Imagine a gorgeous flower garden drenched with color from early spring to the first frost of autumn.
A daydream, you say? Not anymore! This flower garden design fills the wish list of amateur and expert gardeners alike with …
- Constant color: Spring flowers and foliage in burgundy, pink, and blue give way to yellow, orange, blue, and ebony for summer and autumn.
- Effortless impact: This plot is almost maintenance-free. For at least five years, it will need no staking, dividing, or pruning—only fertilizing, feeding, and maybe a bit of weeding.
- Easy adaptability: The plot size can be reduced or expanded to suit your space (and time), and these plants tolerate most climates, whether the first freeze occurs on September 10 or November 15. (Because most of these perennials need winter chill, this garden is not appropriate for subtropical climates such as southern Florida and southern California.)
- ‘Black Lace’ elderberry
- Rozanne geranium
- ‘Foxtrot’ tulip
- ‘King of Hearts’ dicentra
- ‘Obsidian’ heuchera
- Wine & Roses weigela
- ‘Connecticut Yankee’ delphinium
- ‘Goldsturm’ rudbeckia
- ‘Mardi Gras’ helenium
- ‘May Night’ salvia
- ‘Mönch’ aster
- ‘Summer Sun’ heliopsis
(‘Black Lace’ elderberry, Rozanne geranium, ‘Obsidian’ heuchera, and Wine & Roses weigela will still bloom.)
- ‘Arendsii’ monkshood
- ‘Mönch’ hardy aster
(‘Black Lace’ elderberry, Rozanne geranium, ‘Goldsturm’ rudbeckia, ‘Mardi Gras’ helenium, ‘May Night’ salvia, ‘Obsidian’ heuchera, ‘Summer Sun’ heliopsis, and Wine & Roses weigela will still bloom.)
Garden Ground Rules
- The bed is 16 feet long and 6 feet wide.
- The garden requires at least six hours of sunlight a day.
- The 13 plant varieties are massed in numbers of each for maximum color and instant curb appeal. The plan is customizable to your best advantage, as a border or an island.
- To create larger beds, double or triple the number of plants
- If space (or time) is at a premium, cut the length of the bed to 8 feet, reduce the number of plants accordingly, and forgo the large “Black Lace” elderberry shrub.
- For a centerpiece in the middle of a lawn, place the elderberry and taller perennials in the middle and surround them with plants of shorter stature, ending with Rozanne geranium and ‘Obsidian’ heuchera at the edge of the bed.
Best Three-Season Plants List
A three-season garden requires three essential ingredients:
- Perennials that bloom copiously year after year
- Small shrubs with color-saturated foliage all season long
- Plants that do not spread aggressively
These characteristics are found in all of the following:
- Elderberry (Sambucus nigra ‘Black Lace’)
- Weigela (Weigela Wine & Roses)
- Bleeding heart (Dicentra ‘King of Hearts’)
- Heuchera (Heuchera ‘Obsidian’)
- Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’)
- Ox eye (Heliopsis helianthoides var. scabra ‘Sommersonne’, aka ‘Summer Sun’)
- Sneezeweed (Helenium ‘Mardi Gras’)
- Salvia (Salvia x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’, aka ‘May Night’)
- Cranesbill (Geranium ‘Gerwat’, aka Rozanne)
- Aster (Aster x frikartii ‘Mönch’)
- Tulip (Tulipa ‘Foxtrot’)
- Monkshood (Aconitum carmichaelli ‘Arendsii’)