April showers bring May flowers in the Shenandoah Valley so it is time to hit the yard, gardens, pots, or whatever is available to grow plants. Planning what to buy, move, transplant, or locate are major issues to address before the adventure begins.
While enjoying perennials, such as wisteria, peonies, irises, flowering shrubs, and blooming trees, it is time to start adding annuals. The biggest challenge will be where to put which plant.
One choice that blooms all summer is geraniums. This annual favorite comes in a wide variety of colors and styles that enhance any garden space whether in the ground or in baskets, hanging or not. A visit to Weber’s Nursery, 1912 Martinsburg Pike, Winchester will help make those decisions.
Another great choice is begonias that come in a variety of styles and blossom colors that will brighten up all spaces. They can also grace pots as well as flower beds and sometimes will survive a winter indoors.
Salvia in many colors, Dusty Miller, and marigolds add depth and contrast to flower beds or pots. Just stroll through the greenhouses at local nurseries and decide which ones you like best and the colors you want to highlight.
Two other great choices, daisies and Black-Eyed Susans, can be purchased at this time and are a great investment as they blossom for many years. They also will spread and can be divided to add to other parts of the garden. They can withstand the harsh winters of the Shenandoah Valley. I have had some for years and they are hardy survivors. These white and yellow flowers continue adding color to the garden space throughout the summer and require very little work. They make great bouquets to use inside or out.
A walk through any nursery such as Horton’s Nursery, 100 Ridgefield Ave., Stephens City will assault the senses as colors and fragrances abound. Keep in mind your goals as far as location, visuals, and durability for your use.
Also this is a great time to add to beds started in past years and need a little refurbishing or replacement. Lilies will be blasting out soon so think of them as possible new residents in the garden family. They take very little work and return year after year.
Irises are the same way but both plants need bulbs thinned out periodically to have room to thrive and prosper. Sharing them with friends and neighbors can lead to acquiring even more plants once the initial purchase is made. My giant irises were casts off from neighbors and fit perfectly along my drive way fence. They make great cuttings and brighten up any dull room.
Fort Valley Nursery, Garden Center and Cafe, 1175 Hisey Ave., Woodstock, can help find just the right plant for you while having a cup of coffee or lunch.
Peonies are also colorful, easy to grow, and return each year. The initial investment will come back at least tenfold or more. Check with nurseries for the different varieties to liven up the flower beds.
Whatever you do, remember it is trial and error so start small and add each year. Be sure to consider planting recommendations as far as shade and sun. All plants come with advice for the best results. There is so much pleasure in reaping the rewards of lovely, colorful flower beds in a well-planned garden.
For more plants ideas and farmers markets near you, check out Go Blue Ridge Travel’s new website.
To take in a few area gardens, visit the Back Alley Garden Tour And Tea, Historic Shepherdstown, W.V., gardens open rain or shine, Saturday, May 16, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, May 17, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tea Party both days, noon to 4 p.m. Check out other road trips on Go Blue Ridge Travel.