FredTalks – Gardening and Perfectionism

Contributed By: Fred Peratt, President EEI
May 1, 2024

by Environmental Enhancements

THE PROBLEM: Hey Fred, Sometimes I feel an uncomfortable anxiety about the short time I’m actually able to enjoy my garden. I work like crazy for months just to get a few peak weeks in the spring. My yard looks AMAZING right about now, but I can hardly sit down, relax, and take it all in because I know everything’s going to die back soon. Help!

FRED SAYS: I like to think of my garden as an ongoing practice rather than an ‘end game.’ After all, everything cycles, doesn’t it? What if that first shovel of dirt in early March were as thrilling to you as your garden in full bloom?

That said, with a little planning, you can enjoy color throughout the growing season, as long as you’re able to accept that while something new is coming in, something old is dying back.

It all depends on what you look at!

Plan for daffodils, tulips, grape hyacinth, forsythia, and crocus in early spring, but be sure to add later spring color with iris, phlox, azaleas, bluebells, peonies, and lilac bushes.

Very soon, you’ll want to dig up your spring annuals and start planting summer blooms. Many hot season flowers will keep going until fall: day lilies, Black-Eyed Susans, zinnias, and multiple varieties of roses. Some of these will come back year after year, so as your garden matures, all-season color will be easier to maintain.

You’ll notice the longer blooming flowers produce fewer blooms as the season wears on, but they’re still lovely to look at. I would suggest you let go of the idea of ‘peak,’ since life has more ordinary moments than peak ones. Enjoy those, and you’ve got it made.

Please reach out if you’d like to hear about our landscaping services! 703.421.7400 or

Fred Peratt is president of Environmental Enhancements Inc., an award-winning landscaping company serving the DC metro area since 2001. Fred is well-known in the landscaping industry for his dedication to innovation, teamwork, and the highest standards of workmanship.

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