Monday, May 29 is Memorial Day. When this holiday, begun in nearby Waterloo, was first celebrated, it was called Decoration Day. It’s purpose? To decorate the graves of fallen Civil War soldiers with flowers. The end of May was selected because it was a sure bet that we Upstate New Yorkers wouldn’t wake up to any more spring frosts. So, it was safe to plant flowers.
Today, Memorial Day is the unofficial beginning of the growing season in the Finger Lakes region. If you got a head start, don’t worry; the spring has been too mild for frosts. If you haven’t added spring color to your yard, this three day weekend would be an excellent opportunity to do so.
If you visit your local garden center, you’ll find their greenhouses awash with a rainbow of color. They’re well stocked with the many species and cultivars of annuals that are hardy in this region. They’ll also have an excellent selection of containers in which to plant them, as well as potting soil and the tools you’ll need.
Back when Decoration Day was first celebrated, most annuals were planted in the ground in people’s yards and gardens, as well as around the graves of fallen soldiers. This isn’t the case today. You may see annuals hanging from porch eaves in hanging plastic pots or baskets lined with peat moss. Flowers in decorative containers of any material you can imagine grace porches, stoops, patios, decks and even planting beds. Some are planted in window boxes so they can be enjoyed both inside and outside. Repurposed items are even popular for displaying flowers.
Raised and elevated beds, once thought of only for growing edible plants are now home to ornamental plants as well. Raised beds are available at home centers, large garden centers and online in all different shapes, sizes and colors in wood, metal and plastic. If you’ve never heard the term elevated beds, they’re raised beds on legs that can be tended from a standing position. Some are even on wheels so they can be rolled around.
What can be done creatively with annuals is limited only by your imagination. In addition to those planted in the ways discussed above, you may want to plant a cutting garden dedicated to providing bouquets of flowers for decorating the inside of your house. Wildflower and cottage gardens are also popular today.
I’ve presented you with an endless variety of flower gardens ideas here. Although many families enjoy designing annual beds and planting them, others would prefer to leave the work to the professionals. Our landscape designers would be happy to work with you to create all the landscape color you want. Then our landscape professionals can do the planting to make the plan a reality. All you’ll have to do is keep the plants watered and enjoy them
Annuals are more complicated than they seem to be. Warm season annuals start early here, which is understandable. It gets weird when we find that some warm season annuals work well through late winter and spring, or autumn and early winter, but not summer. Some warm season annuals are cool season annuals here.