Everyday Gardeners

Plant. Grow. Live.


Driving around town I see a lot of homes that decorate their front steps with a pair of lovely container gardens. It’s a classic look, but if you would like to amp it up a notch, try a group of containers.

While the example shown here is a little over the top, it may be easy to imagine how two groups of three containers flanking your door brings on more impact than just two pots — especially if you use containers of different sizes to add varying heights.

One lesson I do really like in this example, though, is the study in contrasts. You have rich dark foliage from Alternantera ‘Black Varnish’ with black mondo grass artfully playing off yellow calibrachoa and lantana (and the gold in the edges of the coleus in the background). The shades of lavender and blue from calibrachoa, verbena, and scaevola offer a contrast, too.

Another way to make it extra special? Add sweet scents from plants such as heliotrope, lemon verbena, and stock.

You may have heard by now that the Pantone fashion color report has designated Tangerine Tango as the must-have color for 2012. This reddish orange tone is not for the timid! The vibrant hue makes a bold fashion statement, whether you use it in home decor or in the landscape. It’s a festive color that infuses a happy mood. But it can be difficult to use in combination with other colors. Try it with blues and purples, which are complementary colors. Or go with reds and yellows, which cluster with orange on the color wheel.

If you’d like to inject some fashionable color in your yard in 2012, here are some suggestions for flowers that provide a punch of orange.

Row 1 (left to right): 'Sunset' daylily, 'Nonstop Apricot' tuberous begonia, Oriental poppy; Row 2: 'Safari Tangerine' French marigold, 'Sunny Susy Orange' thunbergia, 'Sunpatiens Compact Orange' impatiens; Row 3: 'Vavoom' rose, 'Warm Igloo' chrysanthemum, 'Zahara Double Fire' zinnia

Row 1 (left to right): Butterfly milkweed, 'Dreamsicle' calibrachoa, California poppy; Row 2: Clivia, 'Campfire' crassula, 'Mystic Haze' dahlia; Row 3: Crown imperial fritillaria, 'Intrigue' canna, 'Landmark Citrus' lantana

The Hotel Del Coronado as seen from the beach

Last week I was fortunate enough to spend a couple of days at the Hotel del Coronado in the San Diego area, courtesy of the hotel and Proven Winners. The historic hotel, which fans of Marilyn Monroe will recognize as one of the settings for the movie ‘Some Like It Hot’, has recently undergone a landscape renovation featuring Proven Winners plants planted and maintained by the Brickman Group landscape maintenance firm.

The results are spectacular. Bold colors from annuals, perennials, and succulents in landscape beds, hanging baskets, and raised planters throughout the hotel grounds provide a welcome change from customary humdrum hotel landscapes consisting of sheared shrubs with a few token splashes of color.

The new gardens are an extension of the hotel’s original enclosed courtyard patio garden and existing sustainable vegetable and herb garden, which provided some of the delicious food we enjoyed at elegant dinners and receptions. Labels throughout the gardens identify the plants so that visitors can duplicate their favorite plant combinations in their own gardens.

You can see some a few of the plant combinations below. If more commercial landscapes and public spaces would follow the lead of the Hotel del Coronado, I believe that more homeowners would be inspired to upgrade their home landscapes and everyone would benefit from the greater beauty and diversity afforded by such plantings. As you can see from these photos, you can start small, and still pack a punch with a few well-placed plants.

View of the herb garden from the balcony of my room

Hanging baskets with Lucia Dark Blue lobelia, Supertunia Giant Pink petunia, Snow Princess alyssum, and Superbells Yellow Chiffon calibrachoa

Succulent bed with Lemon Coral Sedum rupestre, Zorro Echeveria, Maraca Portulaca molokiniensis, Tiptop Aeonium arborescens, and Topsy Turvy Echeveria runyonii

Campfire Crassula coccinea glows with color in this beachfront planting.

Planting bed combination of Supertunia Sangria Charm, Supertunia Vista Bubblegum, Lucia Dark Blue lobelia, and Blue Mohawk Juncus effusus

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