By Jodi Torpey
A summer garden isn’t complete without containers of flowering annuals. If you think you can’t create the same stunning annual containers as the experts, think again. You can stretch your gardening creativity even further because you know what you like best.
There are no rules when planting a flowering container, just a few guidelines. First, remember the thriller, spiller, and filler combination of plants. The thriller is the look-at-me plant; the filler spreads out; and the spiller trails down the sides.
Second, before you start shopping for annuals, take a good look at where you’re going to plant them. Think about the colors and heights of your containers, and the mood you want to create with each flowering arrangement.
As I headed to my nearest Lowe’s garden center, I decided on a cool color combination of purples and whites, with a dash of sunny yellow.
Instead of planting a typical green spike as the thriller in my large terra-cotta-color container, I selected purple fountain grass. In the Mountain region this perennial ornamental grass is grown as an annual, and planted for its striking dark-purple foliage.
By the middle of the summer, the grass is several feet tall and has fuzzy purple plumes. The fount of purple leaves complements the perky purple and white African daisies, the dark midnight purple petunias, and the cascading flowers of a Cabaret Deep Yellow calibrachoa, right. Delicate white sweet alyssum fills in along the edge.
In addition to the large flowering container, I planted an annual hanging basket. Last year I filled the basket with eye-popping Shock Wave Coral Crush petunias, but I wanted something different this year. I planted edibles with the flowers.
The first annual I picked for the hanging basket is a SuperCal called Vanilla Blush. This cross between a calibrachoa and a petunia combines the best qualities of both plants. The showy flowers have dry instead of sticky leaves, and they stand up to hot summer weather. Caibrachoa is sometimes called Million Bells, which gives a clue to its nonstop blooming potential.
The thriller for the hanging basket is ‘Fernleaf’ dill. I’ll snip the aromatic frilly foliage of this compact herb to use as seasoning in summer salads and sauces.
Although it looks lovely with pink SuperCal, white sweet alyssum, and yellow calibrachoa, I plan to add a 'SunSugar' cherry tomato to the container as an additional spiller. That way I can enjoy the super sweet fruits throughout the summer.
What ideas do you have for thinking outside the box for your containers this season?