You are here Home » Garden » Refresh Your Garden Design

Refresh Your Garden Design

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links from which I earn a commission.

Side Garden View with hydrangea, black eyed susans, hosta

Many years ago I went to a garden conference and listened to a well known horticulturist give a lecture on proper color, form, and texture for the front garden. It was a very sedate discussion that went something like this, “Only use whites and the palest of pinks and shades of violet so as to not disturb your family’s finest sensibilities. Never clash. Your garden design should be a long lasting landscaping investment that remains reliably appealing and static for up to ten years.”

Blink. SAY WHAT!?!?!?

Seriously?  Who wants boring? What about updating color, form, and texture in your garden regularly throughout the seasons?  What about adding curb value to your home by creating an interesting space that features fun ideas with creatively bold colors which can be refreshed and kept current?

Rebecca Sweet and pomegranate punch calibrachoa

This year I added color to my patios in the form of ornamental edible containers (see above) mixed with Bonnie Plants Rosemary, Purple Flash Ornamental Pepper, and Proven Winners Superbells Pomegranate Punch Calibrachoa. Each container was bold, colorful, edible, and filled with personality. I tried to create part-shade plantings that offered variety, color, and form changes as well (see top photo). Growing creative fresh ideas can make a real difference in how people experience your garden.

My friend Rebecca Sweet has written a book you must get for your favorite gardener as a gift (that means “buy for yourself”) this season. It shows you how to say no to boring and yes to creative gardening ideas which can update your current look. Refresh Your Garden Design With Color, Texture & Form is a book that features ways to bring a dull, lackluster garden into a more appealing and exciting place.

Rebecca Sweet Garden Design

Rebecca has joined with a few terrific garden bloggers across the interweb to give away oodles of cool prizes and have a Virtual Book Party to celebrate the release of her awesome new book.

FTC Disclaimer

Similar Posts


  1. Calidiums are one of my favorite ornamental plants. Our local high school colors are red and white so I line my front porch with hand-painted metal tubs filled with Bright Reds and White Queen calidium bulbs. Promotes the local school spirit as well as providing a beautiful entryway for my guests!

  2. Great Giveaway! My gravel garden has five rock-filled gabions in it, each topped with a flagstone and a big succulent dish. I love how it turned out.

  3. I had a huge juniper bush that I absolutely hated! I hated pruning is because it was picky and I hated looking at it because it was ugly. After visiting Butchart Gardens in British Columbia and seeing one pruned so that balls were on the ends of the branches in Japanese style garden, I went to work with trimmers, a tree saw, and lots of wire coat hangers. After 5 years, I can honestly say that I now love that bush! I put a few Japanese concrete ornaments below and voila! I have a Japanese garden!

  4. I look forward to reading Rebecca’s book. And what a wonderful giveaway. I am still redoing many areas replacing non-natives with natives. I love the meadow I have been creating at the back of my property that borders a forever wild area.

  5. Having spent the afternoon in the garden hacking back (I seem to do it 3 times a year) I am ready for a change. I probably need some help so I don’t make the same mistakes. Rebecca’s book may just be the trick. Then I could plant up my Proven Winners plants, if I am lucky enough to win, that is!

  6. My back yard had a big boring area under a maple tree that begged for underplanting. It’s bright shade with damp soil. I created a hedge of rhododendron, Itea, Lindera, and Hydrangea serrata which can grow as understory plants in the shade, and interplanted Tiarella “Running Tapestry” as groundcover. Now it’s a joy to gaze out the window at this shady shrub border. I’m sure that a few Proven Winners plants would fit in here beautifully.

  7. I found a fallen log with many rotted out sections. Hubbie and I dragged it out of the woods which was a big job! I have planted hostas and ferns in the openings and incorporated it in my shade garden. This is it’s second year and all plants came back and did well. It gets many comments from visitors to my garden.

  8. I took out the front lawn and filled it with (mostly) deer resistant/water efficient plants last Spring.It did better than I expected!

  9. We took out a 60+ foot Eucalyptus tree a neighbor said obstructed her view and it opened up a whole new world of gardening on one side of our house. We’ve since taken out a large expanse of lawn so I’m in the process of designing an entirely new, and now sun-drenched, garden. I’ve already got Rebecca’s book to offer helpful inspiration but more plants would certainly help!

