Continual blooms make garden perfect

Published 9:00 am Sunday, February 22, 2015

Serendipity Gardens by Carol Hegel Lang

Flowers with different colors and textures, as well as trees, shrubs and a gazebo help create the perfect garden with season-long interest. - Carol Hegel Lang/Albert Lea Tribune

Flowers with different colors and textures, as well as trees, shrubs and a gazebo help create the perfect garden with season-long interest. – Carol Hegel Lang/Albert Lea Tribune

If you asked me to describe the perfect garden, it would be one that has continual blooms from early spring until fall and has many different textures and colors. Looking through the many photos of my gardens I can always find something that needs improvement. The gardens would consist of trees, shrubs, annuals, perennials and containers to ensure continuous succession of blooms for maximum color and textural interest. There would be hardscape to add interest in the form of pathways for you to leisurely wander through the gardens, others would add height to the gardens or perhaps privacy.

Every aspect of the garden needs to blend together to make it cohesive and functional. For me, when I see the first buds coming out on the trees is when the garden season begins. In early spring the weeping cherry adds structure to the bare gardens and color in the lovely blooms as well as fragrance. Soon tulips, daffodils, crocuses and other early bloomers give you that sense of what is to come in the gardens. A few weeks later the bleeding hearts and Virginia bluebells propel the garden forward with color and texture as I wait for the orange poppies and white of the bridal wreath spirea to join the parade of colors.

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If I could add anything to my gardens in spring it would be more blooming trees and shrubs, but alas, I am running out of space for these beauties. Everywhere I turn and look there should be something of interest in the form of flowers or garden whimsy to give me that desire to see more. Early spring in my gardens is just not giving me enough of what I want and hopefully one of these years I will be able to rectify that problem.

Carol Hegel Lang

Carol Hegel Lang

As the season progresses and I start potting up containers to add interest in areas where I am lacking color or texture, I can also see that the seeds of annuals I have planted are beginning to grow. The anticipation sometimes is almost too much for me as I don’t have a lot of patience where the gardens are concerned. The hanging baskets of fuchsia and begonias are hung up and I am beginning to sense that the garden is going to be something spectacular. Zinnias, cosmos, bachelor buttons, marigolds and many other annuals are growing in leaps and bounds and, come July, will look like fireworks exploding through the gardens.

The gardens wouldn’t be complete without all of the self-seeding flowers that pop up anywhere in the gardens to give me a thrill to see all of them. Coreopsis, verbena bonariensis, cosmos, violas and oh so many other little gems are fighting for space in the gardens. Soon the daylilies, Asiatic, oriental and tiger lilies are shouting, “Look at me!” with all the glorious colors they come in to add interest and more texture to the gardens.

Sunflowers are growing by leaps and bounds and will produce seeds for the goldfinch that will visit the gardens later in the summer. Butterflies are everywhere drinking nectar from the phlox and zinnias adding oh so much interest to the gardens. On the dill that self-seeds are caterpillars that will turn into swallowtail butterflies while the milkweed has such a sweet smell as it calls the monarchs to it for their lunch on the leaves. It isn’t only flowers that make a garden, but also all of the creatures that visit it.

As the Joe-pye weeds grow taller and the blooms open up to attract so many insects, the rudbeckia is putting on quite a brilliant show for everyone to admire. Those zinnias that I planted back in May are so colorful now and the alyssum is still going strong among the rocks and cascading down from all of the containers. The hydrangeas are starting to steal the show now as we head into the latter part of summer, and I know that soon it will be autumn and the colorful leaves will be the ones stealing the show.

“Spring is being blessed and happy, with blooming flowers. Summer is being blessed and hot, with abundant sunshine. Autumn is being blessed and reflective, with colored leaves. Winter is being blessed and chilly with sparkling snow.” — Terri Guillemets


Carol Hegel Lang is a green thumb residing in Albert Lea. Her column appears weekly. Email her at