Big bloomers: Five beauties for your garden

If you’re heading to the nursery this spring, look for large-blooming plants that provide a big splash of colour. Here are five recommendations from the garden experts at Harrowsmith magazine.

Peonies. Although they have a short blossom time, each plant produces masses of large, often fragrant blooms, suitable for cutting and bringing indoors. They are extremely winter hardy and when they are not in bloom, they produce clean, strong, dark green foliage that stands up to the summer heat.

Hydrangeas. The Endless Summer series of hydrangea flowers from late-July through early-October. All hydrangeas hold their flowers over the winter so you can leave them intact as fodder for foraging songbirds during the winter months. Prune plants in spring.

Lilacs. Common lilac (syringa vulgaris) blooms from mid-to-late May each year, is the first of many lilacs to produce colour each spring, and is fragrant and suitable for cutting. Give it lots of space, as it can grow up to three metres (10 feet) high and almost as wide.

Sunflowers. When it comes to big flowers and lots of them, you really can’t beat sunflowers. In addition to being fast-growing annual plants, they attract myriad pollinators, from honeybees to a wide variety of native bees. When the flower heads have matured, the seeds attract songbirds by the dozen.

Dahlias. If you have a sunny position in your garden, try some dinner-plate dahlias. Bloom season occurs around the middle of summer through late fall. While dahlias are technically an annual and will die with a killing frost, they are easy to overwinter indoors.

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