Evil Scotsman
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3 or 4 Season Garden ZONE 7 Suggestions?

OK my wife and I will soon be in a house with a REAL yard! Grass, a tree, and bigger than the 10x10 cement pad we both grew up with! (we live in Philadelphia, enough said! LOL)

I want a couple trees and some bushes across the front for privacy. My wife wants "COLOR" in the yard for as long as humanly possible. I SERIOUSLY doubt there will ANY color from say November until AT LEAST March. But I have been known to be wrong before. Her thought is to plant flowers that as one dies for the season the next one is already or starting to bloom. IS this even possible?

We BOTH LOVE the Fall and trees that are orange/red/gold etc. (I am looking at Sugar Maple, the warden wants Japanese Maple.

ANY suggestions are encouraged, welcome and Greatly Appreciated!
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rainbowgardener
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You will not have flowers blooming all winter, but you can have color in your garden year round.

Winter color: Evergreen shrubs, evergreen perennials including bergenia/ pigsqueak which doesn't actually stay green, but keeps its leaves and turns interesting shades of pink and purple. Crab apple and winterberry, which are deciduous, but keep their brilliant red berries all winter. Wintergreen which is evergreen ground cover with red berries all winter. Holly. Beautyberry, deciduous shrub with almost glowing purple berries that last all winter. Red twig dogwood, which loses its leaves but has brilliant red stems that are gorgeous against snow. Ornamental grasses, not usually colorful (though there are some) but provide winter interest and motion in the garden. I also leave the dead stems/seedheads of some tall plants like joe pye weed and broom corn that also sway nicely in the wind. Hydrangea has ornamental seedheads that stay on all winter. And don't forget about your hardscape. Our patio is stained terra cotta, so that's a big hit of color all the time that it isn't deep in snow. And of course keep the bird feeders full and you will have gorgeous red cardinals and lots of other beautiful birds hopping around your yard in the snow!

For late winter/ very early spring: witchhazel has yellow flowers in January when nothing else does. Hellebores are very early blooming. Then the spring bulbs-- snowdrops, snow crocus, regular crocus, dwarf siberian iris, winter aconite all may bloom in Feb or early March. Pansies can be planted out as soon as the ground is unfrozen enough to dig in. For zone 7 there are newer more cold hardy camellias, which are evergreen and will bloom in fall or winter -- fabulous!!

Spring is of course wonderful, with lots of things blooming: flowering trees, flowering shrubs including forsythia, viburnum, lilac, spring bulbs including daffodils and tulips, iris for late spring.

All the meadow wildflowers bloom in the summer, plus daylilies for bulbs.

For fall there's fall crocus, mums and asters and goldenrod, jerusalem artichoke and perennial sunflowers, ornamental kale lasts well into winter. Your pansies probably died out in summer heat, but you can replant them for fall into winter. If you are really in zone 7, pansies may make it through the winter and into spring.

This is just scratching the surface! I left plenty of room for other people to chime in!

And yes I have flowerbeds that have something blooming in them all the time, from the snowdrops to the mums and asters, which is for me from early March into November. Perennial salvia (I have var. May Knight) is great for blooming from now all the way into fall. It is covered with flower spikes now. After this it will keep putting out flower spikes, but not so many at once, as long as it is deadheaded, until hard frost.

Oh and fill in with annuals-- petunias, impatiens, marigolds, etc just pump out blooms all season, unlike most perennials which which bloom for a few weeks and then are done until next year.
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Evil Scotsman
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Thank AGAIN!!!!
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rainbowgardener
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A little more.. think about some hanging baskets full of colorful annuals. The color really pops out at you more when it is at eye level. If you have a tree, hang a basket full of impatiens from a tree limb.

And look for things with colorful foliage. Flowers come and go but foliage lasts all the time. Heuchera/ coral bells and bugle weed/ carpet bugle/ ajuga are a couple of perennials that come in beautiful foliage color combinations.

If you want an effect of a lot of color, think about a color scheme and plant some masses of one or two colors instead of scattering lots of colors. It will have a lot more impact.
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rainbowgardener
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Here's what's in one of my 3 season flower beds:

early: winter aconite (yellow), purple and yellow snow crocus and regular crocus, purple dwarf iris, grape hyacinth

spring: yellow daffodils, purple and yellow tulips, yellow basket-of-gold, purple hyacinths

late spring: purple perennial salvia, purple iris, yellow marigolds

summer: salvia continues, marigolds continue, yellow yarrow, yellow-orange daylilies, yellow coreopsis/ tickseed, purple bellflower

fall: salvia and marigolds, yellow mums, purple asters, purple and yellow fall crocus

I guess you can figure out what my color scheme is :) :) Lots of pop!! Very high contrast. If you wanted something more serene and restful you could go for all blues and purples. My whole yard isn't that rigid a color scheme, just a couple of the flower beds.

All of that is in a roughly triangular bed about 6 x 4' But as you said, things come and go. By the time the summer stuff is getting big, alot of the spring stuff has disappeared.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

Evil Scotsman
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Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2010 12:06 pm
Location: NE Philadelphia

The hanging baskets are a definte! LOL My wife LOVES hanging baskets, impatients and I think the others are petunias?? She already has about a dozen shepard's hooks lined up! haha
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