Alberta's Best Garden Blog

Flower Power Gardening

Fresh, bright blossoms instantly add excitement and vivacity to any backyard landscape. There’s just something so uplifting about the display of colour and texture you can achieve with a flower garden. But many plants only hold their blossoms for a short period during the growing season, so sometimes if our garden is dominated by spring bloomers, things may be looking a little more lacklustre by the end of summer. To ensure that your garden has some fabulous blooms to show off from spring until fall, pick an assortment of flowering plants that bloom at different times through the seasons. After all, the show must go on!

crocus, miniature iris, pansies, and snowdrops

Flowers to Plant in Spring

There are lots of flowers that are early-to-rise once the snow starts to melt. Bulbs planted ahead of time in autumn are particularly known for their early-blooming. Here are some of the best spring blossoms that will perk things up a bit after a long, grey winter.

Crocus: These purple beauties are always the first to appear in spring, sometimes even when there’s still a bit of snow on the ground. In September, plant these bulbs with the pointy side facing up, about 4 inches deep into soil mixed with lots of compost. This should provide them with lots of nutrients over the next few months, so they’ll grow strong and healthy once spring rolls around.

Miniature Iris: These tiny dwarf irises are great for edging along sidewalks and garden borders, since they usually only reach around 6 inches tall. They don’t require too much upkeep, although they do like their soil moist, so a bit of mulch will help the cause. These perennials do spread a bit over the years, so splitting them up and replanting the other halves elsewhere in autumn will help keep them from getting too crowded.

Pansy: These cute annuals always remind me of that scene from Alice and Wonderland with the singing flower choir. They come in tons of different colour combos, and they’re actually edible, so you can pop off a couple blossoms and stick them on top of cupcakes or sugar cookies if you really want to impress your pals at brunch.

Snowdrop Anemone: This option is particularly awesome, because not only do they bloom early in the year, but they’ll often come back for round two in the autumn! They do pretty well in full-to-partial shade, so if there are a couple of spots in your garden that are heavily shaded by trees, these snow-white blossoms will be a welcome addition.  

petunia, Coreopsis, snapdragon, and catmint

Summer Flowering Plants

Summer sunshine brings along some of the boldest, brightest blossoms around. These stunners are sure to steal the show at your next backyard barbecue.

Petunia: Easily one of the most popular summer blooms, the petunia makes for a pretty spectacular hanging basket, as its copious blooms spill out from the edge of the planter. There are tons of colour options available, but the striped hybrid varieties are particularly eye-catching.

Coreopsis: These sunny blossoms have rich burgundy centres that really make them pop. Near the end of summer, deadhead the spent blossoms to promote even more blooms that continue on into early autumn.

Snapdragon: The wild and colourful flower spikes of the snapdragon are always a hit among gardeners. They grow best in an area with bright sunlight, and soil with lots of organic matter mixed in. Try to keep them in a spot that has some protection from the wind, because these tall blooms can get a bit worn out on blustery days.

Catmint: Not to be confused with catnip, the plant that gets our feline friends flying high, this fragrant, bushy herb makes great filler for corners of the garden. They’re ultra-tolerant of heat and drought and will continue blooming into mid-autumn.

Joe Pye Weed, marigold, and Blue Lobelia

Autumn Blooming Flowers

Autumn is known for the breathtaking colours of all the changing leaves, but there are still some pretty fabulous flowers that stick around during these cooler months.

Joe Pye Weed: These bushy shrubs will grow up to 8 feet tall and 3 feet wide, so they’ll definitely need some extra room to breathe. Their clusters of blossoms in purple, white or pink will appear in the fall, providing pollinators with some morsels of food right before winter hits.

Marigold: While technically these sunny golden flowers appear in the summer, they last well into the autumn until the first frost. They’re also great for naturally repelling unwanted garden pests, so if you prefer organic pest control methods, marigolds are a great option.

Blue Lobelia: These deep blue flowers will stick around from July well into October. They do well in sun or shade, but prefer their soil to be nice and moist, so if it hasn’t rained in a while, you’ll want to give these guys a drink from the hose now and then.

A garden full of vibrant flowers from April until October is totally achievable— it just takes a bit of strategic planning and design. Pick a few flowers from this handy list and you’ll be on your way to a wicked garden with lots to show off, from the moment the snow melts, until the moment it reappears.

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