What flowers to plant around garden

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What flowers to plant around garden area?

I am going to put in a garden area in my backyard and need help to choose what kind of flowers to put in it.

My garden will be around 12 feet by 20 feet. I would like to put a flower bed around 3 feet wide with perennial flowers in it. How many flowers should I plant in the area? I live in Alaska and so it will be getting a lot of rain and sun. Which perennial flowers should I choose?

5 Answers


Wildflowers are best. Without knowing more about your area, I'll have to go with whatever you find there, rather than suggest any particular ones. Perennials do well here because they can grow year after year without much care, which makes them easy to pick and replace. Flower bulbs or seeds are the way to go for flowers that will go to seed and die.

Choose any of the wildflowers that are on the "wildflower books", which are in general used for your area. That said, I suspect you can't find "wildflower books" for Alaska, but you should be able to find information for your particular area. All of them have their benefits and downsides.

If you want the flowers to go to seed and you like them the way they are when they're done flowering, then you can plant a mixture of low seeders and some varieties of perennials and you'll be ok. However, if you want the flowers to bloom for a long time then you might want to stick with some flowering bulb flowers like daffodils and tulips, or others.

I also want to add that it really is the perennials and bulb flowers that will be giving you the best payoff in your garden for many years to come. Perennials just seem to get going with less effort and time than bulbs, and they go back to being dormant at the end of the year, when the bulbs have to be planted anew. Your choice of flowers will depend on what the climate and other conditions are like in your area, but I'd try to have as much variety as possible. In addition to the flowers in your bed, you might also want to add some annuals to provide visual interest (such as cornflower, geraniums, marigolds, zinnias, impatiens, sunflowers, and others).

This is the wildflower bed I had at my old house.

I just went to work at our new house and was able to pick a few bulbs from my old garden.

Here are some of the wildflowers I was able to find and plant.

Hi Joe, In most areas it's just dandelions, goldenrods, and thistles, with a few natives thrown in. Most people here say dandelions are the best, but I personally prefer some of the natives.

I was wondering, if you had any reason to suggest that using dandelions as a garden native might not be the best idea, I'd be interested in learning more about it. I grew up on a dairy farm and can't quite find an appreciation for anything that doesn't drink milk. I have used garlic mustard for some years in a gardening space with zinnias and cosmos as companions.

greenshooterJan 17 '12 at 20:11

Dandelion is native and widely available in flower bulbs, but some varieties can grow to as high as 2-3 feet tall. So, they tend to make a good low-growing garden border/spot.

Goldenrods (Solidago canadensis) can get up to 3 feet tall.

Thistle (Cirsium) has a long, tall central flower stalk, which can spread over several feet, to give a large visual impact.

If you like (or are required) to use ground cover plants, then you can also use creeping thyme (Thymus sp), with its tight, branching foliage. Or you can use plantain (Plantago sp). The main issue with these is that if one flower stalk dies out, it can leave a bare spot in the bed, unless you keep replenishing the plant.

I have had success growing dandelion in any soil as long as the plants were well fed. This year I pulled a few roots and that helped. I also suggested this to the local nursery and they said they could send me fresh dandelion roots this spring.

These are the "wildflowers" I was able to find in my back yard.

Thistle - Mine was 8' tall.

Goldenrods - Mine was 3' tall.

Dandelion - Mine was 12' tall.

I also planted these perennials in the flower bed:

Thistle - Mine was 5' tall.

Goldenrods - Mine was 2' tall.

Dandelion - Mine was 5' tall


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