  10. Wow, what a great blog! First time visitor because of the give away. I recently did something really cool. I wanted a raised bed next to my house but because of the size and stucco I couldn’t build it so that dirt was against the house. I asked friends on Facebook what to do and I got the best idea. Horse troughs! Yes, horse troughs. I went and bought 2 6’2’3′ water troughs and set them end to end and filled with dirt, succulents and companion plants. They have taken off and gone crazy and don’t have to worry about wet dirt against my house!

  11. Hmm. Design idea, to be honest I don’t know that i have any combos I’m proud enough to share. I’m a hodgepodge collector type. I’m looking for some narrow, tall (15+) evergreens to grow as a privacy screen for my somewhat soggy yard, I live in the south east, zone 7. Any ideas?

  12. I started my garden last spring and I’m sure this book will give me a lot of ideas. And the giveaway also could give me some help. 🙂

  13. I like your blog! Found it through Rebecca Sweet’s virtual garden book party (It’s a great book!)

  14. I’ve grouped several old silver metal buckets and an old stock tank together for a grouping that is rustic and easy.

  15. When I first started gardening, I picked a pink and purple color scheme, not realizing I was trying not to disturb my “family’s finest sensibilities”:) Over the years, that has certainly changed, though, that there’s no color scheme at all! Rebecca’s book looks like just what I need for inspiration for some changes to my garden. It wouldn’t take me long to spend that Proven Winners certificate, considering how many of their plants I buy each spring:) Thanks for hosting this, Shawna!

  16. Rebecca’s blog is always filled with great ideas, so I am looking forward to reading this book.

  17. When I moved into my house there was a 50′ x 80″ daylily and iris garden with small rectangular beds of the same inside this rectangle. Beautiful when it’s all blooming. All around the foundation are Burford Holly and another bush. I want to deepen all of the beds in front of the house so that I can add COLOR!!! The soil is has a lot of clay and rocks. Of course, I have an ENORMOUS compost pile (I have 5 horses and 2 Jacks)Besides dividing what I already have, which flowering plants would do well here with little maintenance? I want color and texture and varying heights. Plants that smell good would be a bonus. Thank you!

  18. Ive put in a day lily garden with plants that bloom at all different times so that there is always something blooming in the area. In the spring before the day lilies bloom daffodils and tulips have the area filled with color.

  19. Since I don’t know more about your sun exposure, I’m not quite sure what to recommend. What I can tell you is to go check out a few of the links below which might give you ideas about specifically what to plant for your unique growing situation. Hope it helps!!!

    Wet Soil solutions for shrubs and bushes –

  20. I’ve done many fun things in my garden, but right now I need to find a “fix” to try to make a presentation of something in my garden where my neighbor’s redwoods have stolen all of the water. I am thinking a tiered presentation of lovely shade plants. These will have to be in their own containers to protect them from the voraciously slurping redwoods. SF peninsula climate. Any ideas? I need several levels to provide appeal. Any ideas? (Love, love, love Rebecca’s book.)

  21. When I first started out I only had pink and purple in my front garden as well. Now I have yellow and orange and vegetables – and well everything. 🙂

  22. I have been playing with a small round garden in my front yard. When I moved in with was ornamental grass, a few tiger lilies and shastas. I have since added some more lilies and echinacea.

    I want to split the shastas this year and add Michaelmas Daisy and Helianthus or Heliopsis. It’s very much turning into a fall garden with the lilies for summer pop.

  23. Many shade lovers are also heavy on the water requirements, so this is a tough one. I do not live in zone 8, which you probably live in, so I’m not as familiar with all the plants that will do well.

    However, I have a couple resources. Contact Sharon and Bruce Asakawa – – they wrote the “California Getting Started Garden Guide” and would better know the regional planting concerns.

    Also – here’s a link to a Zone 8 blog post that talks about ideas for dry shade in your zone –

    Generally speaking, there are many “understory” plants such as ferns that often do quite well in dry shade. Groundcovers are also a common solution.

    I hope this helps a bit!! 🙂

  24. I have a hard time with transitions from one season to the next. Right now wishing I had fall plants to enjoy, instead of the summer ones which need to be pulled out (yes I am one of the lucky ones who live in northern California and can garden all year).

