This is an exciting time of year for container garden designers. I was asked recently if I ever ran out of ideas. Well it hasn't happened yet thanks in no small part to my clients themselves who like to keep me on my gardening toes! Here are a couple of this year's requests and my interpretation. Bear in mind that these are all very new plantings and will grow considerably during the season.
Happy Colors – this must be my favorite description! What does this conjure up to you? Perhaps another way of saying the same thing – but not nearly so much fun would be 'bold, bright and colorful'. Think hot pink/ purple/ chartreuse or red/ yellow/ white or perhaps orange/ blue/ lime. I use both foliage and flowers to provide the color as either one alone wouldn't quite hit the mark.
I also make sure that there are plenty of bold shapes such as the large leaves and flowers of non-stop begonias and sweet potato vines for impact. Colorful coleus are invaluable in these schemes with many sun tolerant varieties now being available. Golden Zagreb tickseed (Coreopsis verticillata) mingling with the darker leaved Gartenmeister fuchsia or boldly variegated Tropicana canna adds summer long color while brightly colored million bells, verbena and geraniums are all reliable performers.
Romantic and feminine – at first I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to meet this clients expectations but I needn't have worried and it has been a fun challenge to always give her the wow factor each season. This lovely lady has a very specific wish list; silver, white, pink and soft green was THE color palette. No exceptions! And it was all about the flowers and fragrance – the headier the perfume the better. So I began to look for long blooming annuals and perennials with an airy look and delicate variegated foliage that was also fragrant (I had to get a good backbone of foliage in there somehow)!
Winners have included star jasmine, lilies, gardenias, white heliotrope and 'Gourmet popcorn' rose for intoxicating fragrance. Pale pink yarrow (Achillea sp.), pink and white whirling butterflies (Gaura sp.) and annual cosmos provide months of color while having a feminine appeal.
Variegated marjoram and 'Silver edge' lavender bring sparkle to the foliage line up and a sneaky 'Kent beauty' oregano, featured recently in my blog brings the softest shades of pink and green plus a light herbal fragrance. This one looks pretty unassuming right now but after a month's growth I'm anticipating an excited email !
Watch for future posts on more creative color inspiration including a contemporary theme and examples of how I translated my sunset color scheme to this year's container designs.