Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Landscape Boom For Independence Day!

Showcasing red, white, and blue vivid flowers in your landscape is a great way to accent your patriotism and a wonderful way to brighten up your neighborhood!  Finding our national colors with just the right seasonal bloom is very easy if you know what to look for.  You can display your flowers in mass planting beds, and around lighting, flagpoles and mailboxes.  For smaller apartments, and Fourth of July parties, you can decorate by your front door, on the patio, and on balconies with container gardens, and window boxes.

Setting up your mass bedding plants with patriotic colors, you will want to remember different heights and width.  Having a tiered effect of red, white and blue is extremely effective if your house is neutral or you have an evergreen hedge as a backdrop.  Coordinate your color palette by looking at your plants before you plant them.  Placing them in the desired location and standing in the road or in your neighbor’s yard to judge the potential impact is a good idea; before you do all the grunt work of installing them and then not getting the look you were ultimately desiring.
Colorful and patriotic clay, plastic, and ceramic, containers with decorative accoutrements such as ribbons, gold stars or flags, are an easy way to get into the independent spirit if it’s temporary, or if you only have a small area or location to work with.  Use a good potting soil and make sure if you are using window boxes that you allow for good drainage away from house walls.
Here are my flag-waving suggestions for red, white, and blue annuals and perennials with their height designations for placement in your garden bed or container.  As always — please check online, with local nursery or extension office for sun and moisture requirements before purchasing and combine plants only if they have similar needs.
Tall (t – use in back), medium (m – use in middle), and low (l- use as groundcover) or h (hanging).
Red Flowers
  • Begonia, wax (l, m)
  • Begonia, tuberous(l, m)
  • Cardinal flowers (t)
  • Celosia  (m)
  • Dianthus (m) 
  • Gerbera daisies  (l)
  • Geranium (l, m)
  • Gomphrena (m)
  • Impatiens (l)
  • Kalanchoe (l)
  • Lantana (m, h)
  • Lobelia (m)
  • Pentas (m, t)
  • Pentstemon (m,t)
  • Phlox (l)
  • Porterweed (t) 
  • Salvia (m, t)
  • Vinca (m)
  • Verbena (l,m, h)
  • Roses (see suggestions below)
  • Zinnias (l,m)  
White Flowers 
  • Begonia, tuberous (l, m)
  • Begonia, wax (l, m)
  • Catwhiskers (t)
  • Chrysanthemums (l, m)
  • Cosmos (l, m)
  • Dianthus (l)
  • Geraniums (l, m)
  • Impatiens (l)
  • Lantana (l, h)
  • Lisianthus, (m, t)
  • Marigolds, French (l, m) 
  • Moonflowers (vine)
  • Morning glories (vine)
  • Nemesia (l)
  • Nicotiana (m, t)
  • Osteospernum (m) 
  • Pentas (m,t)
  • Phlox (l)
  • Philippine violets (t)
  • Roses (see suggestions below)
  • Zinnias (l, m)   
Blue Flowers:
  • Agapanthus (t)
  • Ageratum (l)
  • Ajuga (l - shade)
  • Asters (m)
  • Blue Daze (l, h) 
  • Blue flax (l, m)
  • Centaura (m)
  • Exacum (l)
  • Lisianthus (m, t)
  • Morning glories (vine) 
  • Nemesia (l,)
  • Salvia, blue (m, t)
  • Scabiosa  (m)
  • Stokes Asters (m)
  • Torenia (l)
  • Porterweed (t)
  • Philipine Violets (t)
  • Plumbago  (t)
  • Russian Sage (t)
  • Verbena (l, h)
  • Veronica Speedwell (m)
Additional Summer Flowers for northern zones 4 – 7     
  • Alyssum (l)
  • Chrysanthemums (l, m)
  • Delphiniums (t)
  • Forget-me-nots (m) 
  • Hollyhocks (t)
  • Nicotiana (t)
  • Pansies (l)
  • Petunias (l, h)
  • Poppy (m, t)
  • Snapdragons (l, m, t)
  • Statice (m, t)
  • Stock (m, t)
Patriotic Roses: 

 Over 35 cultivars named America or have American in their name, these are my favorites:
  • America, large-flowered climber, orange-pink, fragrant
  • American Beauty: climber, strong fragrance, deep pink, the national flower symbol of United States
  • America, Climber, coral pink, strong fragrance
  • Fourth of July, 1999 All American selection, climber, red flowers striped with white, apple-fragrance
  • Memorial Day, 2004 All American selection, hybrid tea, dark pink, strong damask fragrance
  • Americana, hybrid, strong fragrance, medium red
  • Miss All-American Beauty, hybrid, pink, fragrant
  • Mr. Lincoln, deep red, hybrid tea, long-stemmed rose, fragrant
  • John F. Kennedy, white, hybrid tea, strong fragrance
  • Veteran’s Honor, hybrid tea, dark red, raspberry fragrance
  • American Pride, hybrid tea, large-flowered, dark red, strong fragrance
  • Patriot, large flowered hybrid, dark red, mildly fragrant
  • Peace, pink-yellow, hybrid tea, mild fragrance
  • United States, pernetiana, yellow, rare

Have a great Fourth of July!

Reprinted from permission from Suite 101, Gardening with Soul,  July 2004

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