There is an art in designing a landscape for year round color.
It requires having knowledge of the different types of flowering plants that perform well in Massachusetts. Creating landscape designs using shrubs, perennials and bedding annuals to get a full season of color. Trees and shrubs provide a framework and the “softscape” structure for your landscape design. The limitation with flowering shrubs is that they only bloom for several weeks. Most broad-leafed evergreens like rhododendrons and azaleas are spring blooming shrubs. Deciduous shrubs like spirea and viburnums tend to bloom early to mid summer.
There are very few fall-flowering shrubs. The real color benefit in the shrub border in autumn is fall foliage. Bloom times for shrubs can also be early or late depending on the severity of the winter. With flowering shrubs and trees taking center stage during springtime, a good landscape design incorporates some hardy perennials for filling in those colorless spots during the summer months. Favorites like Stella Doro daylilies, Brown-Eyed Susans and Autumn Joy sedums are reliable performers year after year.
Having a good supply of perennials in your yard is like having your own flower nursery. These plants should be divided every few years, giving you new opportunities to create more flower beds and spread the color around your yard. There are a couple of disadvantages with perennials. Like shrubs, many perennials have a short bloom time. The average perennials blooms for about 4 to 6 weeks. Most perennials perform best in full sun. And some perennials spread like a ground cover. These types of perennials can be problematic when mixed in with shrubs.
To overcome these disadvantages, you need a third blooming tool in your toolbox: annual bedding plants. The term “annual” means you have to plant them every year, so it’s best to use these in limited areas and as a last resort. The benefit of using annual flowers is that they bloom all season long. Using them for shady areas, in clay pots or urns and around main entry areas will give you the best bang for your blooming buck!