By Marianne Binetti
I no longer worry about the winter uglies. Adding hellebores and other winter beauties has taught me to celebrate gardening in the Northwest all year long. My secret is to divide the landscape into different zones and highlight a different season for each. Here’s a peek at my garden through the year, with a pocket garden for each season.
Winter: Location is everything for a winter-blooming garden, and so I plant hellebores, black mondo grass and early-blooming bulbs right outside my home office window.
Tip: Enjoy your garden from the inside looking out during the worst of the weather.
Spring: Layer in the color by planting under the skirts of spring-blooming shrubs. I call this “planting in the petticoat zone,” and you can see how adding spring-flowering perennials enhances the blooms of this rhododendron.
Tip: When you see your shrub in flower, head to Lowe’s and buy companion perennial plants in full bloom. Now you’ll enjoy a pocket garden of spring color year after year, layered around a blooming shrub already in place.
Summer: Add shrubs to your perennial display. I use the backdrop of my brick wall to display summer-flowering perennials such as lupine and heuchera.
Tip: By adding easy-to-grow Endless Summer hydrangeas to this bed, I am guaranteed some color and texture contrast to the perennials all summer long.
Fall: My favorite fall tree is this coral bark maple. It is small enough to fit in this entry area of my garden. Plus it offers not just fantastic fall foliage but also winter beauty from the bright-orange bark, as well as summer foliage in a cool, green shade.
Tip: If you don’t want to rake fall leaves, put maples in a bed with tough shrubs such as barberry, pieris and holly that will benefit when the leaves remain on the ground. If you use maple trees near your lawn, you’ll need to rake matted leaves off the grass year after year.
What plants are your seasonal favorites?