  25. My landscaping ideas?!?! That’s why I’m here…this is my very first year to garden. After meeting a very wonderful person at a nearby nursery (Deez Treez), Dee shares here knowledge with me on a daily basis. I have so many possibilities running through my head I don’t know where to begin. That’s why I’m looking forward to reading these blogs and the comments attached to absorb as much of this wonderful knowledge as I can!! 🙂

  26. I have had great success with Angelonia from Proven Winners and would like to try other plants.

  27. I have a large yard so I am constantly working on some type of design project. Right now I am planting a wide strip along the fence as a meadow/wild flower garden with ornamental grasses (especially muhly grass) and flowers – some native, some not. Some that I have planted so far are coreopsis, rudbeckias, yarrows, zinnias, gaillardias, lantana.

  28. This is a great prize that I would love to win! I am in transition in my garden; for the past year, I’ve been removing hold-over invasives from a previous owner (I’ve had the house 12 years so it’s about time!) In the short term, I’ve covered the beds with cardboard, newspaper, and mulch, and placed my veggie-growing Earthboxes in the area. I have an urban yard, so I don’t have a ton of space (and even less full sun!)so I’ll be looking for good ideas to replant these areas once I’ve finally filled the CREEPING BUTTERCUP (UGH!) for good. Cross your fingers for me!

  29. I did a wonderful pizza shaped herb garden this spring and it has become my favorite of all my gardens. Also a favorite of my husband’s since my cooking has great benefited from all the herbs. I am honored to be a part of the great giveaway! Hope I win! Pamie G.

  30. I reclaimed my county-issued drainage ditch and made it into a wet meadow. Now I have butterflies, birds, water and many native grasses to enjoy year-round. PLUS! No grass to mow.

  31. My backyard border has an old sagging 4 foot chain link fence. Behind my yard is a wooded area graced with a growing deer population. I devised a cheap and easy barrier by inserting 8 ft. bamboo poles into the fence. I was worried that this would look a bit trashy but instead the bamboo fades into the trees and cannot be detected from my favorite viewing area on the back deck. Works great at keeping the deer out without obstructing the view and you can’t beat the cost!

  32. I have a dilemma. I have a garden space by my front walkway which faces north. Only the northernmost part of the garden space gets full sun year around. the mid-portion gets sun in the summer and the south end gets very little sun for a short time. and since it is against a west wall, the sun this space does receive in the summer is the hot, mid-afternoon sun. i have no idea what to do with this space. so far it’s a mish-mash and not very attractive.

  33. What is your zone Jennie? There are a lot of solutions, but I think the most obvious is to plant grasses of all sorts in the late sun parts of this garden. Feather reed grass ‘Karl Foerster’ would do wonderfully in the mid portion of the garden.

    There are shade loving grasses as well, such as carex. Depending on the variety, you could plant carex. Groundcovers could be mixed in as well – Chocolate Chip Ajuga is a beautiful groundcover that does well in shade and sun.

    It all depends on your zone and what plants might be hardy there.

  34. Love your blog! I just discovered it because of the link from Rebecca Sweet’s blog. My book arrives today, and I am excited to put it to use. I am totally changing my front yard and removing the front lawn. I have a problem area though. A large old walnut tree with another shade tree are close to the road, so the light changes, but is mostly filtered sun to late afternoon sun. I am in the Sacramento Valley, zone 9. It gets hot in the summer over 100, and around 32 as the low in winter with some freezing. I want a loose screen that obstructs, but is loose, so some of the yard shows through. Any ideas?

  35. My back yard is multi-level so we put in a fence along one portion and in the spring I’ll be planting vines along it for colorful space dividers. I also rescued a huge, tall planter with a rotten bottom. I dug a hole and planted the planter so I can use it as another splash of color between spaces!

  36. I made a raised bed vegetable garden out of cinder blocks. The design allows for me to get to each area without having to step in the garden but more imaginative than just a standard rectangle. Last year I planted rain lilies in the open holes and what a fun surprise, when most of the plants were spent for the summer to have the white lilies putting on their show!

  37. I agree with Shawna – grasses are such great problem solvers. And I love carex, too, as some like water, some are okay without much, some like sun, some like shade. One of my new favorites is Carex ‘Everillo’ – a fantastic evergreen (in my zone 9, at least) chartreuse grass. I’m also a fan of calamagrostis foliosa for a lower level grass – maybe under the taller calamgrostis ‘Karl Foerster’ (like Shawna suggested)?

