When it’s -4 degrees outside it’s hard to imagine thinking about summer flowers. However, the best way to overcome the winter blues IS to think about flowers and digging in the garden. Making a list of what I wish to plant this spring is a proven cure for the winter blues. Visualizing the results this summer of spring planting adventures makes the winter seem not as long, cold, and dark.
Grab your pen and pad and start working on your spring planting wish list for the new planting season. In the meantime, I hope that my wish list will inspire some of your garden decisions during this upcoming jubilant season of restoration and growth.
Spring Planting Wish List
San Francisco Begonia
Begonias are a special treat for the shade garden. They have some of the showiest blooms for shaded garden spots. Thriving in containers they can be tucked into small garden corners and nooks where you need to brighten up the spot.
San Francisco Begonia grows from a large 28+/cm tuber. Vigorous plants which produce an abundance of flowers will come from these jumbo-sized flower bulbs. The pendulous flowers are a delightful salmon color.
Growing bushy and upright, San Francisco Begonia can be planted in large containers but also works well planted directly in the ground in shaded garden spots.
Clowning Around Caladium
It’s no joke that planting caladium is another brilliant way to brighten up the shade garden. Caladium leaves can vary from white, pink, red, or green, and any combination of the colors mentioned above. The leaves are the star of the show on caladiums and Clowning Around Caladium doesn’t hold back on color.
Clowning Around Caladium is a merrymaker in the summer garden. The heart-shaped leaves have green edges that are accented by varying shades of light and dark pink in the center and accented by green speckles throughout.
Caladiums require an immense amount of heat to grow. Gardeners in cold to moderate climates will benefit from starting the bulbs indoors prior to planting outside in late spring to early summer.
Black Star Calla Lily
Deep, dark almost black flowers create a mysterious look in the garden. Black Star Calla Lily is one of my favorite flowers with near-black blooms. Calla lily flowers have a unique texture that some say makes them appear fake. The unique texture and shape combined with the sultry deep purple blooms of Black Star Calla Lily make it a truly interesting garden addition.
Calla lilies grow well in pots and can be used for the vertical accent in container gardens. Black Star Calla Lily planted in a container garden of contrasting colors like light pink and white blooms is a dynamic combination!
Very Van Gogh Veronica
Some say this is a masterpiece of the summer garden. Veronica is a hardy perennial that blooms with radiant spikes of vibrant blooms. Very Van Gogh Veronica has glowing orchid purple blooms.
Thriving in full sun this neat and tidy perennial looks best when planted in groups of 3 to 5. Veronica attracts bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds which always earns it bonus points on the garden wish list.
Los Angeles Canna Lily
Warm and pleasant feelings arise from the Los Angeles Canna Lily. Canna lilies evoke feelings of the tropics. Canna Lilies are tropical flower bulbs that gardeners love for their bold leaves and brightly colored blooms.
Los Angeles Canna blooms with pure pink petals. It’s a semi-dwarf variety growing 24-36″ tall. The medium-sized height makes Los Angeles Canna an excellent choice for container gardens and in the middle of a mixed garden border.
Canna lilies must be planted in a location that receives 6-8+ hours of sun a day. Since they are native to tropical climates, they grow best when the temperatures are above 75 degrees on a regular basis in late spring into summer.
There is a delight in dainty and cheerful border dahlias like the Hartenaas Dahlia. This pink single petaled dahlia can easily be overlooked, but it shouldn’t be. One of the best things about Hartenaas Dahlias is the 12-16″ mature height they will reach. This makes them perfect for the front of the border, foundation plantings, as well as in containers.
Single petaled dahlias like Hartenaas will attract butterflies to the mid-summer garden. In addition to attracting butterflies, and having a compact habit they make this darling dahlia a must-have in any sunny garden!
Stargazer Oriental Lilies
These tried and true lilies are a classic favorite. Blooming in mid-summer with rich pink blooms that are fragrant. Oriental Lilies, like the popular Stargazer Lily, are quite easy to grow. They grow best in full to part sun. Soil that drains well is the most important factor for these hardy and showy lily bulbs.
Diamond Head Elephant Ear
Wow! What a stunner. This dapper elephant ear really stands out among the crowd. Elephant Ears always seem to turn heads in the garden, and Diamond Head Elephant Ear is no exception.
The giant textured deep purple leaves of Diamond Head Elephant Ear make a bold and tropical statement. Plant Diamond Head Elephant Ear in a large pot for a luscious tropical accent. Gardeners in hardiness zones 8 and above can plant Diamond Head Elephant Ear in their garden as a large accent piece, or mixed into a tropical border.
Elephant Ears are native to tropical climates and grow best in warm conditions. Gardeners in cold climates will have success growing Elephant Ears; they may just need to wait until summer for temperatures to warm up before they see growth.
Since elephant ears have such large leaves it is best to position them in a garden location where they will be protected from the wind and blazing hot sun.
Flirty Large Flowering Gladiolus
It’s hard to resist the enticing purple blooms of the Flirty Large Flowering Gladiolus. Blooming in mid-summer, gladiolus are a top favorite for bouquets and vases. The rich color of the blooms on the Flirty Gladiolus makes them a great pair for other mid-summer blooms like dahlias, lilies, and of course more gladiolus!
Gladiolus grow best in full sun in soil that drains well. They can be planted in rows if you are growing them for cut flowers, or mixed into the border. For more gladiolus growing tips check out our Complete Guide to Growing Gladiolus.
