Designing a Garden That’s Always in Bloom

Before we begin, I live in New Jersey where the arrival of spring is like a breath of fresh air. After a long, wet and cold winter, the garden is very welcoming as it starts peeking through the ground.

As much as I love to garden, I don’t want to get bogged down with a lot of daily garden chores. Weeding is one thing, but planting, replanting, cutting things back, etc. are another. When I design a garden, I prefer low maintenance plants that will give me more bang for my buck. To keep the garden blooming from spring through fall, I consider the length and timing of bloom while mixing in some evergreen shrubs and trees so I have year round interest, color and texture.

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(This post was originally published on January 17, 2019 and was updated on August 17, 2019).

How to Protect Plants From Deer Damage

New Jersey is deer country where deer are known to decimate gardens. Because I live in New Jersey, I design gardens with deer-resistant plantings and spray the high risk plants.

The Rutgers Cooperative Extension graded plants by deer-resistance, and I refer to their list often when I am designing and planting a new garden. Click here to download this list. While I typically lean towards deer-resistant plantings, I do plant some things that require a little more protection.

In addition to the deer resistance list, I spray high risk plants with  Deer Out 40oz Ready-To-Use Deer Repellent. I swear by this stuff because I use it all the time and it works for me. Since this bottle is about one application for my gardens, I also buy the concentrated form Deer Out 32oz Concentrate Deer Repellent then use the smaller bottle as the applicator because I prefer walking around with a smaller, lighter bottle. While the bottle has application directions, I am more aggressive with the spray schedule for higher risk plants. I start spraying them when they emerge from the ground, then again about one-two weeks later, depending on the growth. I spray every three-four weeks after. This method has worked for me for years and if you try it, I hope it works for you too.

To learn more about how to minimize and hopefully prevent deer damage, see my blog Deer-Proofing Your Garden.

Front Border Love

When we added a second story to our three bedroom ranch home twelve years ago, this garden was non-existent. I started it from very small plantings and through the years, some plants have thrived and others have failed. I just like kind of let the garden do what it wanted to do.  If a plant did really well, I let it do it’s thing. If a plant didn’t do much or didn’t have the impact I was looking for, it was relocated or died out.

Note to all the self-proscribed black thumbers out there: not all plants do well – even to the best of gardeners. When plants don’t thrive, it just wasn’t meant to be. Some plants are fussier than others and sometimes the conditions in our yards or homes are not conducive for certain plants. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve purchased plants that died out in the first two months after planting or received plants from fellow gardeners that grew in abundance in their yards but did not survive in mine. It happens, so go easier on yourself. There are less fussy, easier care plant options out there that will give you success. We will explore some here and more in-depth in future blogs.

For now, let’s head out into the garden…

The Front Border Garden in Spring

Designing a Garden That's Always in Bloom
In early spring, the flowering crabapple tree, viburnum, purple creeping phlox, tulips and daffodils start to bloom. Here you see red tulips and yellow daffodils. Since tulips are highly susceptible to deer damage, I spray them weekly during their growth until the petals begin to drop. Other perennials are starting to emerge and grow quickly. The flowering plum tree is a show stopper every spring and smells heavenly! Sadly, it only blooms for a few days but when it does…wow!
Designing a Garden That's Always in Bloom
Early spring about a week and a half later: The daffodils are done and the tulip blooms are stunning as they begin to drop. The yellow winter pansies bounced back and are kicking up some hints of yellow in the garden (I spray these as well). Purple allium globemasters are just starting to bloom as the rest of the perennials are starting to fill in.
Designing a Garden That's Always in Bloom
As the allium varieties fade out and die back, the catmint, midnight salvia and siberian iris start to take over. I love this time in the garden with the brilliant hues of blues and purples.
Designing a Garden That's Always in Bloom
As we move through spring, the perennials start to come in and bloom more. The last of the alliums are still blooming, the red knock-out roses, midnight salvia, catmint, bearded iris, siberian iris and bright orange poppies are in full bloom. The garden is heavily scented now. There are patches of lamb’s ear that add a soft white texture to the garden. We are also starting to see butterflies, hummingbirds and bumblebees.
Allium is a beautiful deer resistant bulb from the onion family. When planted en mass in a border, the results are stunning.
Close up of the catmint, poppies, yellow winter pansies, allium, salvia, winter pansies and lamb’s ear in bloom. Winter pansies can be planted in fall – they will bloom again in spring but die out in the summer heat.
I love the color combination of catmint and these oriental poppies.

The Front Border Garden in Summer

Designing a Garden That's Always in Bloom
As we head into summer, the echinacea, beebalm, butterfly weed, balloon flower and daylillies bring a bright, fresh color pallet. Butterflies and hummingbirds are very attracted to this garden and visit often.
As summer progresses, the garden starts to get a little untidy. The catmint’s color is fading, the orange butterfly weed, bee balm, white balloon flower, white and purple echinacea and pink phlox are continue to kick up the summer color. I like to cut back the catmint and a few other perennials that are fading to encourage a second bloom.
Designing a Garden That's Always in Bloom
Late summer in the border continues to bring many butterflies, hummingbirds and bumblebees to the garden. People get concerned about the bees, but these bees are beneficial and friendly. In current bloom are: black-eyed susans, tall phlox, and and a few echinacea varieties. I usually like to keep the left side of the garden shorter and tidier, but had a few volunteer phlox, echinacea and black-eyed susan plants growing and just let them be this year.
Designing a Garden That's Always in Bloom
Close-up of echinacea, globe thistle and bee-balm. All three summer blooming plants are great deer-resistant plantings.

The Front Border Garden in Fall

As the summer blooms fade, I start cutting them back and add some fall colored annuals. My fall favorite, peegee hydrangea tree is starting to bloom and the sedum ‘autumn joy,’ which is super easy to grow and propagate, is starting to change color. I spray all of my annuals with “Deer Out” to deter browsing deer.
Close up of the color combination I found and loved last year.

Final Thoughts

What do you think of the gardens? I hope you enjoyed touring my favorite garden. I spent a lot of time planning, planting and growing this garden to bloom from early spring through fall.

To get a closer look at my gardens during the growing season, I’ve been blogging a virtual garden tour every week to share what’s happening in the gardens during the growing season.

Thank you for stopping by the blog today. Follow me @bricksnblooms on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram where I share lots of the behind-the-scenes of my home, garden and personal life.

Designing a Garden That's Always in Bloom

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  1. Please could you tell me the names of the flowers in the last picture on this site the ones with the pig. The combination is perfect and beautiful!

    1. Hi Jeanette! Thank you!!! The bright fuschia to the right is a chrsyanthemum – I have never seen one that color before. The bright yellow flowers are a rudbekia annual. The deep purple flowers, I don’t recall offhand, but when I see them at the nursery, I will add to this reply to let you know. The light pink flowers to the left and behind the purple flowers are sedum autumn joy. I hope that helps! Thanks for stopping by!

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