Container: bright, sparkling flowers
Hanging flower pot closeup of summer vibrant calibrachoa flowers by painted house
With all the rain, most gardens are at their best, but why not take it up a notch for the festive season.
Bright, sparkling, flower-filled containers make an immediate impact. Planting them up within the next few days allows the plants to settle in, figure out where the sun is, and be ready to show off by Christmas. Containers are a quick fix, or a quick fixer upper for a garden that needs some focus or structure. Containers shouldn’t just hang around doorways and entrances like bored adolescents. Put them to works as a focal point, in the middle of a bed or at the end of a vista.
The colours of the plants in the container should be brighter than the surrounding plants: it helps draw the
eye and make a strong point. If you are going to frame an entrance or doorway, use matching containers and choose plants that are naturally neat or compact growers. It should not be necessary to hand guests a machete to hack their way into your home. Impatiens Beacon provides a round cushion of long-lasting colour that needs very little maintenance, except watering.
Divert attention away from one part of the garden to another by using containers. They can screen off a section or draw attention to a seating area
within the garden, inviting one to walk there. Bridge the gap between garden and home by using containers placed near the edge of the patio. Don’t make the containers too tall because they should not block view into the garden.
In new gardens, annuals in containers dress up space around trees or next to the patio, while you figure out the permanent planting. They fill out
quickly and make it easy to experiment with colours, varieties, and plant sizes.
Gardening under trees is always difficult and containers can be a permanent solution. It is easier to manage moisture. Most plants can be grown
successfully in containers, but some are more equal than most.
Here are five to try out:
Impatiens Beacon Rose is the latest colour in the new disease resistant impatiens range. This variety develops into a nicely mounded plant, 25 to 30cm high and wide. It is good for areas that only receive partial sun or bright shade. Impatiens like
consistently moist but not soggy soil, which means using a good quality potting mix.
Fuchsia Bella is another shade lover for under trees or as a feature on a patio that doesn’t bake in the sun. The plants are very compact and flower throughout summer. Like impatiens, they need a fertile, moist but well-drained potting mix. Remove faded blooms as well as the developing seed pod/fruit behind them.
Sun-loving calibrachoa Goodnight Kiss grows into a well-rounded plant that amply fills containers and large hanging baskets. The flowers stay open under low light conditions and drop off cleanly. Best of all, flowering is not affected by midsummer heat. Water regularly, especially those in hanging baskets.
Interspecific geranium Marcada is a cross that combines the weather-hardiness, and massive flower power in summer, producing a dense canopy of flowers above the foliage. The single flowers drop off cleanly, the plant branches well, producing a full look. They need to be kept dryer than other varieties.
Begonia Funky has extra-large, double blooms in rich colours. The flowers dangle from weeping stems on well-rounded plants. Plants have a height and spread of 20cm, with large, serrated olive-green leaves that show off the funky colours of the flowers. They thrive on a mix of morning sun and afternoon shade.
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