  38. Hi Debbie – my parents live just north of Sacrament (near Auburn) so I’m well aware of how hot it can get there! I love loose screens as they allow parts of the garden to ‘peek through’. And its nice that you have that shade to help the plants with the brutal afternoon sun. Have you tried Verbena bonariensis? It’s a tall perennial, and though it dies down in the winter, it’s pretty fantastic throughout the spring/summer/fall. Mixed with the 5′ tall Rudbeckia triloba and you’ve got color that’ll last for months and months as well as loose screening. Even though these perennials like full sun, in your climate I think they’d be just fine with the filtered sunlight.

  39. I started gardening 30 years and times have definitely changed. I’m happy to say my garden is full of clashing colors. It’s very liberating and much more fun.

  40. Out of the box for me was adding pops of bright turquoise throught my front, sides and backyard. It just looked ‘happy’!! Would love to win.

  41. Hi Pam – I live in Northern Ca. as well and you have SO many options for fall color! In my garden, for example, I’m really loving my grevilleas (g. ‘superb’, ‘robin gordon’ and ‘jade mound’) which bloom off and on the entire year (full sun). And I love my perennial sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ and ‘Autumn Fire’ mixed with solidago ‘fireworks’. Try some of these and you’ll be thrilled when fall shows up at your doorstep! 🙂

  42. Hi Jo! Thanks for the kind words about my book. 😉

    Shawna has some great suggestions – in addition you might try correa ‘ivory bells’ and ‘mission bells’. They’re evergreen and bloom their heads off in February and March.

  43. My garden is surrounded by a boring white vinyl fence. I’ve come up with the idea of building wood framed/iron gridlike trellis’s that hang over the top of the vinyl fence via brackets and include a 2 inch block to hold it away from the fence enough to allow climbing roses and clematis to grow up them. Now my garden looks cozy and natural and the vinyl is hidden but not damaged in anyway. This also takes advantage of vertical space.

  44. Wow! So glad I found Shawna’s blog from the promotion of Rebecca Sweet’s book. I just watched the Ted video she did and I’m so impressed with her passion to make her community a better place. You go girl!

  45. We have a long, meandering drive coming into our place. We refer to it as ‘Delusional Drive’ for reasons that are probably obvious to fellow gardeners. I keep adding and tweaking, with an eye to year-round interest and a mix of color and texture. It comes a little closer to my vision with each passing year.

  46. This summer I created a container garden with a large orange pot, canna ‘tropicanna’, ‘Sweet Carolin’e red sweet potato vine, and lots of orange calibrachoa. It really gave my patio a pop of color!

    I plan on purchased a lot more calibrachoa when they become available again could really use the Proven Winner certificate!

  47. I was so lucky to see Rebecca’s garden during the Fling–I want to move in! Her garden is amazing, and I can’t wait to read her book. For design ideas, I also try to incorporate edibles into containers and landscaping–there are so many gorgeous edibles, why would anyone leave them hidden in a remote kitchen garden? During the summer I use Chinese 5-color peppers and Fish peppers planted with annuals in containers, and this fall I’m using a ton of Rainbow Swiss Chard and Red Russian Kale with violas. Pretty and delicious! Thanks for the fun give-away!

  48. This spring I ripped out my entire back yard and replaced it with native beds and veggie gardens. I did plan carefully to design each bed, but some things didn’t make it through the hot TX summer. So I’m looking for replacements.

  49. I built a circle garden with pathways and butterfly plants to cover a burned out spot in the lawn. That was two years ago and I am still mesmerized by it every day.

  50. I have ordered Rebecca’s book and can’t wait. I love the look and feel of an English Garden, but I live in hot central TX and English gardens don’t survive droughts and deer so I planted an English garden with all native, drought tolerant, deer resistant plants. I worked long and hard on the colors and the design. I love it but it does need some tweaking here and there. I can’t wait to read Rebecca’s book and get fresh ideas for changing some thing around in the early spring. I would love to be part of your give away.
    Ann Myers

  51. Hmmm, the best design thing Ive ever done with my garden is add Miscanthus perennial grasses, they really are beautiful tall whisps of green in the spring/summer, then in the fall send up feather like fronds which add fall and winter interest, I really need to divide my clumps and spread them around more places!

