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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Planning for Color in the Garden

Well it's not really all my fault, but then again, it is.  Other than the pansies and allysum I planted a couple of months ago, we have absolutely no flowers blooming in our garden right now. Tons of things leafing out all over the place, but a total absence of blooms (other than the aforementioned pansies and allysum, which have been blooming, bless their little hearts, all through the winter.)

And seeing other garden bloggers posting photos of the beautiful blooms in their gardens is a little disheartening, but serves only to make me more determined to plan ahead for next year.

My focus with the garden so far has been getting the backbone of the garden planted, planning for winter interest with evergreen shrubs, planting for the birds etc.  Other than a few daylilies and lilium, I haven't even got started with flowers yet.

Still, the garden is new, and we're planning on living here a long time, so if I can just find a smidgeon of patience, in a few years we should hopefully have the garden that I dream of.

I started thinking about blooming seasons and how some plants bloom early, but fade as our summer approaches.  Others are late starters but can take the heat of a Houston summer.  I'm sure that experienced gardeners can roll off the facts:  this plant blooms from early March through May, that one blooms from July through September, etc.  I, on the other hand, don't have that experience and knowledge. I'd have to look everything up and then try and remember it when planning my flower borders.

So I thought about making a chart that would show the information in a graphic format that would make it easy for me to see a) what I currently have and b) where there would be "holes" - times when nothing was blooming. 

Here's the sort of thing I came up with. Just an excel spreadsheet that I can print and keep in my garden journal.

What I'll do is to start with the flowers/flowering shrubs that I have already, and mark their bloom times on the chart. Then I'll easily be able to see, what seasons I need to plan for so I can get planting!

I could do one for the front border, and another for the back border, or the corner garden etc.  I could color it to match the plants so I could get an idea, especially in the planning stages, of what would look good and what would clash.

I can't wait to get started :-)

Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.


Kathleen Scott said...

Love your chart--that's a GREAT idea! I made spreadsheets and it takes more effort to get the info that way.

You're doing the right thing to get your infrastructure in first and do the planning. We took three years to get our plans done, one area at a time. Now I get to add here or there, build a new bed if I feel like it. And prune, compost, mulch everything else. It's been fun to see the plantings through the seasons.

Sheila said...

Very organized! Good luck!

Jayne said...

Thanks Kathleen and Sheila. It's starting to come together already :-)

Bren said...

I love your ideas you share about gardening. I hope to return and see what you share next for growing this summer.

Kyna said...

Ah, patience...something I've always had too little of lol. Don't worry, it'll come together! :D

Jayne said...

Thanks Bren, I'm glad you like my ideas. It's basically just stuff that makes sense to me and makes things simple (I'm all about simple, lol) Kyna, if you find any extra patience, send it my way!

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

That looks like a great idea. It's easy to lose track of what's blooming when. You are very smart to be starting with the bones of the garden first, something I look back and wish I would've done. There sure is a lot of patience in gardening but I'm sure it will be worth it!

Corner Gardener Sue said...

I'm not organized enough to do a chart like that, but I wish I was. I do try to take pictures at different times of the season so I can see what's blooming when. I have noticed that the bloom times vary some depending on the weather.

Another thing I do to ensure season long color, is mix annuals with perennials. Oh, yeah, your pansies and allysums are annuals, aren't they? What other annuals grow well there?

Jayne said...

Hi Sue

Yes, the pansies and allysum are annuals. Other annuals that do well are petunias (but I get lazy at deadheading them, so I gave up with them) also cosmos and zinnia do well. Those are the ones that come to mind right now.