When people think of Seasonal color , they are often thinking of bulbs and summer annuals, but there are so many more types of plants that give us seasonal color. The most obvious other examples are flowering trees (Cherries, Crab-apples, Dogwoods) and shrubs (Hydrangeas, Shrub Roses, and 100’s of other flowering shrubs. When designing, trees and shrubs are the first plants that should be considered to give you a good framework, or the ‘bones’ of the landscape. With a good structure of trees and shrubs in place, the final step is the addition of more color with perennials, bulbs and annuals. These finishing touches are often the most noticed part of a landscape. Color schemes can change with the season and can be changed year to year if desired. Plants in a given location are chosen by preferences for sun or shade and other factors, but sometimes experimentation can yield surprising results. Pansies, Tulips and other bulbs in spring; Impatients, Caladiums, Geraniums, Marigolds and other annuals in summer; Mums in fall, along with pansies and colorful kale and cabbages right through the winter. Add to this, dependable long lasting perennials for a property you and your neighbors can enjoy year round.
Bulbs shown here are spring blooming bulbs that are best planted in fall. These bulbs like sun but the earlier varieties do very well under deciduous trees. These early bulbs grow before trees leaf out and get the sun they need in that way. Bulbs usually look best if planted in groups of at least 5 to 9 bulbs per group. The flowers last for a couple of weeks (longer in cool weather and shorter in hot weather), but the flowers can come back each year for decades. Because the foliage of these bulbs is often gone by the end of spring, summer annuals can be planted in the same area for months of color.
Tulips: Tulips come in almost all colors and bloom in mid-spring. Tulips like well drained soil and most varieties will decline in just a couple of years if the soil is not right. Often times Darwin Hybrids are noted as the best varieties for long term establishment. Some major gardens replant tulips each year but I have seen a few plantings 20 years old. Tulips can be under planted with pansies or low growing perennials for very colorful displays. Squirrels seem to like the taste of tulips and sometimes dig up bulbs and replant them in other locations, and deer also love the taste of tulips.
Daffodils: daffodils bloom in early spring and come in white, yellow, and bi-colors of white or yellow with yellow, orange and even pink. Daffodils are more reliable in later years and can multiply and last for decades if planted in a favorable location. The foliage can look messy a couple of weeks after blooming but will usually disappear a couple of weeks later. Squirrels and deer do not seem to bother daffodils.
Annual plants last for less than a year. Because they do not have to save energy for the next year, annuals usually bloom heavily for extended periods. The disadvantage is that they have to be planted each year, but annuals can bloom for half a year compared to one month for many perennials considered to be long blooming. Some annuals such as pansies, snap dragons, and corn flowers like cool weather and are considered winter annuals. Many popular annuals such as impatients, marigolds, geraniums, and begonias like warm weather and are considered summer annuals. By interchanging winter and summer annuals you can get almost an entire year of color.
Annuals for shade: plants shown here are readily available.
Annuals for sun: plants shown here are readily available.
Celosia: celosia grows as upright colorful spikes. it come in yellow, orange, and shades of red, pink and purple. Like the other sun loving annuals shown here celosia can stand some heat and drought once established.
Cool Weather Annuals: Plants shown here prefer the cool weather of fall, and some can last right through winter into spring.
Pansies: pansies like cool weather and come in many colors and bi-colors. While pansies like sun they can often be planted under deciduous trees in fall and they will get the sun they need while the leaves are off the trees. Planted in September they can often last till the following June, often even having a few flowers during warm spells in winter.