A Sentimental Garden Tour

Plant flowers to give as gifts and that commemorate special people in your life. Find inspiration in this Atlanta garden full of colorful flowers made for gift-giving.

Photo By: Photo by Carmen Collins

Photo By: Photo by Carmen Collins

Photo By: Photo by Carmen Collins

Photo By: Photo by Carmen Collins

Photo By: Photo by Carmen Collins

Photo By: Photo by Carmen Collins

Photo By: Photo by Carmen Collins

Photo By: Photo by Carmen Collins

Photo By: Photo by Carmen Collins

Photo By: Photo by Carmen Collins

Photo By: Photo by Carmen Collins

Photo By: Photo by Carmen Collins

Photo By: Photo by Carmen Collins

Photo By: Photo by Carmen Collins

Photo By: Photo by Carmen Collins

Photo By: Photo by Carmen Collins

Photo By: Photo by Carmen Collins

Photo By: Photo by Carmen Collins

Photo By: Photo by Carmen Collins

Photo By: Photo by Carmen Collins

Photo By: Photo by Carmen Collins

Photo By: Photo by Carmen Collins

Photo By: Photo by Carmen Collins

Photo By: Photo by Carmen Collins

Photo By: Photo by Carmen Collins

Photo By: Photo by Carmen Collins

Photo By: Photo by Carmen Collins

Photo By: Photo by Carmen Collins

Photo By: Photo by Carmen Collins

Photo By: Photo by Carmen Collins

Photo By: Photo by Carmen Collins

Photo By: Photo by Carmen Collins

Photo By: Photo by Carmen Collins

Photo By: Photo by Carmen Collins

Photo By: Photo by Carmen Collins

Azalea Banks

Gardener Carmen Collins has created a front-yard garden at her Atlanta home that focuses on giving. Collins has planted flowers to create cut-flower arrangements for friends as well as special flowers of personal significance to her family that bloom on birthdays. You can follow Collins' garden adventures at Twitter (@CraftSoc) and on Instagram (@CraftingSociety).

Native Azaleas

Collins features azalea bushes in her home garden for their vibrant spring blossoms.

Spring Blooms

Dozens of tulip varieties, all brightly colored welcome spring to this home garden in a big way.

Orange Tulips

Complementary colors of orange and bright pink really pop in this garden. "When I look for flowers to plant I look for perennials that can work as cut flowers to arrange, give as gifts and bring the garden indoors," says Atlanta gardener Carmen Collins.

Peony Buds

"To me that's the first sign of summer" says Collins of the first buds of peonies in the garden.

Variegated Tulips

Create a more vibrant bouquet by planting multiple, complementary flower colors in your garden. "Planting for bouquets is really my ultimate goal," says Collins. Find out more about planting a cutting garden here.

Pops of Pink

If you're planting tulips and worried about squirrels, try the following tip. Squirrels tend to dig where they can tell there is freshly tilled soil, so when you plant tulips add cayenne pepper to the freshly tilled soil to keep them away. "They will quickly realize it is not a good idea to dig" says Collins.

Asher's Green Ash Tree

Collins' younger son Asher's favorite color is green so his mother planted a green ash for him in the garden. Within the boxwood ring surrounding the ash Collins has planted hellebores, which bloom in time for Asher's birthday in February.

Carmen's Tree

Collins' tree is a star magnolia. Collins likes this early spring bloomer because, "I like things that let me know winter's over." The flowers planted at the base of the tree are inside are tuberoses which bloom during her birthday month in July. The flowers were also a favorite treat to bring home from the flower market when she lived in San Francisco.

Color Punch Azalea

Azaleas were already planted in the yard when Collins bought her Atlanta home. She loves the intense color: "it's literally a bomb of hot pink goes off in the yard," she laughs.

Ethan's Tree

Collins' son Ethan has a sugar maple planted in his honor because he has a sweet tooth. Inside the boxwood ring surrounding the tree are blue hydrangeas that bloom in June, his birth month.