  52. This year my husband and I were determined to have less lawn and more colorful pollinator plants. What we did was develop a butterfly/ pollinator garden in th middle of our backyard. We filled it with Joe Pye weed, coneflowers, asters, ironweed, swamp milkweed, bee balm, and phlox. We then added paths and gates so we would be able to walk in between all the flowers. We loved our garden this year and hope to improve next year!

  53. In my back yard I used bricks to make a circle then more
    bricks to make a square there’s a path between the two. In the center I plant herbs and the out side in the square are flowers and vegetables. It was based on a colonial garden pattern and I’ve found the combination
    of herbs, flowers and vegetables draws more bee’s for pollination.

  54. My yard is full of perennials of all types. Tired and true, new and bold, boring but livable, fragrant and colorful but my favorite garden is my edible garden. I will forever remember my 2 year old picking cherry tomatoes and eating them like candy. The garden taught my little boy colors, respect and love for earth food, and all about bugs! We still pick flowers together but picking raspberries, strawberries, cucumbers and all kinds of other treats fill us up from the inside out! I wish everyone would try to grow some edibles.. This year I learned a lot about container and vertical gardening. Seriously, it’s as easy as modifying a milk jug and adding an herb or veggie! Anyone can do this! The possibilities are endless! It you haven’t tried there is no better time than now.

  55. I have a tiny garden. So to avoid what Rebecca calls “one-of-each”-itis, all my flowers are pink. I’ve just got a few orange and purple flowers so it won’t be too flat.

  56. My plants, front yard and back, have edible blooms so that we can enjoy them in salads. Roses, Dandelions, many herbs and Pansy’s are some. I grow almost all our own salad greens. Our latest idea for a vegetable garden is a 15 foot x 3 foot wide Hugelkultur garden. Started with fallen trees and limbs piled in a trench with brush and compost and dirt and mulch on top and finally seeds planted on top of that in our large backyard. It is supposed to reduce the need for water irrigation. This is our first year, we will see!

  57. My garden project that I’m currently working on is really similar to Rebecca Sweets’ style of landscaping; Blending form, shape and function.

    I have a full-sun 6’x 6′ garden bed filled with white Alyssum. I’ve then placed garlic in random sections for both the harvest as well as the light green shoots to add texture to the garden.

    Finally, the main attraction will be the 4-5 cultivars of sunflower to really make it ‘pop’!

    velvet queen, teddy bear, american giant, lemon queen, and italian white varieties. This is gonna be a pollinator’s paradise!

  58. I just recently finished a hardscape project that I started in the spring. I laid over 300 12×12 pavers to form a patio right in front of my basement door. I had to build a rock retaining wall where my lawn slopes, and I had to cut the pavers to fit up against the wall. What a lot of work! The grass grows right up to the wall, but wouldn’t it look great if calibrachoa came tumbling over the wall instead? Would love to win your prize!

  59. I haven’t had the luxury of my own garden yet, but I did see a fantastic pergola at a nearby botanical garden that had gourds growing on it and hanging just above your heads. They also had squash growing on trellises where you had easy access to the ripening fruit – different spatial growing arrangements that struck me as being genius!

  60. My mainstay in the garden is perennials of every size, shape and color, with lots of natives thrown in. Am working on reducing the amount of grass in the yard and adding lots of beds and have surrounded each of the beds with limestone rocks to tie them together.

  61. This project is still in the planning stage. Current home has (inherited) wildly overgrown hollies across half of the front porch. The room behind is dark, dark, dark. I’m going to see if a niwaki (Japanese “cloud” pruning) approach will open the space and let light into the house. The challenge is more interesting than simply pulling the shrubs and starting over.

  62. thanks for the links Shawna! I forgot to share that. Its East facing and gets light until late afternoon. Its not drastically wet, it just stays wet longer than other areas of my yard. I was thinking about putting an iris bed there, then I decided to screen out the neighbors would be a better choice.

  63. Emily, WOW! You’re asking for miracles. The best way to keep deers out of your yard is to put a fence around it. Of course, that sounds like I’m joking or being snarky, but I’m not – – totally serious. If you can’t fence in your yard, then perhaps fence around young seedlings until they’re bigger and not as appealing to the deer.

    Outside of that, there are a lot of plants that deer do not like. For example, Russian Sage, Euphorbia, daffodils — it depends on the plant and your garden requirements.

    Search “deer resistant plants” online and I’m sure you’ll find an interesting list.

