Do you already decorate the outside of your home for holidays? Maybe you put eggs on a tree for Easter or add pumpkins and containers of colorful chrysanthemums to your porch in the fall.
If you’ve wondered about doing more than flying the flag for the 4th of July, here are two great ideas to start planning for next year.
First, the simple Elderyarding® approach: Containers!
Stop by your local nurseries. When the weather gets really hot, as the rush of customers in the plant nurseries slows down. So it’s a great time for sales on containers. Today’s containers, especially ceramic ones, come in wonderful bright colors – red, yellow, orange, blue, even purple. Blue is often hard to find in flowers. If you’re planning a red, white, and blue scheme that would work for Independence Day, go for the blue containers.
Now, think of how you’ll fill them with red and white flowers. Where will you locate the containers? You want them to look fabulous on the 4th, so consider where they’ll catch your eye and those of your visitors and neighbors. Location, location, location is key. Ask yourself:
- Will the containers be easy to water in location X?
- Will they get full sun, partial sun or shade?
- What side of the house will they be on – the cooler north or maybe the blazing south or west exposures?
A landscaping expert on About.com has suggested red geraniums or snapdragons and white petunias or alyssum. If you’re in Texas, though, you know that these flowers can find our heat and humidity a challenge. Here are some options instead:
- For sun: red and white verbena, Profusion white zinnias, red-blooming pineapple sage, red and white pentas, old-fashioned white cosmos with red celosias
- For partial shade or morning sun/afternoon shade: white leafed caladiums, red salvia, red leafed coleus, white flowered scaevola
- For shade: crocosmia, impatiens in both red and white, wax begonias
Second, the formal, Victorian-style flower bed!
This old-fashioned style of flower bed was very popular in Victorian times. It involves groups of plants with colorful leaves or flowers planted in groups that make patterns. In botanic gardens, you can still see examples of this approach. for Independence Day, a bedding scheme in a botanic garden might be stripes of red and white flowering plants with a big star shape of blue flowersin the the corner to represent the 50 stars on the American flag.
These days, this formal bed is far too much work to use throughout your yard, but consider having one spot filled with colorful annuals blooming their heads off for the 4th of July. If you have a spot where you like to plant annuals anyway, try a formal bed one year with the plants in a special shape. One nice thing about annuals is that you’re not committed to keeping this approach every year!
Many of the plants suggested above would work in a Victorian bed. The key elements for perfect bedding plants are:
- All about the same height
- Bloom at the same time
- Not too competitive with other plants
For a formal bed, remember a bit of maintenance, too. You’ll want to give the plants rich soil, just enough regular moisture, and do fertilize with a formula for flowers. Then prune a bit to keep the plants even height with fading flowers snipped off (deadheaded) and they will continue blooming for you.
As you celebrate the 4th of July this year, stop and take note of what you’d like to have next year so you have time to plan and plant for a perfect Independence Day garden in the future.