Designing A Flower Garden For All Seasons is one of those projects that are as much fun to plan as to execute. And then, if it comes out well (as all gardens do), it is a joy.
People think of winter as barren, though of course it is not. Think of all those brilliant red berries. But flowers linger past the first frosts, poinsettias distract us from what’s going outside over the winter holidays, and the first snowdrops catch us completely by surprise.
So let’s start with winter. Snow on the ground and and ice on the windows, but then the sun shines and the January thaw exposes patches of ground to the warmth. Lo and behold, is that a spear of green? It is! A bulb deep under the frozen crust is stirring, and soon the drooping white flowers of the tiny snowdrops peek over the remainder of a recent snowbank. The dwarf iris shows itself in a flash of purple, yellow, or blue, and the Glory of the Snow is not far behind. All of these flowers are under six inches tall, as is the glorious, clear yellow winter aconite.
These little plants love the cold and thrive in the cool, but will not do well in deep south gardens. But they are not missed while the camellias flaunt their rose-like blooms in all colors against towers of dark green, glossy leaves. Pansies may flourish all winter down there, where even annuals sometimes show a flicker of color from November to March.
After the snowdrops and the Glory of the Snow disappear, the winter jasmine makes you think the forsythia is out, until you get close enough to see the wide, individual yellow flowers are quite different. You hate to see then go by, but the forsythia really does come out, among with the earliest daffodils, the crocuses, and the wild grape hyacinths. Daffodils come in early, mid, and late blooming varieties, so they are still there to mingle with the bright tulips and even some early irises. And, oh, don’t forget to draw in some trees, cherries and apples and glorious pears, redbud and dogwood and crab apples.
Roses rule the summer. Old roses have a burst of bloom in May, while newer varieties may perfume the air all summer. Wildflowers, hiding in budding woods all spring, come out to dance along the roadsides, and daisies bloom in the garden as well. The herbs flower, the lavender and Russian Sage and all the mints, while annuals and perennials fill the borders and the patio pots.
The trees blaze in the fall, and so so autumn flowers. Hollyhocks grow tall, Pineapple Sage flames bright red, the nasturtiums stop their heat-induced sulking and sprawl their jeweled colors over the walkways. Early blooming plants like lobelia and larkspur, and heat blasted petunias get a second chance to show off.
Designing A Flower Garden For All Seasons is not at all hard. Pick a color theme or go with what you like and jumble it all together. There are hundreds of plants not on this list, others that contribute shape and texture more than color, and then all the accents like stones and statues and urns. Oh, what fun it all is!