ll go over some tips for making sure you have a colorful garden all year.

Stagger Bloom Schedules

The first step in having year-round color in your garden is to plant flowers with different bloom times. After all, if everything blooms at the same time, it will all be dormant at the same time as well. To avoid this, try staggering different blooming schedules to cover the entire year. For example, if you plant lots of early summer flowers like iris and peonies, add in some sedums, asters and ornamental grasses that will bloom when the first group fades.

Depending on your climate, some flowers will even bloom in the winter. Try pansies, English primrose or hellebores for hardy winter color in both mild and colder climates. Check which plants will survive in your region before buying, though.

Mix Annuals & Perennials

Annuals bloom for one long season and then need to be replanted in order to bloom again. Perennials, on the other hand, only need to be planted once and will bloom again at the same time year after year. By mixing flowers of each type, you can cover more of the year with color. Annuals like petunias, snapdragons and chrysanthemum are vibrant choices that bloom at different times. Even though they need to be replanted for the following season, annuals typically stay in bloom for longer periods. A good mix of both will keep new colors popping up while others fade.

Go for Foliage

It’s not just flowers that are colorful. Many plants have decorative leaves just as striking and beautiful as flowers and a lot of them will stay looking good throughout their growing season. Caladium, coleus and canna lilies are all excellent choices for vibrant-colored leaves in a range of colors and variations. For tropical climates, try begonias—while you might know them for their flowers, the leaves of the rex begonia can have brilliant colors and patterns to rival the best blooms. While these plants all have their respective dormant seasons, they won’t wilt or fade away. This will allow you to keep some color year-round, no matter where you are in the flower schedule.

Gardening takes patience, practice and know-how. However, even with perfect planning and expertise nature can always surprise you. The more you know, the better you’ll be able to adapt to unexpected losses or any aspects of your gardening that don’t work out. Besides things like climate, soil and seasonality, research what plants go well together before planting so that your garden can thrive all throughout the year.

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Kathy Maupin

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