Your garden: In full bloom all season long

With just a little research and planning, colourful flowers can be a constant presence from early spring through late fall. Let’s take a look at how you get there.

Has this happened to you? Full of vigour and excitement, you went to the nursery at the beginning of spring and bought all those beautifully blooming plants that beckoned you – ready to transform your garden into a paradise for summer. You get everything into the ground, and it all looks fantastic. For a while. Only a couple of months later though, nothing’s blooming anymore, and your lovely garden now looks drab.

That does not have to happen. Instead of impulse buying, take the time to talk to the experts at your local nursery. Based on the conditions in your garden, they can tell you exactly what to plant so that there’s the right amount of colour in your garden at any given time.

It’s not a bad idea to get methodical about it, creating detailed plans to assemble a good mix of plants in all the following categories: short, medium, and tall plants; plants with good foliage all season long; and plants blooming in spring, early summer, midsummer, late summer, and fall. To keep things affordable, lasting and low maintenance, try using mainly perennial plants instead of annuals.

Pick your favourite colours and create clusters of plants that will bloom together. For example, one could cluster together June-blooming plants such as a peony, some Siberian irises and delphinium at one end of the bed and another cluster of June-blooming plants at the opposite end of the bed. The rest of the bed will be filled with the green foliage of plants set to bloom together later. If you have too many blooms spread all over, the eye just bounces around. This design gives your eye a place to land and enjoy the beauty.

You should purchase and plant everything together in spring if possible. Where you place your plants is up to you – use your imagination and experiment a little: Simply take all the plants and set them around the space in their containers until it feels right. Tall, medium, and short stakes and coloured flags can help keep track of plant height and bloom time since many of the plants are still just vegetation. If you feel like it, really pack them in. This results in getting the maximum blossoms per square foot of garden, cuts down on weeds, and helps inhibit plants that tend to spread, which cuts down on maintenance.

So that’s the recipe: Spend a little time on your planning and then just roll with it, have fun with it and don’t worry about perfection. Enjoy the process, and you’ll love the results.