Planning for a Beautiful Perennial Garden
By Sonya Garland
Every spring we see beautiful gardens full of daffodils, hyacinths, tulips, and creeping phlox and think to ourselves, “Boy, I sure wish my garden looked like that.” Well friends, I am here to tell you that you too can have the garden that everyone envies. With some careful planning and follow-through, you can have a perennial garden that doesn’t stops blooming from March to October. It will take some research and patience, but it is well worth it when you walk through your garden and proudly observe the continuous beautiful blooms! Planning a perennial garden is a lot like building a house. First, it’s important to make a list of all the plants that you love, when they bloom, and their mature size. Then, just as with a house, the foundation must be constructed. Some people like to finalize on paper the size and shape of the garden, so they can visualize the placing of their plants- like a floor plan. If you want your garden to have color in the winter, you must add some evergreen shrubs. The evergreen shrubs are like the frame of a house, giving the perennials a strong base on which to build. The fantastic array of colors will be enhanced by a strong green or blue behind it. Low growing, manageable evergreens- such as blue star junipers, globe arborvitaes, or green thread cypress- are usually the best for this type of framing. Now you have the floor plan, the material list, and the frame construction planned out. It is time for the siding! Look at your garden plan and map out where your evergreens will go. Usually they are nice when grouped in three’s and spaced about the garden. (If you are using low growing shrubs, it is okay to nestle them amongst your taller perennials). Okay, now that you have those placed, look at your plant list. Which plants are tall or medium height, and which are low-growing and perfect for border plants? Group the taller flowers such as black-eyed Susans, cone flowers, and peonies behind the smaller plants. Also, be sure to consider the colors of the flowers. Really bright gardens are very enjoyable, so mix many colors together, but keep a rhythm to the color patterns.