As it relates to color in the garden, one of my goals is to create year-round interest. Looking through my pictures, the year starts with whites and yellows; the middle months have a full range of of bright colors; and the year ends with the deep colors of berries. Here is a brief overview of these colors with one picture for each month of the year.
This post was inspired by the "Garden Bloggers' Design Workshop - Colors in the Garden" at one of my favorite gardening blogs, Gardening Gone Wild: http://www.gardeninggonewild.com/?p=698
January in northern New Jersey (zone 6b) is a hard month to find any color in the garden. Fortunately, whenever the weather warms up into the forties, the forsythia start to show off some of their blooms. Of course, when it gets cold again, they hide themselves away until it warms up in earnest. This is the time when I start to cut the branches off and bring them indoors to force--my favorite thing to do with forsythia.
February is the month for snowdrops. I have snowdrops in the Cutting Garden and, last fall, planted more in the Walled Garden. These small flowers are so cute and the first real sign that spring is coming. Given their size, you really can't plant too many of them--think hundreds. Since I like to plant a lot, I buy my snowdrops wholesale from Van Engelen. Once they come up, I cut small bunches for vases. Pests do not eat these bulbs.
The March bulb show begins with winter aconite. It is another small bulb that I planted under Prunus 'Forest Pansy' in my front border. It took me a couple of years for me to get these established. I was most successful with bulbs from Old House Gardens. I think the difference was that these bulbs dry out very easily and Old House Gardens coats the bulbs in a horticultural wax to prevent this. If you know someone with an established clump, it's best to beg a few in the green and replant them immediately in your garden. Pests do not eat these bulbs.
April, of course, is the month for daffodils. I plant hundreds of daffodils all over the garden. I plant all sizes and colors, but am particularly fond of the white daffodils. The earliest actually start to bloom at the end of March and they last through April into May. Pictured here is an old heirloom Thalia.
May is one of my favorite months in the garden as tulips explode everywhere. Last year, my combination was inspired by the Granny's Garden collection from Old House Gardens. I planted a mix of the following tulips, most of which are older varieties: Cum Laude, Glowing Pink, Kingsblood, Maureen, Queen of the Night, Dillenborg, Mrs. John Scheepers, Colour Cardinal, Princess Irene, and Ballerina.
One of my daughters is in love with hibiscus and has been reminding me I haven't put a picture of her hibiscus on my blog yet. In August, the huge tropical looking flowers garner lots of attention. The flowers are great floated in a vase and keep coming over a long period of time. Also, the seed pods of the hibiscus are quite beautiful afterward.
The butterfly weed pictured here was a welcome volunteer from a clump of Mexican milkweed I planted in 2006. I did not expect it to reseed for me given that its grown mainly in zone 8 and warmer. But the seedling did come and were enjoyed by many monarch catepillars. The plants came into bloom very late in the season. They, however, made it through many light frosts and only died well into November when we had a hard frost.