Raised Flower Beds

As we drive around town in the spring, I like to look at what other people have done with the landscaping of their property- particularly flower beds. We have a new house with basically no landscape design. And, with no money to hire a professional landscape designer, we are left to our own creative devices. Hence the driving around looking for real life examples. Raised flower beds have caught my attention.

Photo provided by ladyheart

Photo provided by ladyheart

Raised flower beds are creative alternatives to the traditional flower beds that lay flush with the ground. Raised flower bed design is extremely versatile and personal. You can raise a bed to waist height if you like or leave it a few inches off of the ground. It all depends on your own gardening needs. And, their design can be customized to compliment your landscaping style. They can be made of brick, stone, concrete, or wood. Here are a few features to raised gardening that make it a desirable option in your landscape design.

• You can create the right conditions for special plants that don’t thrive in your soil.

• A raised bed allows for better drainage and most plants do better in well-drained soil anyway.

• Raised beds make gardening easier for people with joint conditions because they don’t have to do as much bending and kneeling. They also work great for the wheelchair bound.

• They make beautiful, stylish additions to the hardscaping of a property as they add new depth and personalization.

• In small paved spaces, they are often the only means for gardening and displaying plants.

• They’re a great space saver. Without needing to till or cultivate between rows, you can plant rows of flowers closer together and have higher yields.

• The soil won’t wash away.

• You can hand cultivate since you’re dealing with nice top soil that isn’t compacted.

• If a raised bed is built with a wide enough coping, you can have extra seating in your garden.

Raised flower beds are a great alternative for use in landscaping. I love how they soften the contrast between the yard and paving or the wall and yard. It’s great to know your options when building flower beds and designing the landscape of your yard. What’s your favorite part about having a raised flower bed?

Color in the Perennial Garden

When planting your perennial flower garden, it is helpful to take into consideration the different colors of the plants. The color of the flowers will create a specific mood and ambiance in your garden. Here are some of the colors you may be considering for your garden and the perennial flowers and plants that will fit into that color category.

Yellow

The color yellow is perceived by the eye before the other colors. The members of this family attract and dominate the garden. You will want to plan groupings of yellow or gold as deliberate focal points. This will help to emphasize the features of your garden. You can also use yellow discreetly in order to make a surprise impact among a quieter planting. The color yellow is both warm and cheerful. It is reminiscent of the sun as it comes from behind a cloud. The following perennials have a yellow flower:

*Alyssum *Butterfly Weed *Columbine

*Coreopsis *Corydalis *Cushion Spurge

*Daylily *Evening Primrose *False Sunflower

*Gallardia *Geum *Golden Marguerite

*Iris *Lamiastrum *Leopard Bane

*Ligularia *Lupine *Marsh Marigold

*Mum *Poppy *Potentilla

*Rudbeckia *Sedum *Solidago

*Sunrose *Trollius *Yarrow

Blues

The color blue is stimulating, but it can be restful at times. In the distance, blue flowers will draw the eye after them and push the boundaries of the garden outward. At twilight, blue can seem to glow. The color blue will give your garden a cool feeling. The following perennials have a blue flower:

*Ajuga *Aster *Aubretia

*Balloon Flower *Blue Eyed Grass *Blue Flax

*Brunnera *Campanula *Catmint

*Columbine *Delphinium * Forget-Me-Not

*Geranium *Globe Thistle *Iris

*Jacobs Ladder *Lavender *Lungwort

*Lupine *Monkshood *Mt. Bluets

*Russian Sage *Salvia *Spiderwort

*Veronica *Vinca *Viola

Pinks

The color pink is soft, gentle and luxurious. It evokes an atmosphere that is peaceful. Sunlight can bleach the delicate tints to a washed-out paleness unless deeper tones of pink are used to add strength. However, in the evening light, the pale pastel pinks will appear luminous. The pink flowers will form a gentle and restful background to or between a more definite area of color such as the strong complementary blues and yellows or violets and oranges which paint distinct pictures. The pinks also help where related colors such as vivid and warm reds, oranges and yellow focus the eye and demand attention. The following perennials have a pink flower:

