Question from Jackie:
Pat, HELP! I’m having a wedding in my back yard in mid July. What flowers or beds of flowers can I plant now that will show beautifully in July? Thanks for any help you can give me
Answer from Pat:
First, do not worry too much. You are beginning really early. Are you thinking of planting summer flowers in beds? Or are you thinking of container plants, such as hanging baskets and big tubs?
Additionally, you did not say what climate zone you are in. Coastal or inland? But for Southern California in general, here is what I recommend. For big 18-inch or larger tubs, I would suggest filling when the time is closer with a variety of large flowering plants in full bloom, including Calabrochia ‘Supertunia’ and ‘Superbells’, Cleome ‘Rose Queen’, ‘Helen Campbell’, and ‘Seniorita Rosalita’, Hydrangea, Russellia, Verbena ‘Superbena’ and others, Angelonia ‘Angelface’, Cuphea llavea ‘Totally Tempted’, Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’, Laguna ‘Sky Blue’ lobelia, Osteospermum ‘Lemon Symphony’ and ‘Soprano’ hybrids, ‘Peacock Buddlea’, ‘Broadway lights’ Leucanthemum, and so many others you can find in bloom shortly before the time arrives. There is just so much summer color available in June or July. Start now filling beds and pots with small sizes of these named above or wait and purchase them already grown to large 8-inch size.
For a flower bed of annual flowers (coastal or inland) in full sun that will be in full bloom in July do the following: First dig up the soil to the depth of a foot, backing up as you go so you do not step on the soil you have dug up and turned over. Next, spread and then dig into the ground a 4-inch layer of well composted organic soil amendment (i.e.: bagged or trucked compost). After that, sprinkle on balanced granulated fertilizer recommended for flower beds, according to package directions and use a cultivator to combine with the top 6 inches of soil. Finally, plant from pony packs or small 4-inch pots in big drifts (to avoid a spotty look). Plant as soon as the weather warms up, usually in late April inland or in early May along the coast. Keep irrigated and fed. Deadhead to keep plants blooming. Place most of the tall things in the back and lower plants towards the front, though you can have a few tall things further forward to mix things up a bit. Pay attention to color schemes arrange the plants into good color combinations. (See what I have said on the subject of color combinations elsewhere on this blog.) Here is just one discussion of color schemes and good color combos: http://patwelsh.com/wpmu/blog/landscape-design/great-garden-combinations/
Plant the small sizes of what I suggested above or here are good annual plants to choose for full sun in summer flower beds: Cosmos, cleome, Gaillardia ‘Arizona Sun’, gomphrena, marigolds, petunias, salvia, Shasta Daisy (cut a foot off the top of Shasta daisies in May and they will bloom in July instead of June), verbena, zinnias. Scarlet sage (Salvia splendens takes full sun coastal, part shade inland. Under trees inland, full sun coastal try white calla lilies. Lobelia also in full sun coastal, part shade inland. White sweet allyssum makes a great flower bed edging in sun or shade. Deep blue ‘Crystal Palace’ lobelia looks great next to red geraniums or bright yellow marigolds in pots or the ground. Redbeckia ‘Cherokee Sunset’ does not do well along the coast but is great inland. Lions tail (Leonitus leonurus) blooms year round and takes off well in hot weather. A good choice for the back of beds.
Among begonias: semperflorens begonias, ‘Richmondensis’ begonia, and ‘Dragon Wing’ begonia also take full sun along the coast, part shade inland. Also use the two latter in large pots. Tuberous begonias are elegant in pots or hanging baskets for east-facing sun. (Morning sun under overhang or under a tree, with afternoon shade.)
If you prefer to go with large plants in full bloom, in eight-inch size that can be put into an 18-inch tub, look for Proven Winners varieties. (I named many of these above.) One great way to go is simply to visit a specialty nursery a week before a wedding and jam a truck full of plants in full bloom. Swing the hanging baskets from trees or from hooks fixed onto fences or hang them on metal stakes with hooks on them. (Available at bird supply stores, these are designed for holding bird feeders above ground and can be shoved into the ground.) Plants already in bloom can be used also for filling sudden disaster spots or large tubs and window boxes all over your property. Calobrochia is an obvious choice as well as Scaevola, russellia, verbena, and many others. See page 189 forward in my book for more ideas.
In semi-shade: in big tubs or the ground go for impatiens, beafsteak plant (Perilla frutescens). Look for ‘Fancy Fringe’ Series and ‘Magilla Purple’ and fuchsia. I am always telling gardeners who are planning a wedding to go look at specialty nurseris such as Weidner’s Gardens in Leucadia that specialize in large plants in full bloom and when the wedding gets close, just back up the truck! It’s too early now to see the summer flowers in full bloom but as soon as the weather warms up you will see a display such as no one can adequately describe. Start now and you can do it too. Or go later and do “instant wedding garden” with no hassle and virtually no work other than sticking things into pots or the ground and keeping them watered until the wedding.
No related articles.