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How to plan your garden for year-round colour


Words by Jake Russell

Everyone enjoys sitting outside in a vibrant garden during the summer months. That’s why most gardeners focus their efforts on a few weeks in the calendar to create a profusion of growth. However, with careful planning and intelligent planting, your garden can provide colour throughout the year. Here we share some suggestions to ensure that you have vivid plants and foliage for each one of four of the seasons.


For many people, winter is the time of year when their garden goes to sleep. However, late-flowering plants and winter berries can bring brightness to the colder months. Wintersweet and winter jasmine will also provide patches of colour when the days are dark. In addition, snowdrops, crocuses and cyclamens can be planted in autumn to flower in late winter or early spring. Finally, evergreen plants like box or yew will give structure and shape throughout the year.


With the coming of spring, there are new leaves on the plants and new blossom on the branches. If you’ve laid down swathes of bulbs like daffodils, tulips and anemones in the autumn, come March or April they will begin pushing through the earth. Don’t forget shrubs like azaleas, euphorbia and forsythia, or perennials like forget-me-nots and polyanthus – when planted together they can create a fresh spread of yellows, greens, whites and creams.


For most gardeners, summer is the highpoint of the year. Provided plants are well watered, you will have plenty of vibrant colour and flourishing growth. Options are endless for this time of year, but we enjoy the varied shades of annuals like heliotropes, cornflowers, marigolds and poppies; perennials like delphiniums, peonies and geraniums; bulbs like alliums, irises, lilies and begonias; and shrubs like fuchsia and buddleia.


If your garden has any trees, autumn is the time to enjoy their turning leaves, with the familiar shades of burnt oranges and deep red that mark this season. That said, shrubs like plumbago, Japanese maple and rhus will also provide autumn colours thanks to their dark russet leaves. At the same time, late-flowering perennials like asters, echinaceas and Japanese anemones will keep flowering until the first autumn frosts. Take advantage of pots to fill in any missing patches of foliage and also move the plants into the light.


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