    In the end, if the deer are starving they’ll eat anything, but they will avoid certain plants that are smelly to them or hurt their mouths when they eat.

    Best of luck!!!!


  64. I’m not a shrub expert, but think the links I listed above list several different shrubs you might use under those conditions. The problem is that a lot of shrubs do not like wet feet because it will rot out their feet.

    Another idea is to consider planting a rain garden there. A rain garden is a garden that features water loving plants of all kinds. Not all iris’s like sitting in water, so I think I’d do some research on “plants that like wet conditions” online and see what else you might come up with.

    Rain gardens are really awesome because they prevent run-off water from going into our sewer systems. Instead, mother nature absorbs the water and it’s much better for the environment.

    Lots of luck!!!


  65. Another idea: Lots of plants will not grow under a black walnut because it puts out a chemical to kill its neighbors. However, grasses are rarely effected by black walnuts. Native grasses and ornamental cultivated grasses planted in a creative fashion would both grow well under the walnut tree and extending down around the garden. Tall grasses function as an excellent screen – Feather Reed Grass would work very well. Another is Dwarf Pampas Grass ‘Ivory Feathers’. In your region pampas grass is invasive – EXCEPT Dwarf Pampas Grass which is cultivated and rarely self seeds and might be something you could consider. ‘Ivory Feathers’ and ‘Pumila’ are two types you could use.

  66. No great ideas from me–think I need Rebecca’s book and some Proven Winners! Thanks for the chance.

  67. We just moved this summer so we’ve done tons of weeding and replanting. I want to make a garden next year, but I have one flowerbed that needs major help. I’m thinking doing pinks and reds there?

  68. I’d like to inspire you with my newest creation. I recently made a rose and rock garden. Oh…It’s beautiful! The area is full of hybrid teas and American Beauties sounded by quarry granite rocks. The finishing touch was pine bark nuggets to surround the roses and add texture.

  69. Love Proven Winners and woukd love to win this prize. I live in hot and humid SC, and am having great success with native plants. Less water, less disease and they withstand the blazing afternoon sun.

  70. I love Rebecca’s newest book and am getting lots of great ideas to perk up our garden in the coming months. To add a bit of “spark” to the summer shade under our prolific persimmon tree, I planted an old rusty wheelbarrow with the brightest impatiens I could find and it has been a real winner, adding a beautiful focal point beside our patio where we like to spend summer evenings. Now I am looking at where to plant those beautiful Proven Winners from your giveaway.

  71. My yard when I moved in was full of useless “debris” (a satellite dish from previous owner, even though we have cable; concrete supports for an old heating oil tank; supports for a massive metal clothesline, with no lines left). To liven up my yard, I added lots of native flowers and climbing vines, especially those that are fast-growing and attract pollinators and birds: Carolina jessamine, some large witch hazel plants, honeysuckle, and asters/salvia around the bases of these structures. Covered them up while providing support for climbing flowers!

  72. I love to add herbs and annual vegetables to my container gardens. They add great color and texture when mixed with annual or perennial flowers.

  73. I really enjoyed reading all the commets everyone posted. I live in Wisconsin and need to redo my front flower bed in front of the house. This area gets full sun all morning and into the late afternoon. I would like to mix it up with small flowering bushes and plants. Any ideas?

  74. That Pomegranate Punch Calibrachoa looks so pretty! Would love to win the gift certificate to Proven Winner — that would be so fun to search through all the plant possibilities & place an order.

  75. I am working on removing the grass from my acre lot. Started by creating large gardens around all the trees. This year I put in a large rose garden.
    There is still a large strip of grass down the driveway over to the neighbors yard and want to make it an ornamental tree garden. Waiting for some Bradford Pears to give up the ghost, just 3 more to go from the original line of them the previous owner planted. I am also working on adding more texture/leaf color plants to add more punch to the winter garden.

  76. This was my first year using raised beds. Physical limitations made that necessary and I enjoyed it. Just didn’t have enough to ‘put up’ but we enjoyed the fresh eating all summer. I am trying to incorporate more edibles on the property…a few apple trees, one grape vine so far, and my latest obsession, elderberries. Need to find some hardy to this zone 3.

  77. Hi Ellen,

    Thanks for the good words. It sounds like you are probably in zone 5. Dwarf barberry has a lovely leaf color all year long, but doesn’t really have a flower, however, I think it’s a colorful choice.

