Ready for Spring?

Boston Flower Show exhibit - Spring is comingTulip bulbs and ivy fill this quaint flower box at the Boston Flower show.

Four Season Design can help you create gardens that are low maintenance and stunning year round. Combining deer resistant bulbs like daffodils and crocus give you an early start on a beautiful spring. Planted among perennials and ground covers, bulbs are an easy, inexpensive way to integrate color into your plantings for years to come.

Boston Flower Show Photo Finalist

The Boston Flower and Garden Show has a juried photo competition which hundreds of people entered this year. I was honored to find out that two of my photos were chosen to be in the group of 36 finalist. If you go to the show, and I highly recommend it, please be sure to stop by the photo display. See the link below to find out more about the Massachusetts Horticultural Society and the Boston Flower Show to be held March 13-17th at the Seaport World Trade Center.

Bennington Vt

Fall Afternoon in Bennington, VT by Sally Turner
Category – Seeds of Change

From Seed to Skillet

Three Peppers by Sally Turner
Category – From Seed to Skillet

Fences, gates and arbors add winter interest


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A garden fence and arbor create a beautiful focal point in the depths of winter. An old stone wall across the back of the garden adds another layer of interest year round.

Fences, arbors and gates add winter interest to the garden

Fences, arbors and gates add winter interest to the garden

Garden structures create interest year round


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When designing a garden the structural elements such as fences, arbors, walkways, paths, small buildings, sheds and walls create the framework for the garden. A wooden fence can be a wonderful backdrop for perennial beds in all four seasons. Here is an example of a late fall garden with seasonal decorations of corn stalks and pumpkins adding color and interest. This wooden fence was stained instead of painted to keep maintenance at a minimum.

Dahlias provide blooms summer through fall


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Although it requires some work in the spring to plant the tubers and in the fall to dig them up, it is well worth the effort. Dahlias are easy to grow when planted in full sun and well drained soil.  They provide copious blooms for cutting and are available in many flower types, sizes and colors.

I attach wide duct tape around the base of each plant in late fall in order to write the dahlia’s name with marker to identify each tuber. This is extremely helpful when spring planting time arrives. Once we have our first hard frost the foliage dies back and it’s time to cut it off, knock the dirt off the tubers and allow them to dry for a week or two. Then they are put into paper bags and kept in a cool, dark corner of the basement for the winter.



Container Plantings for summer color


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Regular watering of container plantings is very important.  They may require daily watering if temperatures are high. Fertilize with a liquid fertilizer weekly, top with a layer of mulch and deadhead as necessary. Using a good planting mix with fertilizer and water retention qualities will help keep your containers looking fresh and full all summer. In this container I used a grass for height, petunias for fillers and a potato vine for a spiller. Plants with silver foliage or white flowers will blend well in any color scheme.

Plant combinations – utilize texture to create interest

Combining different textures and leaf patterns creates interest without flower color. The combination of a large leaf Blue Hosta (Elegans)  with a variegated hosta (Francee) and Anemone canadensis (Canada Anemone) brightens up a dark corner. The lilac flowers of the hosta and the white flowers of the Anemone will add color in the spring and summer.

Different textures create interest in a dark corner.

Window Box Plant Combinations



Instead of plain old petunias this year add color and texture to pop your window boxes and containers. In this planting I mixed an annual grass- Pony Tails Mexican Feather Grass, which has a beautiful, soft, arching habit with Patriot White Zonal Geranium, a Proven Winners Supertina Mini Strawberry Pink Veined Petunia and a perennial – ‘Goldilocks’ Creeping Jenny- Lysimachia nummularia to drape over the edge and give a pop of golden color. In the fall I will plant the perennial into the garden- it is beautiful draping over the edge of walls.

Plants for rainy day appeal



Japanese Threadleaf Maple in the rain by Sally Turner

If you take the time to slow down and look around you it’s amazing what you can see. I have long admired the way Lady’s Mantle – Alchemilla mollis- holds raindrops in it’s leaves, but today I noticed how raindrops hang onto Maple leaves like jewels. Enjoy!