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How to have a garden with spring and Summer interest?

CraighBCraighB Posts: 758
Since getting into gardening I have often wondered how you have spring and Summer flowering plants in the same border? Surely when the spring flowering plants have stopped flowering, they are then taking up space which could have summer flowering plants? Surely there would be gaps where the spring ones are going over? it got me thinking about it more when some lovely little old lady at a garden I was visiting, said that every garden should have primroses as they signify the start of spring and she practically forced me to buy some! image But the thing is I don't have much space in the garden as it is full of summer flowering plants. Any advice appreciated image


  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,123

    It's pretty easy Craigh, you just pack your borders. As the spring flowering bulbs and perennials go over the summer flowering things take over, especially with perennials. What you'll find is the summer perennials will smother the spring ones as they die back or go over. The same applies to later in the year. As the summer perennials go past their best the Autumn flowering plants come into their best. If you go to the RHS website and use the filters in the perennial section you can choose accordingly. Having the courage to do it is often the issue, but with a bit of foresight it's easy to achieve.

  • I have snowdrops growing between geraniums. The geraniums are dormant in winter then take over in spring. I also have primulas and cowslips growing between perennials which are dormant in winter.

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 23,790

    I do the same with snowdrops and hostas. I also use annuals in summer, like salvia farinacea, to provide long lasting colour in gaps where I had tulips and forget-me-nots in spring. I plant bellis daisies and violas in front of borders in late autumn to flower from early spring. I plant dahlias and daffodils side by side.

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • CraighBCraighB Posts: 758
    Thanks guys that all makes sense now. I'm going to plant the primroses I bought however I don't particularly like them much, but the woman went a bit crazy when I showed a bit of interest in her plants image She started picking out lots of things for me saying you will need one of these and you will need one of those and I could see the cost getting higher and higher lol she even dug up some of the plants from her garden and gave them to me for free image

    The garden is well worth a visit! It's in Warwick and it's called The Mill Garden. The garden has the river Avon running by it at the end and to the side is the huge Warwick Castle and I thought the couple just worked there but it turns out it is their back garden!! Some people are so lucky to live somewhere like that image
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,762

    You can plant verticals like alliums and lilies in the same area as your spring planting. They'll take up little room but give some summer colour in the parts where spring flowers have faded. Useful if you don't have a huge space to work with.  I use cornflowers and the little scented gladioli - (Acidanthera) as well, and there are plenty of other similar plants. image

    Dahlias will prolong the colour into autumn. 

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
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