From Bare to Brilliant
Whether you are starting a new garden from scratch or refurbishing an existing space, it is essential to know what you want the results to look like when the plants are mature. For most gardens, a core of easy-to-grow perennial plants and bulbs is an excellent starting place to plant a year-round splash of color, texture, and attention-getting drama. The time and investment in your garden will be rewarded many times over as the plants continue to bless you year after year with their show. Bulbs are a great starting place to choose plants as there is a wide selection of sizes, colors, and types of plants that bloom throughout the year. Tulips, day lily plants, crocus, hyacinth, dahlias, and daffodils can create a dramatic mass of distinct colors or a vivid splash of variable height, multi-colored blooms. Plant a mix of early and late blooming bulbs to create a changing look as the seasons change. Mix in various seeded perennials like violets, lantana, coneflowers, and others to provide attractive variations that will also attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden. You can plant other plants throughout the garden to enhance these dramatic elements and provide pleasant little surprises such as carefully placed hostas, begonias, caladiums, and others. The selection of perennial plants is vast and features short, tall, broad, or small plants. Picking a mix of sizes and placing them appropriately in your space can ensure an ever-changing garden scene that will delight your senses. In most cases, these plants are sun-loving and respond well in open areas. However, some plants like hostas are sensitive to hot, direct sun and may prefer a partially shaded niche in the shade of a taller plant. To add variety from year to year or season to season, compatible annuals, herbs, or vegetables can also be intermixed in the garden for additional variety.
These plants are easy to grow in well-prepared beds featuring good drainage and rich organic matter (compost, manure, and mulch). Annual maintenance can be minimal with perennials as long as they get appropriate moisture and annual feedings of nutrient-rich compost or fertilizer. It is also important to remember that some plants are annual in warmer climates in some areas and perennials. Most bulbs are hardy everywhere, but other plants might survive best by overwintering them indoors. When in doubt, check with your local garden center or professional to confirm the proper care for your selections.