Here in Southern Ontario, we’ve endured another long, hard winter – and, unfortunately, much of the spring hasn't exactly been awesome. The spring has been long on rain and short on time to spend outdoors playing sports, hiking or planting flowers in your garden. Fortunately, summer is just about here and our fingers are crossed for a season that's just right: not too scorching and not too rainy or cool.

Clients and neighbours alike are always asking me what's best to plant this time of year, so I thought our CSL Group blog would be the perfect venue for some tips!

Annuals

Annual flowers and bulbs, which die when the weather gets colder, are always popular in the spring for flower beds. They provide colour all seasons from that long-awaited last frost of the early spring to the dreaded first frost of the fall. The types and varieties can vary based on your personal taste. If your tastes tend toward what's popular, you might go for petunias, marigolds, impatiens or zinnias. However, if you like to show off a little more personality in your garden, you could choose some large, bright gazanias; some purple or pink cleome (also known as the spider plant or spider flower); or the rose-like purple lisianthus, which grows well in heat.

Perennials

The more cost-effective option is perennials, because they return every year and don't need to be replanted, but they also tend to have a shorter flowering season. Here are a few of our spring and early summer perennial favourites:

  • Daylilies: Beautiful and long-lasting, requiring minimal care.
  • Coreopsis: Also known as calliopsis or thickseed, they're a lovely yellow flower, sometimes yellow-red.
  • Columbine: Hummingbirds love these often purple-and-white flowers.
  • Coral bells: Available in many colours, the flowers are smaller but plentiful.
  • Veronica: Sometimes known as ‘royal candles’ because of their long, cylindrical shape.
  • Gaillardia: Also known as ‘blanket flowers,’ they’re colourful and ornate.
  • Peony: A popular, many-petaled, pink favourite.
  • Shasta daisy: A classic daisy, yellow in the centre with white petals.

Shrubs

Another option for your garden in the early summer is shrubbery. Good options include lilac, viburnum, ornamental cherry, ninebark and dogwood.

What's right for you?

Ultimately, the right options for your garden in the early summer are up to personal preference, but these are some of my favourites and they're all tolerant to our climate in Southern Ontario.