Every year it seems I discover some new plant that I've never heard of before. As soon as I hear about the new variety, it seems to be everywhere.
This year I was looking for something different for a large limestone urn at the corner of my house. I force tulips for it in the spring, then like to have something flowering all summer. In the fall, after frost, I usually put an Alberta spruce in the urn to give interest over the winter.
This year I was at a nursery and noticed a begonia called 'Firecracker'. It has a trailing habit and orange-red blooms that look like bells. I'd never seen it before and the tag said it was sun tolerant, so I thought I'd give it a try. I also discovered a plant called Bacopa - another plant I'd never seen before! It has either white or blue-violet flowers, so I thought the blue variety would make a good compliment to the begonias.
The urn is large (42" in diameter) so I wanted something taller in the center. I selected an old favorite - a tried-and-true bush variety hibiscus with double orange blooms. I planted the urn in mid-May, after the tulips finished, and I'm happy with how the plants have performed so far. The Bacopa seems to bloom in cycles - lots of blooms, then just a few, then lots again. Today, there are just a few blooms.
VERY nice! The begonia firecracker and the bacopa were new to me last summer. I've always had good luck with begonias in containers. I think containers are so much fun...thanks for posting. LOVE orange too. I have a question on the Alberta spruce. Do you purchase one in a pot and put the pot and all in there for the winter andhat do you do with it in the spring? thanks Leawood...kim
I've done my Alberta Spruce both ways, Kimmy. The first few winters I planted it directly in the urn, then it occurred to me that, when I remove it in the spring, I'm disturbing the roots. The last few years I've left it in the plastic pot from the nursery so I can plant it in my border somewhere in the spring without damaging the root system.
Don't you love the leaves on the varietal begonias? These are spectacular. I especially like the dragon wing and angel wing. Last year a friend gave me a couple leaves from a round-leaf begonia he had in a planter. They rooted and I held them over last winter in my basement. I brought one outside (one didn't make it through the winter in my basement) and it sits beneath a table on my patio, where it gets plenty of light, but no sun. It seems happy. It bloomed over the winter, but the blooms aren't what I like - I love the gloss and texture of the leaves.
Even below the table it gets the entire color spectrum with indirect light. Looking very good!
Luckily the angel wing and dragon wing have not been bothered (bite my tongue) with insect damage as the other plants have. My picotee begonia overwintered very well. It went outside, and pouf! It just died.
About a month later as I was about to use the container for something else, I and thought I was pulling on a weed. She's alive and well and making new foliage. And by the way, now sitting with the others that get only morning sun on the north side of the house.
I have a very good friend who grew up on a farm, and she thinks that plants that like shade need no light (indoors). It is a difficult concept for many people.
The threat of frost last week forced me to take the hibiscus out of my planter and bring it indoors for the winter (the double tangerine color is a favorite), but I left the begonias and bacopa for the elements to claim.
Sure enough, the frost killed the begonias instantly, but the bacopa are still hanging in there after several nights below 32 degrees.
I killed my camera in August, so this is from my cell phone - sorry it's on the side.