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Southern Inspirations Garden Design

A family-run business since 1997

Southern Inspirations
Create an Instant Flower Garden for Special Occasions
Would you like an instant flower garden for a special occasion but your garden just looks awful? Here are tips to quickly brighten up your garden and delight your guests. It will require some hard work, but isn’t that special occasion worth the effort?

Instant Flower Garden First take that critical look at your garden. Is anything just dreadful, are there a lots of dead annuals or branches, and are there some bare patches, etc. It will be a good idea to start cutting or pruning out all the dead branches, dead head flowers, weed the beds and mow your lawn. This will allow you to have a better judgement of your garden’s potential.

Beginning your Instant Flower Garden

Review out garden design principles to get some idea of what you will need to do. Decide on the theme. Your theme might be permanent or just particular to your special event.

Decide on just a few focal points. Don’t choose too many otherwise you will loose the impact. Now go to the local nursery and see which plants are in season.

There might even be a nursery in your area that will be willing to rent out some plants to you. Once you have located that nursery, visit them and see what they have to offer.

Make your final decision on what you will require and see how it will fit into your budget. Remember that color will really brighten up your garden. Here are budget savers to create your instant flower garden:
  • Put bottles or vases into the ground and fill them with up with seasonal flowers from the florist. With a little bit of practice you can make it look very natural. This will add color very quickly and is cheap.
  • Put garden furniture with a bright table cloth and cushions on patches were your lawn looks a bit poor. Borrow some additional garden furniture from the neighbours if possible, or else hire it.
  • Garden umbrellas will also add interest to the garden.
  • A thin layer of compost or mulch can be used to cover poor looking soil.
  • Take out your glue gun and stick anything that is loose back in to its place. This is a quick fix solution, you will have to fix everything properly later.
  • Hire that water feature or statue as a focal point.
  • Make use of your wheelbarrow by putting pretty flowers in to it and covering the bags up with compost. It will look like it is a permanent planting. You can wheel it into a position that needs some extra perking up.
Put the plants that you hired from the nursery in the ground, but don’t take them out of their containers. It will then be a lot easy to return them in their same condition to the nursery. If you really like some of the plants you have hired, you can replant them straight into the ground after your event. This will help make that lovely instant flower garden permanent!

I think by now you would have got the general idea for an instant flower garden. Remember that you will only be limited by your imagination.

Some Extra Ideas

Flowerbeds have traditionally been placed on either side of a pathway. Designing in this way adds to the perspective of your design. More perspective could be further added by using light blues and greys to create that extra illusion of depth.

There is seasonal interest that should be taken into consideration when you design that instant flower garden: for example, roses will bloom in spring and summer. Roses could be planted with the following plants: Violas, Catmint (Catmint could be used as a mulch), Salvia, Sages, Cotton Lavender, Lavender.

Visit the local nursery; look at all the plants that are flower at the same time. Take a look at their general growing conditions. Refer to the colour wheel for those complimentary colour combinations and colour groupings. Using those white and cream blooms in between will tone down bright colours such as yellow and red.

Seasonal Considerations

The following information is for those gardens in the northern hemisphere. If you are living in the southern hemisphere simply just add 6 months.

January and February

Early bulbs start pushing through such as Iris, Crocus, Snowdrop and Daffodils. Cyclamen Coum can also be seen flowering and Pansies also create an eye-catching display. They will flower for many weeks, even in the cold. Clematis flowers before midsummer and will look great in your instant flower garden.


In March, daffodils and tulips will look wonderful in your instant flower garden. The ground must be prepared for all the flowers coming in. Plenty of organic compost can be added into all the beds. Remember: healthy soil will mean almost disease free plants. The blue-purple Muscari neglectum (grape hyacinths) compliments the golden Narcissus (daffodils)very well.

Early spring Perennials are great when used for borders. Primula “Dawn Ansell” and Primula denticulate are amongst the Premila family that look great when used in borders. Other border plants include the following: Corydalis solida, Epimedium x youngianum “Niveum, Anemone appenina and Ipheica uniflorum “Violaceum”. There are so many different plants to choose from.

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Bulbous plants will provide for most of your color in an instant flower garden. Massed displayed together convey an appearance of fullness. Carefullyyou’re your daffodils, tulips and other bulb combinations together. By doing this, you can create a continuous flower display for several weeks. Deadhead your bulbs once they have flowered and allow them to die down.

Some plant combinations will include the pink hyacinths and white violas. Pale yellow and creamy wallflowers (cheiranthus)will look great planted with deep purple tulips.

A lovely spring ground cover with masses of tiny violet flowers is the Aubrieta deltoidea. This looks will look good with bright orange and creamy coloured flowers. There are so many flowers to choose from. Tulipa “Noranda” has blood red petals and orange tinted edges – they’d be great when used in your instant flower garden.

