Home & Garden

Colourful container gardens

Author: Canadian Living

Home & Garden

Colourful container gardens

Spring punch

Season: Early spring (frost-tolerant plants)

Description:
With a punch of orange and purple, this combination of plants brightens even the dullest entranceway. The centrepiece is false spirea, whose feathery, orange-tinged leaves are complemented by the rust-coloured foliage of 'Southern Comfort' coral bells and the bicoloured blooms of violas. Mounds of 'Angelart Orange' nemesia are the ideal fillers to place among them.

Tips and tricks:
Like a good bottle of wine, this container won't last long, but the memories can last a lifetime. As the temperature heats up, this combination will start to lose its appeal: The violas will stretch and the coral bells will wither.

The coral bells should be removed and placed in a shady location in the garden, where they will come back year after year. False spirea is an extremely vigorous-growing shrub. I recommend removing it from the container in late spring and planting it in the garden.

Nemesia will survive and thrive during the summer months. The violas can be cut back by half and planted in the garden. They will return when cooler temperatures arrive in fall.

Lemon and lime

Season: Early Spring (frost-hardy plants to -5°C/23°F)

Description:
One of the surest signs of the upcoming growing season is forsythia blooming in the neighbourhood. Many gardeners use the yellow blooms as a cue to apply fertilizer to the lawn.

The central colours of this early spring container are the warm yellow of forsythia complemented by the wonderful chartreuse foliage of 'Lime Rickey' coral bells. This bright combination works well in large spaces: It delivers a splash of in-your-face colour, along with the osteospermum and the 'Matrix Yellow Blotch' pansies.

Tips and tricks:
'Margarita' osteospermum and 'Matrix' pansies are two recent additions to the group of early-flowering plants that can withstand summer heat. Older varieties of osteospermum bloom in spring and fall, while remaining dormant in summer. The 'Margarita' variety, however, will bloom all season long.

In early summer, you can start replanting the osteospermum, pansies and coral bells in the garden. You may find that the forsythia stems have rooted and you can replant these too. But remember, the mature shrub will need a space two metres (six feet) wide by two metres high in full sun.

This story was originally titled "Hot For Pots" in the May 2012 issue.

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