Give a summer patio an appealing view
While our pool was being installed, I turned my attention to the landscape. I pictured a long perennial border running along one side of the pool, which would camouflage an obtrusive fence and offer a delightful view that we could enjoy as we swam or relaxed on the patio. Brimming with optimism but with nary a clue about the growth habits and bloom times of the flowers I envisioned for our garden, we dug a bed 8 feet wide and roughly 60 feet long. Then I began the highly enjoyable process of selecting plants for my new perennial garden. It didn’t take long, however, before I realized that it takes more than enthusiasm to create a garden that pleases all summer long.
Oh sure, my garden was absolutely delightful the following spring, stuffed as it was with early-blooming perennials such as peonies (Paeonia spp. and cvs.), lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis), pinks (Dianthus spp. and cvs.), and Siberian irises (Iris sibirica and cvs.). Admiring my garden that spring for the umpteenth time, I congratulated myself on what a masterful gardener I had become.
As spring faded into summer, however, and my beautiful garden likewise faded into a distant memory, it dawned on me that there weren’t enough remaining perennials to offer interest during the rest of the growing season. Particularly distressing was the fact that in early spring, when my garden was at its peak, it was usually too chilly to spend much time in the pool or on the patio.