Home & Garden

Garden design and planning tips from Frankie Flowers

Garden design and planning tips from Frankie Flowers

Author: Canadian Living

Home & Garden

Garden design and planning tips from Frankie Flowers

What's your idea of the perfect garden? Is it a bed full of hydrangeas or a plot of land that produces a bounty of food for friends and family? While we all have unique visions for that perfect garden, without thoughtful planning and research we could be setting ourselves up for some costly disappointments.

Putting some thought into your garden plan early on will help guide your planting decisions and allow you to develop strategies to minimize workload, shop with ease and stay on budget.

Here's what I'll be striving for this season to achieve my perfect garden.

Above all, it will be weed free! I know that's impossible, but I can mulch more in order to cut down on my weed-warrior duties.

It will provide all-season interest with a selection of plants that exhibit beautiful, bright blooms during spring and summer, and display vibrant foliage in the fall. Trees and shrubs with interesting stems and structures will give it a wow factor in the winter.

The perfect garden has to be disease and bug free. I'll be selecting plants that are disease- and insect-resistant, and will remove any plants that constantly get sick.

Following the current garden-to-table trend, this year I'll be in search of plants that spice up my life and feed me! A formal vegetable garden or herb garden can take up a lot of space, so to get more bloom and bounty for my buck, I'll be creating
a potager garden -- a small plot for growing a combination of vegetables and flowers together.

My perfect garden has to be an entertaining one. I love having friends and family over for long weekends and Thanksgiving celebrations. We often forget about function when planning our garden spaces. Remember that a well-laid-out design will create a more functional space.

Page 1 of 2 -- Find Frankie's fab five shrubs on page 2

With the anticipation of spring, we are all suffering from gardening withdrawal. When garden centres reopen for the season, try to resist the urge to make impulsive purchases (it's love at first sight for spring's first offerings of colourful blooms) and follow your plans for this year's garden. A perfect garden is one that looks good with minimal effort and fits within your budget.

Happy gardening!

Frankie's fab 5 shrubs

1. Canadian serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis): Blooms with white blossoms in early spring, and leaves turn vibrant red and orange in fall. Full to part sun. Zone 3b.

2. Red Majestic corkscrew hazel
(Corylus avellana 'Red Majestic'): Twirling stems feature ruby-red foliage in summer. Full sun. Zone 4b.

3. Baby Blue Eyes spruce (Picea pungens 'Baby Blue Eyes'): Silver to blue foliage offers protection and shelter for birds and wildlife. Full sun. Zone 2a.

4. Golden Shadow Pagoda dogwood (Cornus alternifolia 'W. Stackman'): A shrub with clustered white flowers, blueberries and variegated foliage. Part sun to shade. Zone 3b.

5. Cranberry Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster apiculatus): A ground-cover shrub with dark green foliage all year, small pink flowers in spring and red berries in fall. Full to part sun. Zone 5a.

This story was originally titled "Perfect Planning" in the February 2012 issue.

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Garden design and planning tips from Frankie Flowers