The Q&A Archives: Flowers to plant

Question: What flowers can I plant that will bloom in the Spring, Summer, and Fall? I have a medical condition that makes it difficult for me to plant so I need something that will bloom for a long time.

Thank you,

Answer: To achieve color in the garden all season you need to plan your garden design using flowers that will bloom one after the other, beginning in spring and continuing to bloom through summer and finally finishing in the fall.

There are so many different perennials to try. It is difficult to limit the selection to a short list. However, most gardeners find that a certain set of plants become the backbone of their perennial garden and depend on them to provide reliable color and blooms year in and year out. Which ones grow best for you will depend on where you are gardening and the microclimate and other conditions in your garden. But, here are a few that tend to be steady performers and are generally worth considering.

Favorite Perennials for Spring Bloom Include:

Pasque flower (Anemone pulsatilla), Creeping phlox (Phlox subulata), Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica), Lungwort (Pulmonaria) and the many minor bulbs such as Iris reticulata, Chionodoxa, crocus and of course daffodils (Narcissus).

Favorite Perennials for Late Spring to Early Summer Bloom Include:

Peonies, Bleeding heart (Dicentra), Columbine (Aquilegia), Siberian iris (Iris sibirica), tall bearded or German iris (Iris germanica), cranesbill (Geranium), Dianthus, Lamium, Baptisia, Coreopsis, Coral Bells (Heuchera), Salvia and Candytuft (Iberis).

Favorite Perennials Blooming in Summer Include:

yarrow (Achillea), purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), black eyed Susan (Rudbeckia), daylilies (Hemerocallis), bulb lilies (Lilium), Indian blanket flower (Gaillardia), tall border phlox (Phlox paniculata), Penstemon, bee balm (Monarda didyma), Boltonia, and Hosta.

Favorite Fall Blooming Perennials Include:

Toadlily (Tricyrtis), Windflower or Japanese Anemone, assorted Sedums and assorted asters.

When planning your perennial garden design, keep in mind the cultural needs of each plant in addition to the approximate time of year it will bloom. Follow the guiding principle of ?right plant, right place? to group your plants according to sun or shade, dry soil or damp soil, and any other special needs.

Then arrange each group to provide a pleasing sequence of bloom or to orchestrate combinations of flowers that bloom at the same time. This type of fine tuning can take several years to achieve the desired results, mainly because the time frame when your plants will actually bloom in your garden depends on the weather each year and the microclimate where they are planted.

You may also find it helpful and rewarding to place your perennials in a mixed border planting. This would include not only perennial flowers but also flowering trees and shrubs and annuals, as well. You might even include a few flowering vines for added color.

Once you've planted your garden, you should be able to enjoy the vibrant colors from spring through fall. Enjoy!

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