*Arabis *Aster *Astilbe

*Aubretia *Baby’s Breath *Beebalm

*Bergenia *Bleeding Heart *Butterfly Weed

*Canterbury Bells *Centaurea *Columbine

*Coral Bells *Coreopsis *Cupid’s Dart

*Daylily *Delphinium *Dianthus

*English Daisy *Filipendula *Forget-Me-Not

*Foxglove *Geranium *Hollyhock

*Iris *Japanese Anemone *Jo-Pye Weed

*Jupiters Beard *Lamb’s Ear *Lamium

*Liatris *Linaria *Lungwort

*Lupine *Lythrum *Miss Willmott Potentilla

*Mum *Obedient Plant *Oenothera

*Painted Daisy *Pasque Flower *Penstemon

*Peony *Phlox *Pink Panda Strawberry

*Poppy *Primula *Prunella

*Purple Coneflower *Salvia *Seapinks

*Sedum *Soapwort *Spider Wort

*Sunrose *Thalictrum *Thyme

*Toad Flax *Turtlehead *Veronica

*Yarrow

White

The color white helps to create a cool and restful mood in the garden. White gives a feeling of space. The neighboring colors will seem to glow more and be deeper. White flowers can separate the hues that contrast without altering their appearance of color. White can also make the color associations more pleasing and acceptable to the eye. Bright white will lighten up a shady area.

White flowers are an excellent choice for an evening garden during the summer. As the darkness begins to creep in, the white and pale pastels will remain distinguishable until all of the light is done. A border that is mixed with clumps of white will be given direction and coherence when the white clumps are repeated at regular intervals. The following perennials have a white flower or white variegated edge:

*Arabis *Astilbe *Aubretia

*Baby’s Breath *Bishops Weed *Bleeding Heart

*Boltonia *Bugbane *Campanula

*Candytuft *Columbine *Delphinium

*Dianthus *English Daisy *Forget-Me-Not

*Gooseneck *Hosta *Lamium

*Liatris *Lily *Lily of the Valley

*Lungwort *Lupine *Obedient Plant

*Phlox *Poppy *Sandwort

*Sedum *Shasta Daisy *Snowdrop Anemone

*Snow-in Summer *Sweet Woodruff *Thrift

*Veronica *Vinca *White Coneflower

*Yarrow

As you can see there are many different choices available for a perennial garden that will keep coming back year after year. While I have listed many varieties, this list is not inclusive. What are some of your favorite perennials and how will you use them in your garden this year?

Growing a Butterfly Garden

We all want to spend more quality time with our kids. In the summer, a lot of that quality time is spent outdoors. Why not plant a Butterfly Garden with the kids? You’ll combine hard work with fun and learn tons in the process. It’ll be a back yard science experiment! Here are some tips for making that garden a beautiful haven for the colorful creatures (and your little creatures) to spend time in.

Color and Variety– Choose a variety of different plants and colors. The Butterflies will love blossoms that face upward best as well as clustered or spiked blooms.

Staggering– Choose plants that bloom different parts of the day and plants that bloom different parts of the year.

Groups– Plant several of the same type of flower in one spot as opposed to planting one type of flower by itself. The butterflies will find the plants easier.

Food plants– Offer plants that female butterflies will lay eggs on. Certain plants provide food for larvae. Some food plants include snapdragons, violets, milk weed, holly hocks, lilacs, and daisies.

Nectar Plants– Some great plants to use which butterflies will flock to are Asters, Black-Eyed Susans, Butterfly plants, Coreopsis, Daylilies, Hibiscus, Lavender, Lilac, Marigold, Redbud, Rosemary, Purple Coneflower, and Verbena.

Form “Puddle Clubs”– Male butterflies love puddles. You can make a permanent puddle by burying a bucket, filling it with gravel or sand, and then pouring some sweet liquid into it. Butterflies won’t drink from open water sources, though. They prefer wet sand or earth.

Sunbathing– Butterflies are cold blooded like all insects and get their warmth from the sun. Give them a place in your butterfly garden to sunbathe. Place large rocks in the sunny spots of your garden.

Butterflies are beautiful little creatures that kids just love. You can make some great memories and beautify your landscaping at the same time. Let us know what you think. Have you had success attracting butterflies to your garden?