Outdoor Flowering Plants

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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In thinking about gardens and outdoor flowering plants, you'll probably settle on the location first and then the style. If your acreage is extensive, you're fortunate. If your acreage is extensive, you will doubtless be designing several gardens and stumbling only and perhaps at the flow from one to another. Let's assume that you'll be working on a small scale. You'll benefit in either case from "thumbing through" or "visiting" other gardens to feed your imagination.

What you plan will be largely dictated by the soil, climatic conditions, and amount of sunlight. Flower gardens will be either annual, one you dig up and replant each year, or perennial, one you plant only once. Mixing annual and perennial outdoor flowering plants can be tricky and isn't common.

Designing with Outdoor Flowering Plants

The first thing to consider is what trees and shrubs are in place. The shade of the trees is a factor you'll need to consider. You might want to make a few changes. Both ornamental trees--a mimosa or flowering cherry, for example--and shrubs--whether hydrangea or viburnum or perhaps laurel--can be introduced to help define the style you want to set. Most grow fairly quickly. You'll want to take birds and deer and small wildlife into account as you choose.

Regardless of whether you opt for a formal garden of annuals or an informal cottage garden based on perennials (though neither style is restricted to either plant type), the first thing you'll do is design and plan. A large part of the appeal of outdoor flowering plants is color. Remember that the warm colors--the reds and oranges and yellows--tend to advance and make an area appear smaller. The cool colors--the blues and purples and violets--tend to recede and make an area appear larger.


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