Source: Sherman Publications

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Guest column
Summer gardens of color

June 29, 2011

Now that summer is here and the exuberant colors of spring are fading, it's time to extend the color in your garden this summer.

My spring garden is mostly filled with pinks from the crabapple, saucer magnolia, and redbud trees and yellows from forsythia bushes and daffodils. I incorporate blues from grape hyacinths and bluebells. I also add a variety of tulips for a jolt of color.

In my summer garden, I have white and pink peonies. Russian sage provides blue color and lacy leaves all summer. Coneflowers add pink to the garden borders all summer and hardy geraniums provide additional pink color closer to the ground. You can find coneflowers with white flowers and geraniums with blue flowers. I just chose what was available locally. I incorporate more white in the summer garden rather than the yellows in the spring garden. I like how the Annabelle hydrangea's white flowers pop against the green foliage and blue sky.

I am starting to incorporate more non-flowering plants that provide interesting texture. Ferns and hostas are two readily available perennials that come in many varieties. I have a shady area where I grow only hostas. The leaves are in shades of blue and yellow and chartreuse and provide interest until the first frost.

Creating a monochromatic flower garden is also eye catching. An all-white garden, also called a moon garden, glows in the evening and is best planted around the patio so you can appreciate the flowers as they glow in the evening air. You can pick up annuals with white blooms, such as cosmos, sweet alyssum and petunias and perennials, like peonies, iris, Shasta daisies, and phlox at a local garden center.

If your brain freezes up when you start thinking about garden colors and textures and bloom times, simply make a trip to a nursery and pick out the plants you love. As you watch your garden mature, you will notice the times during the year when your garden lacks color. Keep those times in mind. The next time you visit the nursery, ask someone to show you plants that bloom in the color you want during the time you want.

Your garden should make you happy. Do you like bright, vibrant colors or pastels? Do you like orange, yellow and red? Pick the colors you love and you'll end up loving your garden.