Every garden lover knows the excitement of the first days of spring. The curtain rises on a clump of golden Crocus blooming near a patch of melting snow. Bright green shoots of bulb foliage hint at wonders soon to come. Where all was brown and gray, snow drops, winter aconites and glory-of-the-snow create sweet blankets of white, yellow, and blue. Then suddenly wave after wave of daffodils, hyacinths and tulips upstage each other to take over the spotlight. Bright colors and fragrance draw us outside to breathe in the clean fresh air of spring.

Above it all the bare branches of flowering cherry and crabapple burst onstage. Their blossoms blanket the garden with plump cushions of pink and white. Next up azaleas and Rhododendrons kick the color wheel into high gear. Clear reds, purples, pinks and snowy whites cover the shrubs to erase any doubt that the growing season is here. As these beloved early bloomers fade, the sweet scent of lilac wafts through a window announcing springs final encore of peonies and iris.

Scene two: Summer arrives in the garden. Summer brings too many opulent treasures for us to count. There are pool parties, al fresco dining, succulent, fresh, vegetables and fruits from the garden and a wealth of fragrance and color to savor. Not to be overlooked is the joy of a nap in your hammock hung in leafy shade. Twilight on the terrace begins with a serenade of birdsong and then the tinkle of ice in glasses as you chat with friends and family into the warm summer night. Inevitably days grow shorter, and summer takes on a weary aspect. What more can be said of summer? It’s time for a change of scenery as autumn takes the stage.

Autumn here in the Mid-Atlantic is a cause for celebration. It is the time to be outside enjoying mild weather and the ever-changing colors of our environment. It offers a rich palette of flowers, colorful foliage and a bounty of fruits and fragrances. Sparkling days issue an irresistible invitation to plan garden parties and barbecues, with friends. The hot tub is drawing attention away from the swimming pool as we soak up the last days of warmth. It is a time to spend evenings gathering around the fire pit sharing stories with our loved ones or taking refreshing walks together in the cool evening air.

The autumn script is relaxed and joyful. The wonders of spring and the activity of summer give way to a peaceful enjoyment of our changing surroundings. It’s a time to dream and plan for future garden pleasures. If you are thinking of garden improvements such as a pond or a swimming pool, now is the time to act. Even if you only wish to update plantings, add dramatic lighting or screen an undesirable view, this is your season. Fall is the time for planting and anything else that needs doing to bring your surroundings closer to your ideal. The stable weather of fall is the perfect time to make it all happen.

As autumn begins to wear thin and heavy coats come out of storage, winter takes center stage. Cold, dark days can be difficult for garden lovers. The heavy hand of winter keeps us indoors more than we like, but a skillfully planned garden can come to the rescue. On the coldest days I enjoy views from my windows as I stay cozy in warm rooms. The dark green of sheltering evergreens sets off shrubs heavy with bright red berries. Birds flit from one feeder to another adding lightness and movement to the scene. And that outdoor lighting, added in the fall, spotlights the drama of an evening snowstorm. Even the artful tracery of bare branches contributes to interesting views, especially when they turn crystalline beneath a frosty coating. Many of us still experience a childlike thrill when we awaken to a world made clean and white under a blanket of fresh snow.

The intrepid witch hazels steal the scene on the first mild days. They laugh at cold weather with yellow, red or orange fringed petals as early as February. In a vase they scent a room with their delightful fragrance. Boxwood, winterberry holly, Southern Magnolia and needled evergreens know the show must go on, even when they are burdened with ice and snow. With judicious pruning, they bring their freshness and fragrance indoors. Many of those bare twigs can be brought inside and coaxed into early bloom or tender leafiness to chase away dreary days.

What does it take to be surrounded by a garden that inspires and delights you in every season of the year? First it takes a collaboration between you and an experienced and creative landscape architect to design plantings and structural elements for year around enjoyment.

Next it takes caring and committed installers to make those plans become a reality. But it can all fall apart without knowledgeable, consistent maintenance. Year after year Wallace Landscape Associates, Inc. designs, installs, and maintains some of the finest gardens in the Delaware Valley. Contact Wallace Landscape Associates to join you in creating a garden setting that will enrich your life each day.