There’s a super-simple way to feel happier: Plant some flowers. We’ve touted the benefits of gardening before, and we stand by the belief that a gorgeous garden full of flowers—or a few pots on your balcony, patio or deck—will raise your spirits, even on your most frazzled days. Plant a combination of both annual flowers and perennials, which return for many years, to attract pollinators and provide color, texture and fragrance. Flowering shrubs also provide reliable color and structure to round out your design. Incorporating many different kinds of plants also creates a cottage feel, making any garden setting a little dreamier. With layers of flowers and shrubs—incorporating a few of what we’re deeming the most romantic flowers you can grow—you can create a Impressionist-painting-worthy escape in your own garden.
First, a few tips: When planting perennials or shrubs, make sure they’ll survive winters in your USDA Hardiness Zone (find yours here). And don’t neglect to give your plant the right lighting conditions so it will thrive and flower. Full sun means 6 or more hours of direct sun per day, while part sun is about half that. Your plants also need watered thoroughly after planting and during dry spells. A dose of extended-release granular fertilizer helps, too (follow the label instructions!), especially if your plants are in containers, because watering causes nutrients to leach out of pots quickly.