What is a forever garden? Simply put, it’s a long-lived garden filled with beautiful perennials and hardscaping features such as fences, walkways, and fountains. The benefits of planting a forever garden include a reduction in the cost and labor associated with growing annual flowers. Plus, forever flower gardens can be used to improve curb appeal, to beautify a backyard retreat or wherever homeowners want to add color and texture to the landscape.
Planning a Forever Growing Garden
Naturally, the first step in creating a forever-growing garden is developing a garden design. As you look around your available space, consider the placement of paths, seating and other hardscaping elements. Once these features are in the design, it’s time to designate space for the forever-growing garden beds.
When creating flowerbeds for forever-garden plants, consider which types of flowers and foliage plants you wish to include. Do you want a three season forever growing garden where flowers are always blooming? Would you like evergreens and ornamental grasses to give the winter garden texture and structure?
To ensure your vision on paper will convert accurately to the yard, use a can of spray paint to mark out the plans on the ground. Layout where the hardscaping elements will go and outline the flowerbeds. If all looks well, begin the actual work by first installing the hardscaping elements. If you are not skilled in this area, contract the work to a professional.
Once the hardscaping is in place, it’s time to prepare the beds for the forever flower gardens. Remove the sod and clear out old plants where the flowerbeds will go. Now is the time to work in plenty of organic compost, perform soil tests and adjust the pH. Make a mental note of the lighting conditions in each area of the forever flower gardens before heading to the nursery to select plants.
Choosing Forever-Garden Plants
The selection of forever garden plants begins with the larger specimens. When choosing shrubs and small trees, consider varieties which flower early or have interesting foliage. These plants can add height and winter interest to the garden, but can grow quite large in time. To prevent shade from eventually overtaking the garden, try these smaller species:
Once these larger specimens are in place, begin choosing your favorite perennial flowers and foliage plants. Choosing easy-to-propagate plants can reduce costs, especially if you’re willing to wait a year or two to fill in empty spaces. Consider these long-blooming flowers when purchasing forever garden plants:
Species such as hosta and sedum have shorter bloom times, but also make wonderful additions to forever-flower gardens due to the diversity of their foliage. Both tall and short varieties of ornamental grasses can also be included for four-season eye appeal. Finally, note where the addition of spring daffodils, tulips, crocus and hyacinth bulbs would add early color to the garden.