    Dwarf butterfly bush works well as a flowering shrub and modern hybrids come back more reliably.

    Potentilla blooms most of the summer and they have an amazing new white variety out that I think is adorable. It works really well in full sun.

    Rose of Sharon can be a good flowering shrub, but the problem is it can sometimes be invasive — you’ll need to do your research on the best variety for your situation.

    And, of course, my favorite flowering shrub of all time – Annabelle Hydrangea. I love my Annie’s. They’re tremendous and do not produce heavy pollen problems, so are good if you have allergies.



  78. Shannon from Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs, here. Shawna thought I might be able to help. Luckily, we’re introducing a lot of really great dwarf varieties that won’t overwhelm a landscape – or front flower bed. A few suggestions: Show Off Sugar Baby forsythia (18-30″ tall and wide | Zone 4), Bobo hydrangea paniculata (an absolute favorite of mine that stays 3′ tall and 4′ wide | Zone 3), Oso Happy Smoothie rose (bred in Minnesota, so it’s very winter hardy and – bonus – no thorns! | Zone 4), and Spilled Wine weigela (2′ tall and 3′ wide with a nice spreading habit and deep burgundy foliage | Zone 4). I hope these suggestions will help get you started. Good luck and happy gardening, Ellen!

  79. This year we had the largest, prettiest
    garden of various zinnias we have ever
    grown and a second round of sunflowers
    just started blooming – we expect low temps
    and frost next week, so it will be the
    end of a beautiful season of blooms..
    BRING ON THE BULBS.. Zone 8 Arkansas

  80. We are new gardeners we had some raised bed boxes and some open planting. I want walk ways. What’s the best material straw or pavers?

  81. I think that depends on how formal your gardens are. Formal gardens definitely look attractive with flagstone, rock, or paver pathways. However, cut logs, straw, and mulch work just fine in woodland or casual gardens.

    Hard materials like rock and pavers are better for smothering weeds and I highly recommend a thick layer of mulch in order to do the same.

  82. I put a curving path to the rear of the garden, leading to a small berm. At the base of the berm, on a whim and because I found a large block of wood at the curbside, I set it in as a meditation bench. Now, sculpting the view seen from the low bench and sharing that view is a great joy for me.

  83. Well this looks like another great book full of great ideas. Our gardens are constantly changing as the trees get taller and areas that were full sun are now partial to full shade. As this has happened, we’ve been adding more shrubs – azaleas, hydrangeas, camellias, etc., and in the process establishing areas that require less maintenance. Next up will be working the front yard, after we figure out the soon to be installed handicap/wheelchair ramp. Thanks for the chance, Shawna…

  84. One interesting garden idea I’ve had was to plant only succulents (hardy sedums) under my Jane Magnolia tree. I have Southern exposure in that area, so even though they’re under the shade of the specimen tree, they still get a fair amount of sun. I’ve interspersed them with some heucheras and small ornamental grasses. It almost has a quilt like effect. I also tend to change it slightly each year, and it’s very easy to maintain. Hardly have to use mulch b/c the plants spread into each other nicely.

  85. As a gardener in the low desert (Phoenix) I am constantly trying new plants to see what will tolerate our seasonal extremes (over 100 at night in high summer, down to freezing a few nights each winter).

    I’m a renter, I garden in pots.

    I don’t have a particular solution or dilemma to share, but I will say that I like Proven Winners because they offer plants that will thrive here. (agaves, mangaves, aloes, among others)

    *fingers crossed*

  86. Proven Winners has the most beautiful plants! They would look so good in our planter boxes at the lightkeepers cottage garden, that is our community project for my garden club. We’re always looking for plants that the community can enjoy!
    We try to keep flowers at the cottage as the lightkeepers of 1940’s did!

  87. Es perfecto tiempo para hacer algunos planes para el futuro y es tiempo para ser feliz . Tengo leer este post y si pudiera me querer sugiero que pocos o consultoría . Quizás Tal vez usted podría puede escribir artículos siguientes se refieren a este artículo. I desear leer más cosas sobre él !

  88. I got this site from my friend who shared with me about this site and now this time I am browsing this web site and reading very informative content at this place.

  89. Aw, this was a very good post. Taking the time and actual effort to make a very good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a lot and don’t manage to get anything done.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *