January 29, 2009

Twelve Blooming Months

On a recent winter day, the fragrance from my winter daphne carried all the way around the house. There are a few other plants that bloom in winter in my region.

If I want twelve months of bloom in my zone 7 garden, what should I plant?

For the cold of winter, flowering shrubs, trees and early bulbs can bloom with a little planning. Here are just a few of the local examples:

January
Winter Daphne
Winter Jasmine
Camellia japonica
Prunus mume

February
Cyclamen
Hellebores
Iris danfordiae
early daffodils
Crocus
Snowdrops
Mahonia

March
Flowering cherry trees
some hazels
early daffodils
Iris reticulata
Saucer magnolia


In April and May, the spring bloom season kicks into color with azaleas, dogwoods and redbuds. Early flowering perennials and more bulbs add to the show. By June, the summer plants begin to bud up and start blooming.

April
Spanish Lavender
Dianthus
Dutch iris
Azaleas
Hyacinths

May
Japanese iris
Siberian iris
Hardy geranium
Ice plant

June
Echinacea
Monarda
Southern magnolia
Verbena bonariensis
Buddleia
Roses

In the heat of the summer, the July flowers put on a really big show in my garden. The list of summer flowers is very long, especially for annuals and perennials.

Many of the plants that begin blooming in July and August are still blooming, perhaps on a second round, in September. With September, the ornamental grasses (muhlenbergia, pampas and miscanthus) begin to plume with interesting colors or form.

The fragrant, tender perennials, ginger and colocasia, bloom in my garden beginning in September and into October.

July
Agastache
Gaillardia
Crocosmia
Crape Myrtle

August
Salvia
Spirea
Hardy ageratum
Rudbeckia

September
Ginger
Helianthus
Salvia greggii
Roses
Chrysanthemum
Spider lilies



I've found October to be a very colorful month, especially with the wildflowers in the area. Within my garden, the salvia greggii and helianthus are the best performers.

The Knock Out™ Roses and Encore™ Azaleas start up another show in October that lasts through a few frosts into November.

Camellia sasanqua blooms embellish the October and November gardens in the area. Also in the area, many gardens include the camellia japonica that begins blooming in December. In my garden, the winter daphne sets buds. Depending upon the temperatures, it can bloom as early as late December and continue until February.

October
Asters
Sedum
Ginger
Verbena bonariensis
Helianthus
Salvia greggii
Salvia guaranitica


November
Knock Out™ Roses
Camellia sasanqua
Asters
Osmanthus fragrans
Chimonanthus praecox (wintersweet)

December
Camellia japonica
Witch Hazel
Hellebores

When we don't have flowers in bloom, there are evergreens, berries and interesting tree forms. Right now, my Japanese Maple and the Crape Myrtles provide interesting shapes and bark for the winter season.

While there are many plants missing from my list (especially April through October), it does brighten the gardening outlook when I think of the blooming possibilities for all twelve months of the year. It will just take additional planning to increase the number of winter flowers so that my garden is never off-season. A rather pleasant task to ponder on a winter day!

Story and photos by Freda Cameron

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Defining Your Home, Garden & Travel

Home, garden and travel tips by Freda Cameron

Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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