In the Garden:
Coastal and Tropical South
May, 2005
Regional Report

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Add pots of petunias to any area of the garden for fast color that lasts all season.

Quick Garden Color

Watching a new basket of petunias come into bloom literally overnight reminded this gardener just how easy it is to add color to the summer garden. Why the rush? Sometimes a person just doesn't get around to planting annual flowers on time. Maybe there's a new baby, or an illness in the home, or a winning soccer season, or all three at once. You know flowers would be nice, but there hasn't been time to do more than mow the yard.

One year, the son comes home to say he wants to get married ... in a month ... in the garden. There's always a need for more color when guests are coming! Other years, it's time to sell the house, and suddenly the shrubs don't look so great. Color means curb appeal.

Simple Touches
Bringing color into the garden quickly can be as easy as making room for lots of containers and a few colorful accent pieces to set them off. It can be as fast as planting three flats of petunias or periwinkles across the front of the house. But for greater impact, spring for two tree-form hibiscus and three large trellises full of mandevilla. Position them across the porch, around the edge of the deck, or let one of the mandevillas climb up the mailbox or lamp post. Put a huge fern on a stand or in an urn next to the front door, or plant a row of colorful coleus (they're all the rage again) along the driveway to brighten up the bed of evergreen ground cover there. Use primary colors to draw attention to the front of your home, so it stands out and welcomes passersby.

Colorful Pots
Take a look at a group of container plants you think is attractive. Chances are there is diversity in the plants and in the pots themselves. For huge impact, follow that lead. You can paint a collection of small clay pots in primary colors, then slip small shrubs like boxwood in them to lead the way for guests or the bride and groom.

Or go in the other direction, and use plastic pots. Gather a group of different-sized pots, some round, others long and boxy, still others shaped like large, low bowls. Go to the garden center and buy whatever's in bloom or nearly so and fill the pots. Grab a couple of pots of something green and trailing to finish them off and unify the collection with one common plant.

Or dig up some of that rampant ivy from the side yard that you've been meaning to cut back. The whole project might take two hours and, except for watering and fertilizing weekly, the flowers are yours for months. Arrange that collection of pots where you'll see them on your way in and out, and even the busiest day can bloom.


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