Garden Design: A Border for One Season

August Dreams Garden in mid-June
One of the best decisions I made three years ago when I worked with a garden designer to lay out the garden borders was to plant one border with plants that bloom only in late summer and early fall.

I call it August Dreams Garden and right now it is just green plants.  The only color comes from a garden sculpture in the middle of it.

The lack of blooms in this garden calls attention across the way to Ploppers' Field which in a few days will be filled with daylily and lily blooms.

I personally like the idea of each garden border having its own season, its own time to attract the most attention.  No one said a garden's focal point couldn't shift from week to week. One garden border comes into full blown, another fades quietly into the background.

When I walk into a garden that is "all going on at once", I don't know where to go first in that garden.  Look over here, look over there, try to look everywhere at once.  It's like walking into a room with a different chintz fabric on every wall and a totally different fabric for the bedspread.  Most people would agree that such a room is too much "something" and though silent, may be noisy to look at, if that is possible.

Or maybe a garden with blooms everywhere all at once  is like watching a four act play, with all the actors performing  all the scenes on stage at the same time.  That would be noisy and confusing. Most people would get anxious and annoyed by all the commotion, the talking over one another, the lack of focus.

I prefer my garden this way. The focus shifts from week to week. What is quiet one week will be noisy the next week. What is colorful now will fade to green and what is green now will burst into color to take its place.

In about six weeks, I should start to see the first significant blooms in August Dreams Gardens.   Until then, I have other flowers to look at and admire.


  1. This is a great idea! I hope you enjoy your transition into summer.

  2. Carol I love this idea. It makes perfect sense and I can't wait to see it in bloom.

  3. I so agree, this is what I have done in my garden. The woodland for the first 4 months of the year, overlapping in April for 3 months is the bog garden with so many different wonderful primulas astilbe and iris, then its the turn of the bee and butterfly border which hands over to my prairie border for autumn.Obviously there are flowers in all the borders even when they are not at their peak, but I like one area handing over to another at different times of the year.

  4. I love the look of healthy foliage almost as much as flowers. Almost. Happy August Dreams to you.~~Dee

  5. An excellent way to look at the garden. I like your quiet space. It appears to be revving up for a dazzling show later.

  6. Ironically, so many prairie plants (aka drought tolerant plants) seem to be late summer and fall bloomers. A great idea to devote a bed just to them!

  7. Even though nothing is blooming in it right now, the foliage has a mix of textures, which keeps it interesting.

  8. A late friend of mine managed to keep her enormous garden in bloom all year, but I think that takes great talent and a lot of work. I love the idea of seasonal borders.

  9. Part of the joy of gardening is having something to look forward to. Great idea!


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