Green bushes provide structure and form, while towering trees provide fall color and shade, but the flowers on and around those often draw the most attention as focal points when it comes to landscape beautification. A handful of flowers here and there or a big varietal explosion complement and draw attention to any outdoor area. Mundane scenery transforms to something special with blooms big and small, short or tall, and varieties number in the thousands to suit any taste.
Small, cold-hardy shrubs, peonies can grow in climates as cold as USDA zone 2. Usually early and late spring bloomers, they produce eye-catching, larger flowers, most of which have a distinctive sweet scent. Peonies grow best in areas that receive full sun and in well-drained, moderately fertile soil. They grow up to 4 feet tall and return each year for decades. Gardeners so enjoy their bloom season, though short, that they have a tendency to collect different varieties.
Sweet peas feature delicate, vibrant papery blooms used in spring bouquets and arrangements. These annual wildflowers, vining plants, grow easily by seed and can reach up to 9 feet. They grow best in well-drained soil and in full sun. Sweet peas do not thrive in intense heat, which can shorten their bloom periods in southern states, but tolerate cold well, including light frosts and even some snow in zone 4 and higher.
Scented geraniums can also feature beautiful blooms like their traditional counterparts, but gardeners primarily grow them for their fragrances. Varieties grown along a path or border will waft scents to passersby ranging from cinnamon to lemon. They grow well in full sun, warm temperatures and well-drained, moderately fertile soil. Considered annuals in zone 9 and under, they can be dug up and overwintered for planting the following year.
The wildflower purple coneflower, also called Echinacea, grows in all parts of North America. It features daisy-like flowers that come in light purple, white and pink and bloom from June through October. Dark brownish-orange-colored centers produce thousands of seeds that help with propagation and serve as a food source for wildlife, attracting butterflies. They grow up to 3 feet tall in fertile, well-drained soil and full sun.
Delphinium, with its tall, flower-laden stalks, provides color and drama to landscapes, particularly English cottage gardens. They thrive in cooler, moist climates from zone 3 through 7. Dwarf varieties reach up to 2 feet tall, while larger plants grow up to 6 feet tall. Flowers bloom in blue, red, white and yellow, and attract hummingbirds. They prefer a site with full or partial sun and well-drained soil . Sites protected from the wind are best, since delphinium flowers can become top heavy. They like to grow in moderately moist soil that does not completely dry out.