Layered Look

Collins plants tulips in the foreground of her garden and peonies behind to create a layered effect.  "You layer so that the less deeply planted tulip bulbs don't interfere with temperamental peony tubers," she says.

Spheres of Influence

This overview of the garden shows the three trees planted for each member of the family—Collins and her two sons—as well as loropetalum and azaleas in the foreground for color.

Lilac Love

Collins planted lilac that never bloomed and were soon forgotten about. When the flowers suddenly bloomed four years later it was a sweet surprise. Because the flowers are a co-worker's favorite, Collins always brings a bouquet of cut flowers into the office on her birthday.

Clean Green

The chartreuse of creeping Jenny is a nice contrast to the intense floral color in this garden.

Yard Art

This folksy dog with a shotgun is the ironic protector of the garden. Collins likes to pick up garden art made by local artists at area arts festivals to add character to her garden and to support local artists. Even better, this rusted steel watch dog works with the elements: its rusted patina will always look good.

Bouquets to Come

Peonies behind tulips will provide great lush, romantic, classically Southern centerpieces for cut flower bouquets when they bloom in May.

Pace Yourself

Tulips provide immediate spring color while dahlias provide the next pop of color in summer. Think about staggering blooms to provide constant color in the garden.

Sweet Relief From Winter

Late winter white narcissus provide immediate relief from winter's chill and feature a heavenly scent.

Repurpose With a Purpose

A friend suggested Collins reuse terra cotta tiles from the original front porch flooring of her home (which was replaced with brick) as a walkway on top of pea gravel. Don't get rid of anything: instead repurpose in the garden!

Spring Fling

Ajuga—which blooms in early spring—can be seen peeking out from behind the gun-toting dog sculpture and is in keeping with the intense color scheme of primary colors in this Atlanta garden.

Make Space

Make sure and leave plenty of space between garden beds to allow you to tend and also for visitors to contemplate your garden, as seen in these winding pea gravel paths.

All-Season Color

This colorful, sentimental garden's intense color scheme can be seen in these banks of azalea, multicolored tulips and a 'Kaleidoscope' abelia which turns from chartreuse in spring to red in winter for year-long, varied color.

Boxwood Ring How-To

To create this boxwood circle, Collins used two gallon size Japanese boxwood plants planted a foot apart that over time grew into this ring. Prune boxwood at the top to encourage plant growth sideways to nudge your circle along.

Front and Center

Don't think your front yard has to be all about the lawn: a well-tended and beautiful front yard garden offers visual stimulation for Collins, who likes to relax and entertain on her front porch.

Grass Be Gone

Collins replaced monkey grass with beds of tulips and creeping Jenny and worked with the existing footprint of old growth azaleas to provide a structure for new plantings and beds.

Crowd Control

Make sure and leave room for tree root growth by establishing distance between new trees and beds.

Compare and Contrast

Creeping Jenny works as a gorgeous base for the pops of color provided by these purple pansies and hot pink tulips.

Design for Your Needs

Collins moved into this home when her children were small. She didn't want them playing on the front lawn and possibly running into busy Atlanta traffic. The play area is instead in the back yard to offer a protected play space.

Tree Tips

In order to work in her front yard, these trees will also need to be aggressively pruned to keep them from overshadowing each other and to keep them from creating too much shade in the garden. In city gardens also think about planting trees where they won't interfere with power lines.

Porch Time

This 1914 bungalow features a generous front porch perfect for admiring the garden.

Divide and Conquer

This Abelia mosanensis (lower left) is a North Georgia native shrub and will eventually be turned into a divider between the driveway and the garden.

Building Meaning Into the Garden

A view of all three family trees illustrates how meaning can be built into your garden with symbolic plantings to commemorate family members, a significant event like a wedding or birth or significant achievement for a loved one.

Growth Spurt

The camellia growing on the lower left of the garden will eventually provide a much needed buffer between the garden and the busy street and pedestrian traffic.

Planning Ahead

This corner bed greets visitors to the home and will eventually be the perfect spot for the house number, highlighted with well-placed underlighting meant to also spotlight this focal point tree.