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Garden Advice

Springtime is here again, so it’s time to visit your local garden center for new and exciting plants, shrubs and trees for your home landscape.

Springtime is here again, so it’s time to visit your local garden center for new and exciting plants, shrubs and trees for your home landscape. The colors, shapes, sizes and varieties are continually expanding which offer the buyer more choices then ever. This year, when thinking about your garden/landscape, think beyond the immediate satisfaction of bright colors and consider the long term benefits of a particular plant.

Many annuals, as well as perennials, shrubs and trees offer much more than meet the eye at first glance. Consider what the plant has to offer throughout the season, well into the winter. Some plants are at their peak of beauty in the spring, some in the summer, some in the fall and some in the dead of winter. Structural features to consider, when choosing plantings for your garden, include leaf structure, bark textures, seed heads or pods, color and aroma.

Love-In-A-Mist is a hardy annual which offers many interesting attributes including beautiful wispy foliage and delicate flowers. The flowers range in color from white, blue, pink, purple to mauve and rose. Love-In-A-Mist has one of the most unusual seed pods in the annuals cast of characters. Even the seeds of this plant are of interest; jet black in color with a matte finish. Another annual of interest is the common Snapdragon. Most of us love the beautiful bright colors Snapdragons bring to the garden during the height of summer, but once the flower has fallen away, take a closer look at the seed pod… it resembles a tiny alien-like skull.

Scabiosa is another annual with an interesting seed head. As the flower gives way to the development of the seed head, a papery sphere begins to emerge. It is graced with tiny purplish stars. Scabiosa stems are a great addition to dried flower arrangements in the fall. And for a real conversation piece in the middle of summer, try growing a variety of Amaranth called Love Lies Bleeding. The drooping flowers look like long reddish-purple dreadlocks.

Other perennials that include fall or winter interests include: The Siberian Iris with its arrow straight stalk and deep-welled seed head filled with small black seeds. The common Black-eyed Susan leaves a small tight seedpod roughly the size of a marble which is packed with seeds. Goldfinches love to dine on the seed from late summer through early fall. If either of these are left in the garden, the stalks lend nice texture during the winter months.

If Witch Hazel is not yet on your list of small shrubby trees, you might want to consider this plant for its winter beauty. Witch Hazel branches are covered with spidery orange, yellow or red flowers that bloom in the heart of winter. The Contorted Filbert is another shrubby tree to consider for winter interest. With its wildly twisted, curved branches and small catkins, it’s worth finding a place for in your landscape.

So, as spring rapidly approaches, consider the long lasting effects of the plants you choose for your landscape. Your garden can bring satisfaction for the entire season, not just a few weeks of flowering time.

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