Visiting the local garden center is such a delight. The first glimpse of the blooms in a rainbow of color simply bring a smile to your face. It’s so wonderful to be able to see nature’s pallet all in one place.
The garden or yard of your home should be an extension of your personality and style. Whether you create potted arrangements or prefer an expansive “English Garden“, be sure you’re selecting the proper plants for your decor as well as insuring you can commit the time to keep your garden looking lovely for the entire season.
Before you start loading your garden center cart with these beauties, let’s take a moment to better understand the difference between some of the plants.
An annual is simply stated in the name. It’s a plant that lasts or prevails through one year (or one season). These are the plants you select to border your flowerbeds, plant in pots or urns and for those special spots that need a pop of color.
Great popular selections include impatiens, petunias, and geranium. All of these are available in a variety of colors and species. Be sure to select the right plant for the right light. Some of these annuals do very well in the shade such as impatiens. Conversely, geraniums love the sun. Remember though, all plants need daily tending and water. Insure you’re checking your potted plants daily to pull off any deadheads and leaves and give them their daily dose of H2O.
In the perennial garden we see plants that come up each year and reseed themselves allowing them to grow abundantly. The beauty of a perennial garden is that typically based on how you plant it, a new type of bloom can appear each week giving you a fresh new look as the summer months pass.
Wonderful perennials include daisies, coneflowers, astilbe, and lavender to name just a few. These are normally sold in pots at the garden center and depending on where they are in the growing cycle, you may find these either at the beginning of their budding stage or already bloomed. Don’t be discouraged if when checking out these delights you find them to be all ‘green’ without flowers. It may just be where that particular plant is in it’s growth stage.
One way to see if the plant works in your space or if you like its look is to check the tag. The tags provide great information about the plants water and light needs as well as a photo. A perfect time to pick them up at the garden center is at the end of each season. Most of them have already bloomed but they are marked down and we know they’ll come back next year. It’s a great way to save money and yet acquire some terrific plantings.
Plant in your selected spot and then just wait patiently to see the new blossoms the coming year. The beauty of these resurgent plants is that they naturally spread themselves and are easily split off to form new plants in other areas of your garden.
Speaking of Which
Perennials that offer ‘seed’ tops such as coneflower or daisies are fairly easy to seed. At the end of their season tie the stems with natural twine and allow them to dry naturally. When you do your yard clean up in the fall, take some of the seeds from the flower and set them aside for the winter in a dry place. Tying the stems will allow you to easily discard the dried plant by gently shaking it back and forth at the root. It will break off and you can place it with your compost or yard waste.
In the onset of spring take your seeds and place them in a small container with soil. Water gently then cover the pot with a piece of plastic wrap or plastic lid and set in a sunny spot. In a few days you will see your seeds beginning to sprout. The plastic wrapped pot will act as a small greenhouse and before you know it, you’ll have seedlings. Give them a few weeks and enlarge your greenhouse by using toothpicks and/or wooden chopsticks to raise the roof of your greenhouse so to speak. Once the plants are about 3-5″ tall, you can transfer them into your garden.
Nature will also provide you with new plants as the birds and the bees do their thing and spread the beauty.
Remember to keep bee-attracting plants away from poolside or your kids’ playground. Not a good combination. Conversely, keep in mind, bees are not all the same. Those that appear to be ‘furry’ and ‘plump’ are bumblebees. These busy little creatures are the ones that spread pollen and help to keep those perennials spreading. Recently, the news has reported that there is concern about the bumblebee population; therefore, a beautiful garden can not only provide you with something grand for your personal space, but you’ll be doing a service to our bee population as well.
Don’t be Afraid to Decorate
Enhancing your garden with statues, birdbaths, gazing balls or other attributes is also a wonderful way to create an outdoor space for all to enjoy. Hang a hammock in a quiet spot or put in a water feature. These too add to the imagery and create structure and feel to the space. Remember, we’re bringing the indoors out for the season.
A key element of your yard or garden is a special place to sit and enjoy your bounty.