what's the word I want?

LombillMarch 27, 2013

I'd like to plant perennials in such a way that as one dies out, another comes along. For example, in the same bed I might plant daffodils in the spring, maybe something in the summer, and chrysanthemums in the fall. I don't know the word for this! I've tried "successive," but that seems to apply to vegetables, or to making a series of plantings of the same flower a few weeks apart.

I don't know how to search for flowers that would go together in this way. I can find suggestions for ones that look nice together at the same time, but not one after the other. Can you help?


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It's not a single word but more of a phrase - 'sequential blooming season'. There are some books written that address this particular attribute (i.e., Gardening with Perennials Month by Month) but I'm not aware of any online data bases that cover this subject well.

FWIW, bloom times can vary substantially depending on location so take any information with a grain of salt (plants don't pay attention to the calendar!). If you can figure on overlapping bloom seasons, you will get the longest display of perennial color. Sometimes researching or hunting down varieties according to a specific bloom season is more helpful - look for early spring perennials, midspring-early summer, mid-late summer and late summer-autumn perennials.

You can also fill in with bulbs and annuals to extend your seasons of interest.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 4:54PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Yes, this can take a few years to figure out. I do this with a spreadsheet with the months at the top, the plants listed down the left. Put an X under the months they bloom, or just type the color, or make a colored X (aren't spreadsheets fun?!) Easy to see what month needs more blooms.

Not sure where you are in zone 5 but I would be happy to send you my spreadsheet from when I lived in OH, I was in Z5.

Walking/driving around your neighborhood, you can chart the progression of blooms in your specific area.

When there's a choice, I usually go for a variegated version of a plant. Consider the foliage as well as the flowers. If you're not pleased with the foliage when the plant is not in bloom, it may not be the best choice. That's what it will look like most of the time, for most perennials.

You could also do some research by using your city or state to search for pics, like "June Cleveland garden." Or "Michigan garden in April."

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 12:06PM
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There are many online "flower bloom time calendars" which include bulbs, annuals, perennials, shrubs, etc. listed by month they are in bloom. Do a search. English country gardens and cottage gardens are a good topic for this info. Each year will be different, depending on weather, pests, etc., but you can have blooms all year long in your zone.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2013 at 8:06PM
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