Planting for Year-Round Interest

Late summer into autumn is a perfect time to plant shrubs with year-round interest. Evergreen shrubs of varying shapes anchor planting beds while providing structure and greenery to brighten the gray days of winter.

Here’s a planting plan that does just that. Two pyramidal holly bushes, or similar shaped evergreens, and three mounding hollies provide year-round structure. Spring brings purple blooms of iris and the first lavender blossoms of scabiosa along the front of the border, while climbing hydrangea leafs out along the center of the brick wall to show off its large white blooms.  A few bulbs could be tucked in here and there for really early spring color.

As summer approaches, pale yellow rose shrubs grab attention along with pale pink and magenta day lilies. Purple globe allium stand tall on either side of the center holly bush and annual gerbera in pale yellow and magenta line the front of the bed. Lavender blue scabiosa continue to bloom along either end of the front border in sharp contrast to the lime green foliage and magenta blossoms of low-growing spiraea shrubs, also at either end.

Mid-summer brings tall, showy phlox and lily flowers, as well as purple coneflowers peaking from behind the center holly. At the foot of the center holly, and behind the gerbera, rests a low-growing variety of catmint. The roses, spiraea, scabiosa, and gerbera continue to bloom until frost.






Once cold weather hits, the annuals and herbaceous perennials die back, leaving the bones of the spiraea shrubs and the climbing hydrangea vine to keep company with the shapely evergreen holly, hopefully spotted with bright red berries.


This particular design is for a bed that’s about 30 feet long and 10 feet wide, but the plan can be adjusted to other sizes. The perennials around the center mounded shrub could easily be replaced with prostrate golden-foliage evergreens. A couple of yellow-fruited winterberry shrubs would add additional height to either side of the center shrub.

Gardeners on a tight budget could add two shrubs one year and two or three more in subsequent years. Once your create your planting plan it can be implemented as time and funds allow.

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6 comments for “Planting for Year-Round Interest

  1. August 17, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    Very nice design!

  2. August 20, 2012 at 7:18 am

    Hey, I reconginze that software! I second Jean’s comment – it’s very nice design that is certainly interesting all year long.

    • August 21, 2012 at 7:42 am

      Debbie, Thanks … I figured you would recognize the software.

  3. August 27, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    What software is it?

    • August 27, 2012 at 9:44 pm

      Kathy, It’s AutoSketch. My civil engineer son says it is an okay CAD program for garden design and it’s the program suggested for the landscape design program I’m enrolled in and will complete by this December.

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