Flower Bed Contest Grand Prize
Flower beds are the prettiest right after you’ve made all your flower choices, planted them, and tucked that rich mulch around each friendly little bloom, right? If you put enough thought into the design before the digging, you are likely to have increased enjoyment all summer long.
Every year I choose the popcorn plant to grow beside the rock. It’s fun to watch the tender stalk spread and become sturdy and towering. And doesn’t a big plant belong beside a big rock? It takes till fall for it to reach its showy peak.
Red Knock Out® roses were nestled beside the rock when we moved to this place. I left them there because I think rocks and roses sing the same song. They flaunt their exuberance in the spring and summer before the popcorn plant pops out all its yellow puffs. I’ve learned to keep watch for the destructive beetles and be ready with Sevin® dust.
The blue salvia complements the roses and the popcorn plant in color and form. An added bonus is all the happy bees, butterflies, and moths that the salvia sweetly summons. Can you spot the creamy heads of the marigolds sprinkled in? I thought the blue and cream harmonized so well. Marigolds is a synonym to deadheading, though!
Snowy dusty millers were chosen to be the perfect soft filler between the blue and black and pink in this oblong flower bed. If they don’t damp off early, they can grow into surprisingly sturdy bushes.
The contrast of black sweet potato vine with flashy Lipstick Impatiens creates a stunning border. I placed the impatiens in clusters of three between each sweet potato vine to better match volume. The aggressive vines still needed an occasional trimming.
Standing on display directly in front of the rock are two coral SunPatiens® coordinated with the lime Creeping Jenny surrounding them. If they have plenty of sun and water, they are sure to impress till frost.
The biggest help to growing an eye-catching flower bed is to be in charge of planning one year after year. You will learn your flowers. You’ll learn which plants do perform in your shady corner and which ones prefer buckets of sunshine. The variety of flowers is great enough for everyone to suit their taste and terrain. There are so many kinds and colors, shapes and styles. Plant them in rows, in blocks, or at random. Make a tidy bed of only three colors or a loose bed with all colors strewn in. Using a color scheme does help keep it attractive.
Maybe you don’t have a huge rock from a dynamiting project or a park bench from a birthday gift to bring inspiration. Just a stump or stone or step adds character to your flower bed. And definitely plant something to attract those species that fly and flutter, and hum and buzz. Zinnias especially are colorful magnets for all kinds of butterflies. Another fun idea to try in your flower bed is to snip a trail through vigorous blooms. Vinca and lantana make excellent borders to trim.
Does it seem complicated? It’s not. Flowers add beauty in the middle of a weed patch. Even though runaway heifers sample the sweet potato vine, the little girls trample on the vinca, and an unexpected late frost takes a hearty bite from the SunPatiens®, you might yet have a flower bed that you look at and say, “Let’s take a picture of it!” Or if not, maybe next year!