The Q&A Archives: Flowers for a Piney Plot

Question: I have a grove of pine trees all around my house. I would like to plant flowers that would bloom from early spring to fall, and I know that there is no one plant that will bloom that long. I just moved here and have had luck in growing pansies this year. Would like to grow some daffodils in the spring and maybe tulips, then some flowers that will bloom in the summer and something that will last right up til the fall. In the woods I have lots of lilies of the valley and May flowers every spring. Those do very well. There is full sun on one side of the property and partial sunlight in the pine grove. There is plenty of space along the fence for taller flowers and a plot that it about 2 feet by 20 feet along the garage.

Answer: Is the fence plot in sun or shade? Either way, there are flowers that should thrive there. Here are some ideas for woodland plants that tolerate shade: Dicentra species for spring bloom, (bleeding heart, Dutchman's Breeches), Astilbe & coral bells for summer, Aconite (monk's hood), Cimicifuga & Physostegia for summer & into fall, and New England Asters for into the fall. Most of these will do well in sun if well mulched and kept moist. For sun, there are lots of options! Black-eyed Susans, Shasta Daisy, Achillea, Coreopsis, daylilies, liatris, Monarda, Seedum, Phlox, etc. Bulbs should be planted in full sun or, at most, partial shade.

Before you invest in all this lovely plant material, have your soil tested. Many of these plants are tolerant of acidic soil conditions, and some actually prefer them, but others won't perform well. Contact your agricultrual extension office (ph# 207/780-4205) for information on soil testing. And have a great time planting all these flowers!

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