• Sandi Manna

Tips to a Better Flower Garden

If you've ever been away and seen a beautiful flower garden at a resort, or looked though a garden magazine and wished for a magazine-worthy garden, these tips will help you create a full, gorgeous flower bed that will leave your neighbors in awe.

1. Plant flowers in mass.

It can be overwhelming when you walk into a garden center and see so many beautiful plants in bloom. Everything looks so amazing, you're naturally tempted to take one of everything home - it's so hard to choose! Often times, people will pick several plants to take home to their garden. Unfortunately, this leaves many gardens underwhelming. The trick is to plant a few flowers you really like and plant them together. We recommend planting in groups of 3 or more. This makes larger groupings and creates a bigger impact.

2. Vary the textures in your garden.

When you're shopping, be on the lookout for different blooms and foliage. Pay attention to the shape of the leaves and the flowers. Make sure you're picking out plants with varieties of textures. Take the leaves of Echinacea compared to lavender. Vary your blooms as well. Get some spiky flowers like Veronica or Agastache and plant them near Gaillardia or Heliopsis.

3. Choose plants with different bloom times.

I can't stress this enough. Too often, gardeners get enticed to go to the garden centers in the spring, and then the enthusiasm lags in summer. This leaves them with only spring blooming flowers and by fall they've been discouraged and given up. There's a saying in our industry "Color sells". This means retailers only carry what's in bloom at that time, not what's finished blooming or about to bloom. By taking a trip to the garden center every season, you'll see what's blooming and what looks good in your garden.

4. Don't forget about winter interest.

Be sure to ask your retailer what perennials are evergreen. Shrubs with winter interest are also key. One of our clients in Old Saybrook was disappointed with her garden as it "disappeared to brown nothing" during the winter. By adding some winter interest to her garden, we created a four season garden that she loves even in winter.

5. Mix annuals and perennials.

Pick summer annuals that have a big impact. By planting both annuals and perennials, you have the perennials to form the base of your garden, but with annuals, you can celebrate the seasons. Annuals allow you to create a show stopping garden that changes every year so your friends and neighbors will be eager to see what your garden looks like every year.

6. Add some vertical accent. By adding container gardens full of colorful annuals, you add height and vertical accent to the garden. These are especially important for softening hard areas and bringing color to areas such as entries and driveways. Choose taller containers and urns to get height and have some cascading plants such as variegated ivy for accents.

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