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Plant Now for a Beautiful Garden with Year-round Interest


Garden expert Melinda Myers Shares Step-by-Step Tips for Enhancing the Landscape Now and for Years to Come

MILWAUKEE (PRWEB) July 25, 2018

Despite the heat of summer, now is a great time to dress up those garden beds in need of a facelift.

"Always start by contacting Diggers Hotline first," explained Melinda Myers, host of The Great Courses' How to Grow Anything DVD series. "Simply call 811 or file a request online at They contact all the appropriate companies that will mark the location of their underground utilities in the work area, helping eliminate the danger and inconvenience of accidentally knocking out power, cable or other utilities."

Myers shared these strategies for improving the landscape for immediate and long-term benefit.

Remember to look up before beginning the process. Avoid planting trees and large shrubs under overhead utilities. These small transplants may grow into the wires when they reach their mature size. This can cause a hazardous situation and result in severe pruning that leaves an unnatural looking plant.

Once the areas are marked and its clear what to avoid, start looking for opportunities to add color, texture and a bit of bird and butterfly appeal to the landscape. Identify areas in need of seasonal color, winter interest or screening to mask bad views.

Tuck fall blooming annuals among other plants to provide instant color and a beautiful end to the season. Hardy pansies provide nectar for late season pollinators and many will survive the winter and return next spring. Dianthus, stock, snapdragons and sweet alyssum also thrive in the cooler fall weather. Add these to containers or use them to fill voids in the garden.

Add perennial flowers for multiple years of beauty. Consider those with several seasons of beauty and nice foliage all season long. Look for features like long bloom time, attractive seedpods and fall color. Walker's Low catmint, threadleaf coreopsis, and Rozanne geranium are a few examples of long blooming, low maintenance plants. End the growing season with flowers like goldenrod, mums and asters or colorful foliage like perennial geraniums, hosta and amsonia. Include some ornamental grasses such as switchgrass and prairie drop seed that add motion and texture to the garden all year round.

Include trees and shrubs to provide year-round structure in the garden. Look for those with colorful or interesting bark like red twig dogwoods, paper bark maple and Heptacodium that provide year-round interest. Look for flowering plants like viburnums, St John's wort, summersweet and repeat blooming lilacs. Set the fall landscape ablaze with chokeberries, witchhazel and maples. And brighten up the winter landscape with holly and winterberry or the interesting form of Harry Lauder's walking stick, redbud and weeping trees.

Plant a few bulbs this fall for a beautiful start to next year's landscape. Early blooming bulbs provide nectar for pollinators and help extend the growing season. Mix bulbs in with perennials to reduce maintenance by masking the declining bulb foliage as the perennials emerge in spring. Select animal resistant daffodils, hyacinths, squills and grape hyacinths if deer, rabbits and squirrels have been a problem.

Once the plants are in the ground be sure to provide a bit of tender loving care. Water thoroughly whenever the top few inches of soil are crumbly and moist. Spread a layer of shredded leaves, evergreen needles or woodchips over the soil surface to conserve moisture, suppress weeds and keep the roots cool and moist. Keep mulch off the crowns of plants and trunks of trees.

All the effort put in this summer and fall will be rewarded with a beautiful landscape all year round.

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