Coral Sunset Peony
I reminisce over the scent of fragrant peonies. The blooms that appear in late spring always bring a feeling of nostalgia. A truly spectacular peony that would bring joy to any sunny garden is the Coral Sunset Peony. The color-changing blooms start out a deep coral pink color and as they age fade to a creamy yellow color.
Peonies typically start blooming in late spring, although some bloom earlier than others. Coral Sunset Peony is one of the earliest peonies to bloom in the season and has a compact habit maturing at 24-30″ tall with a similar spread.
El Nino Hosta
There is a warm front in my heart for this crisp and clean hosta. El Nino Hosta has blue-green leaves with crisp white edges that help to create a neat and tidy look. Plant this medium-sized hosta in the shade border or hosta garden.
Hostas are quite easy to grow perennials. With over 500 varieties it’s easy to create an entire garden of these foliage favorites. Plant most hosta in full to part shade in soil that is moist but drains well. They are low maintenance, more growing tips can be found in our Guide to Growing Hosta.
Goldie’s Giant Wood Fern
I love hiking in the forest and seeing a patch of ferns, they bring me peace and tranquility. So of course they need to be part of my garden and even my house plants.
The Goldie’s Giant Wood Fern is a hardy fern with an upright growing habit. Like most ferns, it thrives in shade and soil that is moist. For best results, it should be protected from strong winds. Plant Goldie’s Giant Wood Fern in a sheltered area where it will have time to slowly expand over time. Goldie’s Giant is not an aggressive garden spreader but it will spread slowly by underground rhizomes.
These colorful summer-blooming flowers are a fan favorite! The vibrant colors and large showy blooms make a statement in the mid-to-late summer garden. Mixed Gladiolus are most commonly grown to be used as cut flowers for personal and professional use. Mixing gladiolus into an assorted bouquet with dahlias, zinnia’s, and sunflowers is a popular combination for late summer. Having fresh flowers around the house adds a fresh feeling to any room they are in!
Apricot Roseform Begonia
Large and showy blooms are the main feature of this glowing begonia. Apricot Roseform Begonias have apricot-colored blooms with hints of orange and yellow. They have a mounded to upright habit and are one of the best plants for shaded garden areas. The double petaled blooms have a rose-like appearance.
To get a jump start on the growing season it is best to start begonias indoors in late winter to early spring. They may be slower to sprout, but once they sprout they grow pretty fast.
Pollinator Pleaser Perennial Garden
Butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees are what I like to see in my garden. Adding perennials that attract pollinators helps the earth and brings even more nature to the garden. The Pollinator Pleaser Garden has 4 popular summer-blooming perennials that are cold-hardy and will return to the garden for years.
This special garden kit contains Butterfly Weed, which is one of the best perennials for attracting pollinators. Hardy geranium will bloom in an assortment of colors and their cup-shaped blooms attract pollinators in early through mid-summer. Liatris is a tall perennial with clusters of purple flowers that are magnets for butterflies in mid-summer. Finally, in mid-summer, the drought-tolerant Cupid Culver’s Root grows tall with spiky purple blooms. This collection is high on the wish list for the varying bloom times combined with the pollinators it will attract.
Breeders Mix Hardy Geranium
Color and long bloom times are the best features of this hardy perennial mix. Hardy geranium, also called cranesbill geranium are low-growing hardy perennials. They will return to the garden for years.
This special Breeder’s Mix of hardy geraniums blooms in varying shades of pink and purple. Long bloom times and low growing habit, make this an excellent choice for any sunny perennial garden.
Impressive Miniature Gladiolus
Wow! These flowers ARE impressive! Miniature gladiolus are a delight in the mid-summer garden. Unlike traditional gladiolus that grows tall and often need staking, miniature gladiolus only grow 18-24″ tall.
Impressive Miniature Gladiolus have white flowers with pink accent spots on the petals. They can be tucked into any compact garden location. Perfect for small space gardens, they also grow well in garden containers.
Double Tiger Lily Flore Pleno
Roar! This fierce lily blooms with powerful flowers in mid-to-late summer. Growing tall up to 6′ tall this beauty will be the star of the back of the perennial border. The double petaled flowers are tiger orange with black spots all over.
Lilies are easy to grow and provide a burst of color in mid-to-late summer. Add an exotic touch this summer with the hardy perennial lily Double Flore Pleno.
Honorine Jobert Anemone
Perennial anemones are hidden gems that thrive in part shade. Honorine Jobert Anemone blooms in late summer, starting in August into September. The bloom time is appealing, as this is a time of year when a lot of other flowers have stopped blooming for the year.
The large white blooms have yellow centers and can be used for cut flowers. They also attract butterflies, and hummingbirds and are deer resistant! There are so many good features about the Honorine Jobert Anemone, it’s hard to pass these up in the late summer garden.
Magic Molly Fingerling Potatoes
While these aren’t perennial or flower bulbs they are on my wish list! Potatoes grow from tubers which are a type of bulb, therefore, they can be included here. Magic Molly Fingerling Potatoes produce small potatoes that have purple skin and purple flesh. The unique coloring of this potato adds to the health factor of this potato, as they are high in anti-oxidants. It’s not just the health benefits of this potato, they are delicious when roasted.
Growing potatoes doesn’t require a large garden. Potatoes grow quite well in containers, which is another bonus to these unique potatoes, most gardeners will be able to grow them. Mixing vegetables in with flowers is always a great way to make the most out of the garden.
Dreaming of Spring Planting
Dreaming and planning for spring planting and summer blooms is a great way to beat the winter blues. While I may not be able to plant everything on my wish list this year, I hope to be able to add most of these to my garden in time. Creating your spring planting wish list is fun, and even if it isn’t all planted, it can help to create direction and goals for your summer garden!