(Editor's Note: This article was originally published on July 4, 2008. Your comments are welcome, but please be aware that authors of previously published articles may not be able to promptly respond to new questions or comments.)
Barbeques, watermelons, parades, and fireworks. These are things we associate with the Fourth of July in the United States of America. This is the date many see as the official start of summer. We fly our flags high and proud. We take the children to play at the lakes and oceans. Barbeque pits are fired up around the nation and blankets are spread on the ground at dusk to watch brilliant light shows in every community. We sing from our hearts, "America The Beautiful", "My Country ‘Tis of Thee", "This Land is Your Land" and other patriotic tunes.
On this day, begins the lazy, hazy days of summer for most Americans. Most gardeners have already been tilling, hoeing, seeding, weeding and watering for three or four months by the time July rolls around. Some even planting seeds in their home in the middle of winter to get a head start on the season.
There has been a trend for many years now to plant patriotic gardens. They stand out in neighborhoods all over like the north star in the black night. A patriotic garden appears to be very well manicured and in part this is due to flowers with like bloom colors being planted together.
If you would like to show your patriotism this Independence Day but did not plan a lavishly laid out garden space in advance, you can create several simple containers that will accomplish the same look, though on a smaller scale.
First you will need containers. Any container will do. You can always spray paint it the color you would like it to be. Find the perfect spot for your display. It may be on the front porch of your home, window boxes, out by the curb or lining your walkway. Wherever you decide to place your containers, you will want to fill them with blooms in red, white and blue. There is time before the barbeque is fired up and the family starts stirring to get down to your local discount store and purchase plants. If there is a nursery open in your area on holidays, all the better, they will have a more varied selection to choose from. While you are at the discount store, grab a few tiny flags, sparkly stars and other things to stick in the pots with the flowers. This will add a more festive look to your display.
Below is a short list of plants and the colors of their blooms. They are a mix of annuals and perennials.
- Alyssum Lobularia maritima (white flowers)
- Blue Flax Linum perenne (blue flowers)
- Blue Salvia Salvia farinacea (blue flowers)
- Cardinal flower Lobelia cardinalis (red flowers)
- Desert petunia Ruellia brittoniana (white flowers)
- Edging Lobelia Lobelia erinus (white flowers)
- Harebell Campanula rotundifolia (Blue and white flowers)
- Red Salvia Salvia miniata (red flowers)
- Sapphire Salvia Salvia sinaloensis (blue flowers)
- Shasta daisy Leucanthemum x superbum (white flowers)
- Sweet William Dianthus barbatus (red flowers)
- White Penta Pentas lanceolata 'Butterfly White' (white flowers)
These plants should be blooming when purchased and placed in their containers. Planting all three colors in one container will make a lovely red, white and blue statement. A single color in a single container works well when containers are grouped in threes. Lining them along the walkway to your home with a small American Flag between each container says to the entire neighborhood, "I'm a proud American."
I should mention Petunias, especially the newer "Wave" petunias make wonderful additions to your hanging pots or stand alone containers. They can be found in a variety of vivid colors and are dependable bloomers. Below are two examples of petunias in containers.
Photo courtesy of DG
You will be able to enjoy your hurried patriotic display throughout the long summer months.
Photo courtesy of DG
As great as it is to have a long weekend off work to spend with family and friends, it is more important to celebrate the meaning of the day. It is Independence Day. The anniversary of the day our Declaration of Independence was signed. July 4, 1776. Church bells rang out in Philadelphia on that day long ago and we are still celebrating today.
God Bless America and thank you to our forefathers for being forward thinkers.
Photographs: flag/flowers in stone and flower pots with flags courtesy of 'ladyheart' Morgue File.
'A Glorious Fourth' photograph courtesy of Karen's Whimsy.