Small Garden Design Tips

Creating and enjoying a garden even in the smallest of spaces

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Flowers for Small Garden Design – Annuals or Perennials?

Posted by admin on Jun 28, 2011 under container gardening, flower garden design, small garden design

“>When it comes to picking flowers for your small garden design, there are two broad categories of flower types – perennials and annuals.

What’s the difference?  Perennials will grow back year after year.  Annuals typically only last for one growing season and must be planted again every year.  I say typically, because some annuals will reseed themselves.

In this short article, I will touch on just a small sampling of the many choices you have for perennials and annuals that work well in gardens that get full sun to partial sun.

Columbines add a dash of color to an early spring garden

If your small garden design is going in the ground, consider a small perennial flower garden designed to provide beautiful blooms year after year.  The flowering plants you have to choose from are endless.

Choices for early spring…there are endless varieties of bulbs for tulips, daffodils, hyacinth, irises, and lily varieties to choose from.   Peonies are also an early spring bloomer.  They make great borders, grow low compact almost like bushes, and are hardy for colder regions.  Another early spring bloomer that comes in a variety of colors from pinks and yellows to blues is columbines.

For late spring and summer, daisies and flowers in the daisy family such as Echinacea or purple coneflowers, yellow and red gaillardias, and black-eyed Susan, which are actually biennials, all provide great color.  Dianthus can be found in a variety of colors from white, pinks, reds, and purples to all combinations of mixtures.  Asters and mums are great for late summer and fall with a great selection of colors to choose from.

White Daisies
Daisies are perennials that return year after year
Daylillies in a rock garden
Daylillies in a rock garden

Many perennials will spread and can fill your garden space over time.  Instead of planting all perennials, another option is to mix perennials and annuals.  This way, you can have some plants returning each year while experimenting with different annuals to add variety to your small garden design each year.  Experimenting is what makes small garden design so much fun!

Are you working with a small garden design on a deck or patio?  Try container gardening for your flower garden design, and consider annuals.  While perennials will grow back every year, they also tend to want to spread, which makes them difficult to maintain in container gardening.  Also, if you live in an area where you get cold weather or freezing weather, the flowers may not survive the winter in a container.

The varieties of flowers to choose from are endless.  Some annuals for full sun areas to consider…pansies in early spring, grazania, geranium, marigolds, petunias, zinnia, cosmos, and portulaca…the choices are endless.

Hanging Nasterium
Nasturtium flowers are not only colorful but edible too!

Summer has just started.  If you still want to plant flowers, it’s not too late.  Consider planting annuals that will bloom into the fall – asters, mums, and marigolds, just to name a few.

What new annuals and perennials have you tried in your garden this year?  Leave a comment and share your experiences.

Railing Planters for a small garden design
Railing pot with portulaca, grazania, and vinca










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