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Old 05-14-2009, 07:00 AM
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I am helping a friend plant some new flowers in some large planting beds in their yard that get mostly full sun with a few areas getting partial shade. My friend would like to plant a mixture of flowers that allow for interest during all seasons (they would like a mix of flowers that bloom in the spring, with others that bloom in the summer, and others still that bloom in the fall and or winter). They can be bulbs, annuals, or perennials. Do you have any suggestions on a mixture of flowers that bloom during these different seasons that do well in the triangle climate?

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Old 05-14-2009, 07:06 AM
Location: The 12th State
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Old 05-14-2009, 07:32 AM
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May not be what you are after but my favorite is to have some
evergreen shrubs in the middle or back side that have various textures,heights ,& color leaves and bloom time. Add in some interest in the way of a bench or bird bath or large stones. Then fill in with flowers that bloom at different times.

Once the "bones" are complete you can change a few of the
annuals as you wish for interest.

If the space is too small for all this do the same idea on a small scale.
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Old 05-14-2009, 08:00 AM
Location: Cary, NC
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A great start would be double knockout roses. Ours have already bloomed mightily once this year and have at least 2 more rounds to go. Some black or other Mondo grasses are great accents. Grasses love it here and look so cool. And some butterfly bushes.

I would suggest taking a trip to Logan's at Seaboard Station. Talk to the very helpful workers there about your needs. They seemed the most knowledgeable and customer-friendly of the places we've been. Struck out bad in Cary and Apex for customer service, but Logan's in Raleigh was awesome.
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Old 05-14-2009, 08:05 AM
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NRG--that's a pretty wide open question! Sounds like you're friend has two different types of sunlight, so you'll need different plants for the different situations. Do they have other goals for the garden? A certain feel? Certain colors? A style? Organic shapes or very regimented classical symmetry? And the list goes on......

I'd recommend buying some evergreens or shrubs that work as a structure or formwork for the garden and then filling in around them with perrennials for different seasons, and leaving a little bit of room for annuals to be planted during the seasons for a strong burst of color.

I love ALL plants and if I had the time and money, would be come a serious collector, so I'll just list some of my favorite bloomers that are common.

Spring---bulbs, bulbs, bulbs, bulbs. I like to plant bulbs that bloom at different times and with different height and colors so that the scene is constantly changing. Some of the earliest bloomers are the crocuses, and glory of the snow is one of the earliest of those. Bluebells. Daffodils. Tulips (planted every year unfortunately). Blooming trees: redbuds, dogwoods, horse chestnuts, saucer magnolias give structure to my gardens. Perrenials: irises (in all shapes and sizes, and chosen to bloom at different times during the season), false indigo, creeping ground covers that bloom, hostas and heuchera. Annuals are usually my winter pansies, and then I'll begin to put in others past the frost date. Shrubs: azaleas of course.

Summer: daylillies! I go to the big daylilly farms every few weeks to collect different plants that bloom at different times of the season. Mine start blooming in April, and some are still blooming come September. Other lillies, asiatic lillies, cana lillies provide splashes of color. Veronicas and salvias. Blooming trees: crepe myrtles. Annuals: I love my wave petunias! Shrubs: gardenia, rose of sharon. Summer bulbs: lots of different bulbs and tubers, gladiolas, calladiums, anenomes, dahlias, calla lillies, crocosmia.

Fall: in my fall my gardens really rely on the color change from my decidious trees and the mums I plant like annuals every year, as well as the ones that have survived from the year before. I look for shrubs and trees that have interesting changes in color, and love japense maples this time of year as well as the intense yellow from the hostas as they die back. I use fall to clean up, clear out, plan my bulb and pansy planting for late fall. One of the best times to plant anything!

Winter: lenten roses and camelias can brighten up shady areas. Annual pansies by the million and colorful kale species. I chose shrubs and trees that have interesting forms when they lose their leaves, interesting bark texture or color. Some great shrub dogwoods have red and yellow limbs. River birch. Natchez trace crepe myrtles. My contorted filbert is a favorite in winter, even more than when it has it's leaves! I also like to think about how I might want to decorate the garden in lights for the holiday season and plan some shrubs accordingly.

Beyond the blooms, think about shape, texture, color, and designing the garden to create or support a sense of place. Blooms fade quickly

Have your friend think about how much time they want to devote to plant care. I choose specimens that don't take a lot of water, DO take a lot of abuse, and create minimal trimming chores. I'd rather spend the time enjoying them and doing a little weeding now and then rather than giving something constant care. Stick with the simple plants that do well here and work your way up to a few exotic specimens.

Okay.....stopping now.....PM me for more :-)
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Old 05-14-2009, 10:16 AM
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Kim makes many excellent suggestions. The only additional advice I would add is to use perennials to achieve your color, rather than annuals. Annuals seems like a quick fix, but they end up costing you in the long run.

We went to the Plant Delights Nursery open house recently, and I was amused to see staff there wearing t-shirts that said "Friends don't let friends buy annuals."
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Old 05-14-2009, 10:19 AM
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Knock out roses...they are great and hard to kill. I planted mine in the drought and did not tend to them like I should and they are alive and well.
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