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May is by far one of the loveliest months; there is color everywhere you look. It will require some skill and a high detail of plant knowledge to get the balance right. All of the design principles will need to be taken into account; flower color, form, foliage and the grouping of plants together.

Some lovely plant combinations will include: - Luraria annua alba, White honesty, Welsh poppies and Forget-me-nots. Don’t forget to repeat those planting patterns to create that harmony, flow and unity in your design.  Make use of mass plantings to create impact.

Bearded Irises will flower in May; these could fill up some of the gaps in the garden. Irises will look good when massed together and under planted with the same color forget-me-nots.

Flowering trees such as the Prunus “kanzan”, Cereis siliquastrum and others will flower in late April to early May and should form a focal point in your garden. Rhododendron’s, Wisteria floribunda’s and Rosa species will look wonderful in May. Some other flowering plants include the following: - Fuchsia, Begonias, Pelargoniums, Petunias, Nemesia, Lobelia, Foxgloves and dahlias.

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In June we see summer is on its way. Roses, clematis, violas, campanulas, delphiniums, dianthus, oriental poppies, irises, geraniums lupinus pollyphyllus, centranthus rubber, and papaver orientale are all but a few of the many flowers that can be seen at this time of year. Some of your flowers will need to be staked, or else they will fall over on a very windy day.

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July also brings lots of color to the garden; the long, bright summer days will be matched by strong colours of vibrant reds, golden yellows and shades of pinks. Some plants for you instant flower garden may include: Verbena bonariensis, Asters, Anthemis, Lilium candidum, dianthus and many others.

Summer fragrances will fill the air in July, and will be so inviting when the wind blows them your way. Fragrant flowers can add that extra dimension to your instant flower garden. Eryngium bourgatii (sea-holly) will look very interesting in July. It resembles a thistle. It provides a great form and texture to compliment other plant types, e.g. those bright orange flowers of the Crocosmias or Day lilies.

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Alcea rosea (hollyhocks) look beautiful when grown against the wall in August. They will be full of flowers at this time. Hollyhocks are also available in a wide range of colours, including near black.

Sunflowers can also look good when used as a backdrop. Don’t forget you will need to stake them.

Another good flowers to buy in August is the Dendranthemas. They were in the past known as Chrysanthemums, they will continue flowering into the autumn.

Tagetes erecta (African marigolds) make for a lovely show in August. They are a bright yellow and orange in colour. Tagetes will prefer full sun. A lovely flowering shrub to have is the Hibiscus. You can get both single as well as double flowering shrubs.

To add to this lovely instant flower garden, why not add the Buddleja davidii. Butterflies will flock around it during the summer. What could look lovelier than butterflies and flowers for your special event?

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You need to continuously deadhead flowers once they have died down. Cut back some of your summer perennials when they have finished flowering. Keep on feeding your flowerbeds with rich organic compost. The border plants in the instant flower garden may include Verbena Bonariensis. Don’t deadhead the verbena; instead let them set seed for the next season.

Echinacea purpurea (cone flower) gives colour in to late summer and autumn.

Asters grouped together will start flowering at the end of September and look good when massed together. Grow Gypsophila in between your verbena bonariensis. This could make for an interesting combination for your instant flower garden. Remember, your soil must be free draining. Repeat your border pattern for continuity.

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October brings in autumn with it, slowly, but surely. Many late flowering perennials, such as the Sedums, Rudbeckia, Solidago, Physalis and Chinese lantern’s will look magnificent.

Autumn bulbs begin flowering these will include Crocus, Colchicums and Cyclamens. The grass likes leaves of the Liriope Muscari will produce surprises in the form of purple, small flowers in between them. Clean up the dead leaves, cut down all the spent perennials.

Nothing will look worse than dead plant material in any instant flowering garden. Use the dead material as composting. Leave them to rot for 18 months. They could make mulch over your soil to protect it, it will also make for nutritious mulch for the garden.

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Flowering this month of rain, wind and cold is the Viburnum tinus. Flowers of the Liriope platyphylla may also be seen. Plant the tulip bulbs in November. Winter is the most challenging months for planting an instant flower garden. Foliage colors will have to be used to replace the color usually provided by flowers.

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December is your clean up month, clean up the shed, clean out the garage. Take a look at the shape of your flowerbeds; does the hard landscaping still look good? If not, redo your flowerbeds edges.

In winter a lovely shrub; Garrya elliptical (tassel bush) can be seen. It will do well against a warm wall and long, graceful, male Catkins do look splendid when they open.

Winter Jasmine, Jasminum nudi florum which has small yellow flowers on long stems. Jasmine will help brighten up your December. They look great when massed. They also need some good drainage and a sunny position.

From all this we can seen that winter is definitely by far the most challenging to get your instant flower garden. Well I’m sure we all knew that already!

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