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One of the frustrations of many gardeners is enjoying a riot of color in their yard during spring and early summer…but by mid- to late-summer, the garden loses a lot of its impact. The solution is to plan your garden with plants that have different bloom times (during different seasons). This will ensure a succession of color from early spring through fall!

Spring

Trees — few flowering plants put on a prettier show than flowering trees!

  • Dogwoods (Cornus spp.) are true harbingers of spring, flowering in profusion in shades of white, pink or red. Cherokee Chief is a red-flowering dogwood that offers a change from the traditional white dogwood cultivars. (Although most dogwoods are spring-flowering trees, the Kousa Dogwood flowers later than most — typically in June — and is awash in white.)
  • The Eastern Redbud is a native tree that has a unique flowering pattern — pinkish-red buds appear on the branches before the tree’s leaves appear!
  • The Snow Fountains Weeping Cherry tree is unsurpassed for spring interest. It not only produces fluffy, white blooms, but its shape mimics the cascading waters of a fountain.

Shrubs — spring-blooming shrubs bring landscapes to life after winter!

  • One of the earliest shrubs to bloom in spring — and often it’s already blooming in late winter — Lynwood Gold Forsythia is covered with yellow, trumpet-shaped blossoms.
  • Living up to its name, Conversation Piece Azalea is a reblooming hybrid. This means that you’ll enjoy its multicolor pink and white blooms in spring…and then you’ll enjoy an encore performance in autumn!
  • Some abelias grow quite tall, but Edward Goucher Abelia stays compact — it grows to only 3 feet tall. Although the individual flowers are delicate, plants are simply covered with tiny, pink blossoms!

Summer

Shrubs

  • What a diverse group of flowering shrubs! Bearing the traditional “mophead” blooms, Endless Summer delivers in a big way — it’s a re-blooming hydrangea, so expect your summer flowers to last longer than other mophead types. Differently formed flowers — in a panicle shape — grow on bi-colored Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea. And a reblooming red hydrangea — Red Sensation — grows only three feet tall, making it perfect for containers!
  • The intoxicating scent of white gardenias fills any garden with natural perfume. From Frostproof Gardenia, an early summer bloomer, to August Beauty, with blooms lasting ‘til late summer, gardenias are truly a garden staple.
  • There are many cultivars of the summer-flowering shrubs, but Variegated Weigela may be the prettiest. Delicate pink-and-white flowers are borne in profusion on plants that have stunning green-and-cream variegated leaves!

Roses

The quintessential summer-flowering plant, roses can take many forms, including groundcovers (drift roses), shrubs (Knock Outs) and standards (also called tree-form roses). There’s a form and color for every gardener!

Perennials

  • Although dahlias come in all shapes and sizes, it’s the 'dinnerplate dahlias' that are the real showstoppers. Having blooms of up to 10 inches in diameter, these dramatic beauties include names like Babylon Red (fiery red flowers), Avignon (multicolored white and purplish blooms) and Moonlight Sonata (peachy-pink and coral blossoms). Many dahlias are still blooming when the first frost in fall/winter hits!
  • With their grassy foliage and cheerful blooms, daylilies are one of the most versatile plants. Use them as accents, in containers or to line flowerbeds and sidewalks. Stella d’Oro and Happy Returns are two examples of re-blooming daylilies – they keep going all summer long!
  • Even if you don’t have an herb garden, you must grow lavender. It excels as a foliage plant and a flowering plant. Although most lavender foliage is green or silvery in color, Platinum Blonde Lavender has variegated green, cream and yellow leaves! Like other lavenders, it also bears flowers of purplish-blue.