A garden full of beautiful flowers can serve as the perfect backdrop for a get-together with friends or a private oasis to relax with a good book.
Seniors who garden gain many health benefits in addition to the pleasure they get from enjoying the results of their careful tending, including exercise, reduced stress levels and improved blood pressure.
Fort Collins gardeners should plan for arid Zone 5 growing conditions when selecting flowers for their containers and beds. This means plants must be hardy enough to endure Colorado's dry climate and harsh winters. Below is a list of seasonal flowers we collected to help your garden pop with personality.
A summer favorite for many, daylilies come in thousands of varieties so they can blend seamlessly into nearly every garden design imaginable. This abundance of species offers seemingly endless color combinations and lets seniors stagger bloom times to keep the blossoms coming for months.
Daylilies bloom their best in full sun but can tolerate shade when necessary. Maintaining them is easy since daylilies need very little care to perform well. Drought-tolerant, they only want a small amount of water each week and rarely require fertilizer to continue blooming.
A slow starter, beardtongue or penstemon can take up to 21 days to germinate from seeds depending on the species. Once mature, it provides flowers during early summer when other plants have typically finished flowering for the year or need more time to develop. The tubular flowers serve as natural hummingbird feeders and are prized for their popularity with the tiny birds, butterflies and honey bees.
Almost interchangeable with the highly toxic foxglove in appearance due to its spike-like shape, beardtongue is considered relatively harmless to animals. This makes a good choice for gardens in a pet-friendly assisted living community such as Collinwood, especially when factoring in the plant's low-maintenance, drought-resistant qualities.
A true four-season plant, the red twig dogwood constantly has something new to offer gardeners. Best known for its showy namesake branches, the shrub also boasts lovely white flowers in the spring and thick foliage in the summer, which can be deep green or variegated for added visual interest.
Its stems are green or brown most of the year and take on the characteristic red and orange in the fall. New stems tend to possess the brightest color, so many gardeners prune regularly to get rid of the oldest growth.
The red twig dogwood is hardy up to Zone 2, so it's an ideal addition to gardens in Fort Collins. Yellow varieties are also available, so seniors can mix the vivid branches for an eye-catching arrangement in their snow-filled winter gardens.
Allium has benefits for gardeners beyond its dazzling globes of color and easy-going personality. Planted in the fall, the bulb blooms in spring. Bees, butterflies and other pollinators appreciate the sweet scent of its flowers.
Considered an ornamental onion, it shares the strong flavor of its distant edible cousins. This makes it unappealing to many garden pests such as deer and squirrels that often eat bulbs and flowers. Pairing allium with plants commonly eaten by garden intruders can help discourage unwanted nibbling so that seniors' floral displays remain pristine.
With its pink, purple and white flowers, creeping phlox is great for tucking a pocket of cheerful color into a bare spot in beds and containers. The star-like blossoms measure roughly an inch across and cover the plant in spring and summer.
Even after creeping phlox finishes blooming for the year, its foliage provides a lovely green mat until winter weather ends the growing season. Pruning helps tighten up the plant, giving it a dense, tidy appearance, but it isn't necessary for health or flower production.
While heather is more common in European gardens than in American flower beds, this fuss-free shrub has something to offer in every season. Its wide selection of flower color, foliage color, size and growth characteristics ensure that everyone can find a favorite.
Both double and single flower varieties are available, and bloom times can be staggered with multiple plants to keep the flowers coming for weeks. Once the floral show ends, the focus turns to the evergreen foliage. These leaves can be solid or tipped in color, and seniors have their pick of green, silver-gray, bronze, golden pink and yellow hues to liven up their winter gardens.
Clematis bring a powerful impact to gardens with their showy blossoms. Although found in shrub and trailing varieties, clematis is most famous as a climbing vine. In small areas where space is a premium, going vertical with a climber is a great way to gain more growing room.
Clematis are mostly low maintenance and love full sun. However, their roots are susceptible to heat and require shade. This makes them perfect for companion planting in containers where seniors can encircle them with their favorite annuals, bulbs and perennials for added color and appeal.
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