Ideas for Creating Spring Beds and Borders

Decorate your garden with these beautiful blooms for colorful spring flowers and foliage.

No season is more eagerly anticipated than spring. After the dark, cold days of winter, the garden bursts into life with verdant growth and colorful flowers, marking the start of a new gardening year. In late spring, many gardens look their freshest, resplendent with the soft, glowing greens of young foliage.

Colorful Climbers

Wisteria Cascades in Fragrant Purple Blooms

Wisteria Cascades in Fragrant Purple Blooms

Wisteria is grown for its waterfall effect of scented purple or white flowers. It is a large plant and needs restrictive pruning to keep it manageable.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Walls and fences can be clothed with a range of different climbers that will flower in spring. Wisteria, grown for its waterfalls of scented purple or white flowers, is perhaps the best known. It is, however, a large plant and needs restrictive pruning to keep it manageable. Alternatives include Clematis montana in white or pink, and Akebia quinata with purple blooms, although these climbers are also potentially large. More suited to a small garden are Clematis alpinaC. macropetala, and the early honeysuckle Lonicera periclymenum ‘Belgica’ with its deliciously scented flowers.

Vibrant Bulbs and Early Perennials

In beds and borders, herbaceous plants push through the soil, growing quickly in the damp, mild conditions. Many will flower early, especially those that enjoy woodland conditions, such as PulmonariaPrimulaDicentraDoronicumEpimedium, andAnemone. Some of these perennials can be grown successfully with spring bulbs, such as tulips and daffodils, injecting extra interest into plantings and helping to mask yellowing bulb foliage as the season progresses.

Carpets of Spring Flowers 

In less formal areas of the garden, where a more naturalistic display is desired, it is possible to plant and even naturalize some bulbs in grass. Snowdrops (Galanthus) and crocuses that flower in early spring can be interplanted with fritillaries, tulips, daffodils (Narcissus), and Camassia to create a display that will last until early summer. Areas under mature trees are ideal for this kind of treatment, but avoid mowing the grass until the bulb foliage has died away. 

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