One way to have a succession of landscape color throughout the growing season is to pick bulbs, perennials and flowering shrubs that bloom at different points in the season.
As the flowers of one fades, another picks up the slack and keeps the symphony going even beyond fall frost.
The key to making it work is knowing what peaks when. Although each season’s weather can make a couple of weeks’ difference one way or the other, here’s a list of what typically peaks during which months in central Pennsylvania:
Plants that Bloom in March
• Bulbs: Crocuses, early daffodils, Iris reticulata, snowdrops, winter aconite.
• Perennials: Lenten rose (Helleborus).
• Trees/Shrubs: Cornelian cherry dogwood, forsythia, Oregon grape holly, spicebush, star magnolia, sweetbox, witch hazel.
Plants that Bloom in April
• Bulbs: Crocuses, daffodils, Dutch hyacinths, early tulips, glory-of-the-snow, grape hyacinths, Grecian windflowers (Anemone), fritillaria, Siberian squill, spring snowflakes (Leucojum), striped squill (Puschkinia).
• Perennials: Barrenwort, bergenia, bleeding heart, bloodroot, brunnera, columbine, creeping phlox, euphorbia, foamflowers, lamium, Lenten rose, myrtle (Vinca minor), primrose, pulmonaria, rock cress,Virginia bluebells.
• Trees/Shrubs: American dogwood, bridalwreath spirea, cherry, crabapple, flowering pear, flowering plum, fothergilla, Japanese andromeda (Pieris japonica), kerria, magnolia, PJM rhododendron, redbud, serviceberry, viburnum, winter hazel.
Plants that Bloom in May
• Bulbs: Alliums, camassia, crown imperials, fritillaria, Spanish bluebells, tulips.
• Perennials: Ajuga, amsonia, bachelor buttons, baptisia, barrenwort, brunnera, candytuft, catmint, chives, creeping veronica, dianthus, foamybells, forget-me-knot, fringe-leaf bleeding heart, geum, goats beard, hardy geranium, Jacob’s ladder, lamium, lily of the valley, meadow rue, iris, peony, salvia, snow-in-summer, sweet woodruff, Solomon’s seal, thrift, trillium.
• Trees/Shrubs: clematis, coralberry, deutzia, fringetree, Japanese snowbell, Kousa dogwood, hawthorn, Azalea, beautybush, Carolina silverbell, cherry laurel, chokeberry, honeysuckle, horse chestnut, lilac, ornamental kiwi vine, redtwig dogwood, rhododendron, tree peony, sweetshrub, viburnum, weigela.
Plants that Bloom in June
• Perennials: Astilbe, baptisia, bellflowers, catmint, coralbells, coreopsis, daylilies, delphinium, dianthus, gas plant, evening primrose, feather reed grass, filipendula, foxglove, foxtail lily, gaillardia, gaura, goats beard, hardy geranium, hosta, knautia, lady’s mantle, lamium, lavender, lupine, penstemon, poppies, red hot poker, rodgersia, rose mallow, scabiosa, shooting star, silene, spiderwort, tiger lilies, verbascum, veronica, yarrow, yellow corydalis, yucca.
• Trees/Shrubs: Abelia, elderberry, hydrangea, Japanese hydrangea vine, Japanese spirea, Japanese tree lilac, mock orange, nandina, ninebark, potentilla, pyracantha, roses, smoketree, St. Johnswort, sweetbay magnolia, Virginia sweetspire.
Plants that Bloom in July
• Perennials: Agastache, Asiatic and Oriental lilies, baby’s breath, balloon flowers, beebalm, black-eyed susans, blackberry lily, butterfly weed, cimicifuga, coreopsis, crocosmia, daylilies, fountain grass, gaillardia, garden phlox, gaura, goldenrod, heliopsis, hollyhock, hosta, Jupiter’s beard, liatris, obedient plant, persicaria, purple coneflower, veronica, red hot poker, Russian sage, sea holly, shasta daisy, silphium, soapwort, stokesia, veronica, veronicastrum.
• Trees/Shrubs: Abelia, butterfly bush, clematis, roses, crape myrtle, goldenrain tree, rose-of-sharon, summersweet (Clethra), stewartia.
Plants that Bloom in August
• Perennials: Agastache, aster, black-eyed susans, cardinal flower, garden phlox, goldenrod, hardy hibiscus, heliopsis, hosta, Japanese anemone, Joe Pye weed, leadwort, ligularia, liriope, miscanthus, monkshood, perennial sunflower, purple coneflower, reblooming daylilies, Russian sage, sedum, sneezeweed, switchgrass, turtlehead, veronica, yarrow.
• Trees/Shrubs: Beautyberry, blue mist shrub (Caryopteris), butterfly bush, crape myrtle, rose-of-sharon, seven son flower (Heptacodium), tree hydrangea, vitex.
Plants that Bloom in September
• Bulbs: Dahlia, fall crocus (Colchicum), lycoris.
• Perennials: Agastache, aster, boltonia, catmint, gaillardia, gaura, goldenrod, Japanese anemone, Joe Pye weed, lavender, leadwort, liriope, mums, reblooming daylilies, Russian sage, salvia, sedum, toad lily, turtlehead.
• Trees/Shrubs: blue mist shrub (Caryopteris), butterfly bush, roses, reblooming hydrangeas, sweet autumn clematis.
Plants that Bloom in October
• Perennials: Aster, catmint, gaillardia, goldenrod, mums, Nippon daisy, salvia, sedum.
• Trees/Shrubs: Blue mist shrub (Caryopteris), reblooming hydrangeas, roses.