Planting a Multi-Season Garden

One of the many great things that makes planting with shrubs and trees is that you can extend the beauty of your garden beyond the window of color that annuals provide. Even for those that live in cold climates that are covered in snow all winter, color and texture is easy to achieve by choosing the right plants. The best part of using First Editions® shrubs and trees is that you can get four seasons of color and landscape interest with very little work. Let's dig in and look at some ideas of plants that keep your garden fresh all year long:


Ah, spring. It's such a refreshing reprieve from the cold dark of winter. So you want to start the growing season with a bang. Make a statement with early-blooming color. Above is Lotus Moon™ Pearlbush, which is a great option for cooler climates. This shrub is hardy from zones 4-6 and is just covered in bright white blooms in April and May, attracting early butterflies to the landscape. It's deer resistant and takes almost no work to maintain. Other great spring-blooming options for cold climate gardens include the new Electric Lights™ Double Pink Azalea, Centennial Blush™ Star Magnolia and Standing Ovation™ Serviceberry. In more temperate climates, try Sweet Tea™ Gardenia, Sparkling Sangria™ Fringe Flower or Spring Lace Viburnum.


No matter where you are in the country, summer is the season of color. Ruffled Red™ Magic Crapemyrtle is a prime example of the excitement that a garden can provide in warm climates. Who wouldn't want that bright beacon of color in their landscape? As a bonus, the foliage turns a stunning red-orange in fall. Other ideas for most gardens include Diamond Rouge™ Hydrangea, Funky Fuchsia™ Butterfly Bush and Summer Ruffle™ Hibiscus. In cool climates, you can also try Amber Jubilee™ Ninebark and in warm climates Cinnamon Girl™ Distylium.


Following the dog days of summer, we can cool down with warm colors in the landscape. Matador™ Maple is a great example of the brilliance of fall, especially in northern climates. There is little more iconic of the cool-climate fall landscape than the blazing oranges and reds of maple trees. Other great plants for fall color in cool climates, especially after the summer annuals wither away, are Vanilla Strawberry™ Hydrangea, Tiger Eyes® Sumac and the gorgeous Autumn Revolution™ Bittersweet vine. In warmer climates, the hydrangeas show brilliantly alongside the fall foliage on Opening Day™ Viburnum and blue blooms of Sapphire Surf™ Bluebeard.


Just because the winter is cold and not really considered a time when you enjoy the garden, the right plant selection can make the winter garden really beautiful. Sky High™ Juniper (above) is a great example of a structural evergreen playing really well with white snow. The blue-green foliage is especially highlighted after a soft snowfall. Also, since we recommend NOT pruning your in fall, they beautifully collect snowfall and give great texture to your garden. No matter what part of the country you live in, red-twigged dogwood like Baton Rouge™ and Cayenne are a blazing burst of red that captures the eye immediately. If you live in a warmer climate, Distylium is a great year-round option, and really shows itself well in winter when they remain evergreen. The newest introduction, Cinnamon Girl™, has shown to be especially cold hardy.

Well, there you have it. Easy, right? Pick and choose a couple plants from each season and you'll impress yourself and your neighbors with how incredible your garden looks year round. Want more ideas? Just head over to and look around for yourself! We even have garden plans available to get you started.

Yes, you can STILL plant!

Spokesperson Ryan McEnaney spoke with the Minneapolis Star Tribune about fall planting trends and some of the best varieties to plant this time of year. Award-winning writer Kim Palmer dives into the story and gives great, actionable tips for planting in this great time of year. Click HERE or above to read the full story.

Plant of the Month: Autumn Revolution™ Bittersweet

Bittersweet is a beloved vine in colder climates throughout the US and Canada. The struggle for the home gardener is that you need 2 plants, male and female, to create berries. That makes it tough, especially if you have a small space garden. A revolution in decorating the yard with bittersweet came in the form of Autumn Revolution™ Bittersweet. This vine creates "perfect" flowers, meaning that it is both male and female and can create it's own fruit! On top of that, the berries are twice the size of the species. This variety was discovered in cold zone 4 Minnesota, but is also hardy up to zone 2 and to warm climates in zone 8. Plant in full sun for the best results. Want to learn more or see more photos? Click HERE!

Top Fall Landscaping Tips

Autumn is the perfect time to assess your landscaping needs and fill any gaps that exist. Here are the top fall gardening tips from gardening experts at First Editions® Plants:

- Take inventory: Decide what, and where, your landscape is lacking and plug the gaps now. Depending on plant type and local climate, you’ll be able to enjoy a full, bursting garden as early as next spring.

- Multi-season interest: Consider adding plants that offer color for more than one season. Examples include First Editions® Tiger Eyes® Cutleaf Staghorn Sumac with chartreuse leaves in summer changing to stunning yellow, orange and scarlet in fall, and First Editions® Standing Ovation® Serviceberry with sweet white flowers in spring .

- Attention to temperature: Different plants react in varied ways to temperature swings, so minding your region’s weather patterns is a must. Bailey Nurseries’ plant tags and the U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone map show gardeners how to adjust to their particular climate.

- Look long-term: Achieving the ideal landscape doesn’t happen overnight. Establish a vision for what you want your garden to look like, then understand that many trees and shrubs take several years to reach mature size. The results last much longer and are well worth the wait.