Monday, June 13, 2011

Summer Color.... Contained!

There's nothing like annual flowers for adding color to a patio, front yard landscape, storefront, office entry or any place that needs a seasonal boost.

And you don’t have to limit yourself to the selection of pots or hanging baskets at your local garden center or home store – container gardening is your chance to get creative and surround yourself with color and style that is uniquely “you.” With just a little work and imagination, you can make a one-of-a-kind elegant, eclectic, vibrant or subtle display that lasts all season.

Containers come in all shapes and sizes so choose whatever appeals to you; just make sure it allows for proper drainage. Punch or drill small holes in the bottom if necessary, or add a layer of gravel to the bottom of the pot to help maintain proper moisture. (Adding gravel also adds weight that can prevent pots from being blown over on a windy day, especially if tall plants make them top heavy.) Also using specially blended potting soil – most varieties include fertilizers and are formulated to hold moisture longer for the best result and more blooms.

More than just traditional geraniums, petunias or potato vines, try new combinations like hybrid varieties, flowering vines, multi-colored foliage, tropical plants, accent trees and ornamental grasses. Try several varieties in complementary colors or mix it up with contrasting shades, textures and heights. Maybe you’ll want to match the colors of your home, follow the color scheme of an upcoming party or try different arrangements for spring, summer and fall.

For more ideas or inspiration, check out our portfolio of annual arrangements or visit - a great source of “recipes” for colorful pots, raised planters or flower boxes.

Whether you buy them or plant them yourself, flower containers need ongoing attention, but the non-stop color is worth the effort. Most annuals come with an information tag that tells you about their height and growth habit as well as light and water needs. Generally, annual plants will require more frequent watering when in a container. Never let the soil dry out completely, and this can mean watering several times a week, or even daily during hot spells. Also consider “deadheading” – pinching off dead flowers so the plant’s energy is focused on forming new buds instead of supporting spent ones. Of course, you’ll need to pull any stray weeds – yes, weeds even find their way into flower pots – and use a “bloom booster” fertilizer as recommended.
Whether they stand alone, in groups to showcase flower varieties or are added to a garden design for special interest, beautiful flowers make summer special, so enjoy these and everything about this wonderful but too-short season!