“We all have within us a need to create beauty. And we all can in a garden, however small.” – Audrey Hepburn

Spring has arrived in North Central West Virginia and everyone is thrilled beyond words by her arrival. We are slowly beginning to emerge from our winter nests by the sound of bird songs, lawn mowers, and by the sight of flowers in bloom. We slowly make our way to garden centers and stand in awe at the multitude of beautiful plants and flowers available.

So let us discuss a few of these said plants. What sends you over the edge? Are you a bit of a romantic? Do you love those dreamy, fluffy, flouncy, blooming flowers, such as peonies? Or, do you prefer shrubs which offer more formality, such as boxwoods? And, you may suffer from my affliction and simply love them all. Although, I do have some preferences.

Anyone who knows me, knows I am absolutely enthralled with peonies. Many believe peonies are only available in white, light pink and dark pink. Not true. Peonies are available in many forms and types, as well as a wide range of colors. And, to me, all are breathtakingly beautiful.

First, let me talk about their form and bloom type. They are available in single, Japanese, semi-double, full double, and bomb forms. Usually a person is drawn to one or more types.

Peonies are hardy, tough plants. Once in the ground, they require little care. Their main requirements for healthy growth: A planting location which receives half to full day sun and good drainage, in addition to a cold dormancy period. They can live up to 80 to 100 years, if planted correctly. Certainly a good investment for your money. Peonies are available in the spring at local garden centers. However, at the end of this column I have listed an online site, I know to be reputable, should you be interested in ordering. These peonies are shipped in the fall, bare root and, you will be amazed at the selection of colors and forms.

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Boxwoods are another wonderful garden specimen. To me, they are the workhorse of the garden. And, are excellent in containers. They provide color, texture and form to the garden the entire year. There are many different types of boxwood, some will be happy in full sun while others prefer some shade. Locally, boxwoods are available at most of our garden centers in the spring, and are available in several different sizes. I prefer to purchase them small and let them adjust and grow in the garden. However, plant them with enough distance apart to allow space when mature.

Also, soon our local garden centers will house a selection of annuals and perennials. These plants, with care, provide beauty the entire summer and well into fall. If your annuals are in containers, they require water and fertilizer regularly. Additionally, keep old blooms removed in order to maintain the beauty of your planting. Be realistic with the amount of time you have or are willing to devote to their care before purchasing. In our area a good guide for planting or potting annuals is around the second week of May, with regard to frost. However, it is wise to watch the forecast until Memorial weekend.

Wherever you live, I do hope this glorious season will inspire you to create beauty for yourself and others. A garden can be large, small, or a single pot of geraniums. If it is created and cared for with love, I promise you, it will thrive and you will be rewarded.

See you soon,

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Adelman Peony Gardens: www.peonyparadise.com