Winter is a fading memory and many of us are now starting to look forward to getting the garden furniture out and relaxing in the summer sun. In the meantime, though, it’s time to start looking at how we can make the garden as colourful as possible. In this article we will look at what to plant this Spring from low maintenance plants to perennials and annuals to help you create that sea of colour in your garden ready for the Summer.
Perennial vs Annual plants
Annuals are plants that flower and die in one season. Typically, an annual will bloom all season until it gets cold and then they die. They will give you colour throughout the season though and can be planted pretty much anytime.
Perennials are plants which will flower year after year and die back in the winter. They typically have less vibrant flowers and will only flower for a short period during the season. It is best to plant perennials in the Spring or Autumn. Perennials will not normally be at their best the first year that you plant them so be patient
What to Plant
When you are planting in Spring, look for Summer flowering bulbs. You can of course find these fully fledged in the Summer if you go to a garden centre but with some planning you can buy the bulbs now and reap the benefits in Summer.
There are many varieties of plants that you can put in your garden and some favourites are:
Dahlias are lovely plants which thrive in full sun or partial shade. They will give you a great supply of flowers all the way through summer if you keep picking them. Don’t plant them too early as they are sensitive to frosts.
Gladioli are a very hardy plant and come in a large variety of colours. Grow them in mixed borders in full sun ideally.
Lilies are great for providing a lovely fragrance so not only do you get the colour, you also get that lovely smell. Lilies also come in a variety of colours and sizes ranging from 60cm to a whopping 2m and they grow well in either full sun or partial shade. They are also hardy so can be planted without fear of frost.
Crocosmias are a real all rounder and will thrive almost anywhere from poor soil conditions to full sun and even droughts, they are also resistant to frost. With their vibrant colours these really are a delight to have in the garden.
Daylilies are easy to grow and totally hardy and give a huge splash of colour with continuous colour throughout the summer. Admittedly a flower only lasts a day but the plant will grow more every day as well, so you’ll never be left short of flowers and colour.
Low Maintenance Plants
If you have a busy life and don’t want to have to do too much pruning or frost protection then you’ll want to plant some low maintenance plants. Some good options for plant and forget flowers are:
Shasta Daisies once planted properly in well drained soil will give you a striking display. All you need to do is deadhead them occasionally to encourage heavier blooming and that is it.
Perennial Geraniums are a very hardy plant and not too fussy when it comes to soil type or weather conditions. They do prefer full sun and well drained soil but don’t require much maintenance other than the odd water if the soil is very dry.
Hosta are great to plant in very shady parts of your garden and although they aren’t a flowering plant, there is a variety of different coloured leaf that can be chosen to give a flourish of colour.
Catmint are drought and heat tolerant and thrive in sun or partial shade. Catmint produces lovely lavender blue flowers amongst a sea of green foliage with an aromatic aroma. The plant is also an insect repellent so is good near vegetables to keep them protected.
Coreopsis are hardy and low maintenance flowers which love full sun and don’t really mind what type of soil they are planted in. With the variety of flower colours available these will keep in bloom for most of the season and simply require the odd removal of dead heads.
Spring is the perfect time to start planting your summer flowers and the choice available for you is vast. We have only touched on some of the most common Spring planting flowers. Whatever flowers you choose for yourself and whatever colour scheme you end up with, the most important thing is to enjoy them and the wildlife like butterflies and bees that they will bring to your garden.