A mix of roses and petunias add bright color to the landscape.
A mix of roses and petunias add bright color to the landscape.

Spring is a time of renewal. It’s a time to plant whether it is trees, shrubs, perennials, annual flowers or your vegetable garden. If you like to see things growing you have probably planted a thing or two yourself.

One of the rituals of spring is heading to the nursery to choose the annuals that will brighten my flowerbeds over the summer and fall. I did that Wednesday, along with three friends, who all like to plant as much as I do. Heading into the greenhouses and seeing all that green and all those lovely flowers made up for that long winter we endured.

The fragrance of the blooms and all the wonderful, vibrant colors made choosing difficult. Not only did I want to purchase annuals, those flowers that will bloom this year and then die, but I also wanted to get some perennials, flowers that will come up each year, laying dormant over the winters but ready to grow and bloom season after season.

Divided into areas for vegetables, herbs, annuals, perennials, this greenhouse carried a full line with many, many hanging baskets full of petunias, geraniums and other flowers suited to container gardening. It took a long time to choose just the right ones.

Since I am planning a new flower bed to draw hummingbirds and butterflies I was looking for perennials that draw them to the yard. Some of those choices included monardas or bee-balm, asters, yarrows, coneflowers, black-eyed susans, columbines and coreopsis.

Landscaping enhances our homes and makes them look nicer and more homey. I find it hard to look at a home that has no flowers, shrubs or trees gracing its exterior. To me they are as important, maybe more so, as the accessories in my home. They make a yard come alive for they bring birds, butterflies and small mammals that enhance our enjoyment of the outdoors.

A survey conducted by the National Gardening Residential Lawn & Landscape Services found that homeowners spent $17.3 billion to hire landscaping services in 2006. Homeowners who like to do-it-themselves spent another 9.9 billion. Add the cost of the many trees, flowers and shrubs sold by garden centers, nurseries and other stores and you can see this is a multi-billion dollar industry.

I don’t think a year goes by that I do not plant trees. One thing I have learned over the years is to plant native varieties that do well in their environment and plant a variety of different species. Don’t rely on just one species. There are many diseases and insects that attack trees and if you rely on only one type, you could lose them all should a disease or insect materialize. Always stick with native species as too many times some of the non-native plants become invasive and crowd out our more native plants.

All you have to do is remember the multi-flora rose which was often recommended for living fences. They truly were a haven for birds, but could quickly spread and take over. Others include the tartarian and amur honeysuckles which will reseed from the fruits. Once recommended, I planted these as part of a windbreak and am now trying to destroy them for their invasive characteristics.

These are all non-native and were brought in to be used as windbreak plants, but it was quickly found that they take over and crowd out our native species. There are many flowers, trees and shrubs that are native to Ohio and these are the best ones to plant in your landscape.

Annual flowers provide a quick way to add color to your landscape as they are often blooming when you purchase them. Petunias and geraniums seem to be very popular but nurseries add more hybrids and exotic plants each year. Perennials may need a bit more care, but they are reliable as they return each year so your investment lasts much longer.

One of my favorite things each morning is to walk over the lawn to see what is coming up or blooming, watching the plants grow and blossom and enjoying the brilliance of their bloom. If in my walk I find a bird’s nest it just adds to the enjoyment, or if I see a butterfly or hummingbird hovering over a flower, it makes it all worthwhile.

Beginning with tulips and daffodils in the spring, the annuals and perennials take over for all summer and fall color. Add the greens of trees and shrubs and you can have a lush landscape that satisfies the eye with color and texture. Not only that but you can draw birds and butterflies to your yard, providing them with habitat and food.


Jeannine Roediger has lived on a family farm all her life, first as a farmer’s daughter and now as a farmer’s wife. She writes weekly for the Times Bulletin and enjoys gardening, quilting, cooking, bird watching and writing.