One of the most frequent requests my customers make during a landscape consultation is for more color…and by this they usually mean flowers. As a garden geek myself, I understand this desire and look for every opportunity to have something in bloom twelve months of the year. So in advance of writing this blog, I went through my photo library from 2016 looking for a photos of something that was flowering in every month.
It wasn’t difficult. In fact, for every month I could choose from at least three different blooming plants and usually more. If you live on Cape Cod it’s possible to have several plants in bloom throughout the year. Here’s just a small selection of what you can plant for flowers in all 12 months.
In January the male Skimmia is clearly the star of the show. This evergreen shrub not only is in flower all winter and into the spring, but it stays short and grows well in shade, making it perfect for many foundation plantings.
In February you can’t go wrong with an Arnold’s Promise witch hazel. The yellow flowers on mine are illuminated by the rising sun in the morning, and every day this promises me that spring isn’t far off.
My dog seemed suspicious that something so vivid blue would be blooming in March. These are Iris reticulata, aka dwarf or Dutch iris. The bulbs for these early-bloomers are planted in the fall.
In April the other spring flowering bulbs are plentiful. Every year I tuck in some more tulips and daffodils so that I have plenty of eye-candy in April.
It’s hard to choose which May flower to feature, but this is one that many aren’t aware of. Fothergilla ‘Blue Shadow’ is a variety of our native Fothergilla, and this shrub offers bluish leaves all summer and great fall color in addition to these flowers in May.
I decided we have to celebrate a rose in June, and this is one of my favorite climbers, Colette. Fragrant, repeat flowering and disease resistant…I think it leaves ‘New Dawn’ in the dust.
Daylilies rule the month of July, and this one is a variety called ‘Porcelain Ruffles.’ There is a daylily for every garden and they remain one of the Cape’s easiest, most reliable perennials.
Another low-maintenance perennial is the ‘Milkshake’ Echinacea. No staking, long flowering period and slightly fragrant flowers…how can you NOT have this plant in a sunny garden?
The Hydrangea paniculatas are in flower before, during and after September. This one is the true PeeGee in tree form. They are large growing shrubs as well, so are good as part of a flowering screening.
Nippon or Montauk daisies burst into bloom in October. These are best treated as small shrubs, so don’t cut them all the way down in fall or spring, and grow them in full sun.
Most years on Cape Cod you can have blue hydrangeas in November. In fact, the repeat-flowering varieties put out their fresh fall flowers in September and these blooms contrast nicely with the fall color of the foliage. To have your blue hydrangea flowers last into the fall, plant these shrubs where they either get morning sun and shade after 11 AM, or only receive sunshine from 4 PM on in the summertime. Hydrangeas that are planted in full sun will have brown, crispy flowers by August.
If you plant ‘Jacob’ Hellebores you’ll always have flowers in December. These are good to put in shady spots near a door that you frequently use in the winter. When I put seed and water out for the birds every winter day, these flowers greet me…as long as they aren’t covered by snow. Hellebore flowers last a long time as well, so expect a ‘Jacob’ plant to also be in bloom in January, February and even March!
So as the snow falls this winter, start thinking about which months you could use more in bloom in your yard and gardens. Once spring comes, you’ll be able to put in plants that will provide you with 12 months of flowers.