A Guide to Planting with the Seasons
Spring bulbs, summer flowers, fall leaves, and winter branches—oh, the beauty of seasons. But unlike in unbridled nature, in gardens, it doesn’t just happen naturally. It takes a landscape design that includes plants with different bloom times and maintenance that optimizes landscapes for each season.
The spring is a great time to prepare your plots and plant your seeds. Your main choice will be how to balance a mix of annual and perennial plants. Annual plants have long bloom times but die at the end of the season, while perennial plants have shorter bloom times but come back the next season. Good annual plants to plant in the spring include Marigold, Petunias, Impatiens, Begonias, Geraniums, Caladium, Cornflower, Snapdragon, Marigold, Ornamental Kale, and Dusty Miller. Springtime options for perennial plants include Primrose, Violet, Tall Bearded Iris, Garden Peonies, Rock Cress, Coneflowers, Day Lilies, and Sedum.
During the summer, you’ll watch your plants grow and your hard work turn to blossoms. It’s important to keep up with weeding and ensure proper watering. If you haven’t already, it’s not too late to plant some flowers. The best options for summer planting include Marigold, Snapdragon, Aster, Calendula, and Cosmos.
If you planted edibles, fall is the time to harvest them. Annual plants will die with the frosts while perennials will prepare for winter. Preparing for winter precipitation and temperatures should include removing dead annual plants covering up gardens with mulch wherever they were removed in order to protect the soil until spring. What many don’t realize is that fall is also a good time to plant bulbs and some perennials for spring and summer blooms. For example, Tulips, Daffodils, Hyacinths, Muscari, Alliums, Peonies, Dianthus, Ox-Eye Daisy, Aster, and Lilies will do great if planted in the fall.
Winter can bring freezing temperatures which can damage hoses or sprinklers if they have any remaining water in them. Remember to store these away. While there won’t be much to do in the garden, it’s a great time to start planning the next year and ordering seeds. During mild winters, you can consider planting in February. Annual plants that can succeed in late winter planting include Zinnias, Marigolds, Geraniums, while perennials include Rudbeckias, Daisies, Poppies, and Coneflowers. Winter is also a great time to collect buds and cuttings of plants that can be started indoors before being transferred outdoors in the spring.