The Garden in Bloom

Riverbanks Botanical Garden is always full of color, texture, and interesting things to see.

In the middle of the Walled Garden, we have two sets of beds that we call annual beds. We change the plantings in these beds every spring (usually April) and fall (October).

During the winter months, you can see pansies, violas and winter vegetables that have been planted in a particular design for the season. The colors and designs change every year and sometimes incorporate spring blooming bulbs as well.

For the warmer months, the annual beds are transformed into an oasis of color and excitement, as we plant tropical plants and many blooming perennials. Again, the color and design of these beds changes every year and may focus on colorful foliage, vines, bold blooms or any combination of these. Regardless of the design, these middle beds are always the focal point and are planted to complement the surrounding garden.

Throughout the Walled Garden, there are many interesting plants to see year round. Here are some highlights for each month:


  • Fragrant tea olives are blooming — not showy but the smell is sweet.
  • Paperbush produces lovely white and yellow fragrant blooms.
  • Winter honeysuckle blossoms.
  • Crocus bulbs begin to bloom.


  • Winter hazel has beautiful yellow blooms.
  • Flowering cherries start to flower in white and pink.
  • Hellebores bloom in pastels through March.
  • Early daffodils in whites, yellows and peach tones.


  • Redbuds are vivid with white, pink or violet flowers.
  • Forsythia sports bright yellow flowers.
  • Daffodils and tulips take center stage.


  • Rose Garden wakes up with a full bloom of many sizes and varieties of roses.
  • Larkspur spikes of white, pink and blue fill the Rose Garden.
  • Late blooming tulips start to bloom.


  • Roses and larkspur continue to shine with a variety of pastel shades.
  • Allium bulbs begin to bloom with huge, bold, purple flowers.
  • Bottlebrush flowers.

June and July

  • Look for bold pinks and reds of hibiscus flowers.
  • Bright yellows of black-eyed Susan and swamp sunflowers appear.
  • Tropical foliage of banana plants and elephant ears flourishes.
  • Lots of colorful summer annuals add interest to the beds.
  • Snowball viburnum shows off its big white blooms.
  • Hydrangeas are covered in white and blue flowers.


  • Brugmansia or Angel’s Trumpet produces large pendulous trumpet-shaped flowers in oranges and pinks.
  • Star jasmine is covered in white fragrant flowers.
  • Gloriosa lilies cover everything with bright red and yellow flowers.

September and October

  • Sweet grass produces soft pink, billowy plumes above its stems.
  • Mexican Sage is covered in purple and white flowers.
  • Goldenrod has bright yellow, arching stems full of flowers.
  • Asters begin to put on a show with purple flowers.
  • Everything is at its fullest this time of year, so the Garden is very big, full and beautiful during autumn.


  • Roses begin a second big blooming cycle.
  • Chrysanthemums produce a beautiful variety of daisy type flowers in yellows, pinks and oranges.
  • Oakleaf hydrangea blooms with big white panicles.
  • Fragrant tea olives begin to bloom.


  • Flowering apricot is covered in soft pink flowers like a cotton candy tree.
  • Paperbush plant begins to form white buds.
  • Hollies produce red and yellow berries that last through winter.
  • Red barked trees turn more vibrant as colder weather sets in.