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Q & A Planting Around a Fountain
by Jerry Filipski
April 19, 2009

Q.- I have a large fountain in my backyard. It measures 50 inches (125 cm) in diameter. I have a bed circling the fountain. It is 3 feet (90 cm) wide. I want to draw attention to the fountain. I was thinking of planting perennials around it so I wouldn't have too much work to do. Are perennials the way to go? Will they give me the colour show I want?

A.- The problem with using perennials in a bed that is exposed to all sides of view is that it is difficult to have constant bloom. In a standard bed, such as you would have, for example, against a fence, you can have a variety of perennials coming into bloom at different times and the ones that are out of bloom will be hidden by the ones that are blooming.

In your case this would be very hard to achieve. Your bed would never be in full bloom and this would be easily visible. Should you go with one variety of perennial, it would bloom all at once and then the bloom period would stop and you would be left with no colour at all. This is the problem with perennials in this setting.

If you are looking for constant colour at all times of the growing season your best bet is to go with annuals. They will flower from June-September or beyond and will draw the attention of visitors to your garden with the constant flash of colour. As for work, you still need to remove dead leaves and stalks from perennials, divide them when needed etc. The work would be equivalent to the planting of annuals each year.

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