Sunday, 22 January 2012

Red-White-and-Blue (and Rainbows, too)


This weekend's post as intended focuses on the Ornamental Garden, but is taking a little meander into June 2012 - the red-white-and-blue should give you a clue. The Queen's Jubilee, of course, and a coincidence. A flyer that arrived by email regarding Dobies plants available by post, coupled with news from our village flower show committee that we are to ‘have a bit of a do’, reminded me of previous royal occasions when villagers hung out flags, organized street parties, and the like.  With plants available in such patriotic colours, front gardens should offer a splendid tribute – a joyous celebration all summer; and one that assuredly will be duplicated all over the country.

Plant up your front border with a colour riot that could resemble the Union Jack, or fill pots and hanging baskets with a mix of plants, or single colours that might be even more dramatic. Here’s what is on offer: Geranium (pelargonium) St George (see photo above) is a two colour mix in fiery red and white-white, boasting large, weather-tolerant flowers and attractively zoned foliage. Ideal for patio containers or bedding, you can buy these as ‘easiplants’ with delivery late April, or ‘garden plants’ in late May. Easier to grow are Impatiens, also available in a blend of mainly red and white, as ‘miniplants’ in mid-April and ‘easiplants’ at the end of the month.


You'll also need blue flowers for your patriotic theme. There’s a choice: Ageratum ‘Blue Mist’ –  vigorous, spreading plants of level, compact growth which become clothed in clusters of mid-blue blooms, set off to great effect by the dark green foliage; superb for bedding and containers,  and available as ‘miniplants’ (late April), ‘easiplants’ in May, or ‘garden plants’ in late May. 


Lobelia ‘Crystal Palace’ has deep blue flowers with Compact bronze-leaved plants. Renowned for its performance throughout the summer months, lasting up to first frosts if it is kept well watered. Available as ‘miniplants’ or ‘easiplants’ in late April; the ‘miniplants’ are multi-sown and each plug contains approximately 3-4 seedlings. 

Or go for something quite different: the dramatic and spiky Salvia ‘Victorian Splendour’. Renowned since the Victorian era for the long-lasting displays it puts on in parks and gardens each summer, this gorgeous salvia creates a mesmerising show when planted en-masse, or amongst the red and white geraniums lists above. A bonus is that he narrow spikes of royal blue flowers are also excellent for cutting. Available as ‘pot-ready’ plants in late April.

Annuals grown from seed in an eco-friendly potager
Maybe you are not the patriotic type, or find red, white and blue somewhat too blatant and in any case prefer a mixed border of annuals. Choose from a selection of bedding annuals – mixed or otherwise – click here; or flowers for hanging baskets – click here; or sow some hardy annuals, really easy – click here for Dobies range of flower seeds.

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