RED, WHITE AND BLUE
Plant your own patriotic garden
Nov. 08, 2013
by Marcia Kauffman/Victoria County Master Gardener
Edited by Charla Borchers Leon/Victoria County Master Gardener
The annual Nemophila insignis baby blue eyes is a low-growing trailing plant that blooms blue cup flowers March to May. It is a good choice from a limited list of blue flowering plants and thrives in sandy soil and in rock gardens, wooden tubs and baskets.
The white Nicotiana sylvestris is a perennial with white, tubular blooms. Growing above foliage and with a tobacco scent, it is also known as "flowering tobacco" and can be found in rose to mauve colors. It does well in full sun most of the year but does need some afternoon shade and extra moisture in the heat of the summer.
Salvia splendens blooms in brilliant red from late spring to autumn. This perennial red salvia prefers morning shade and afternoon sun, reaching 20 inches at maturity for mid-level elevation in a landscape.
The American flag and red trellises are shown on the backdrop wall of the Patriotic Garden at Victoria Educational Gardens, which had as its plantings this summer the red bottlebrush, white gaura, Texas Superstar blue plumbago, red firebush, white impatiens and vinca as well as blue daze plants.
The Zinnia elegans provides scarlet red to a sunny garden all summer long. This annual is a perfect choice for late spring through summer and offers a splash of color on a stem 6 to 36 inches in height.
PHOTO BY BRYNN LEE/VICTORIA COUNTY MASTER GARDENER
The blooms of the Clerodendrum incisum provide naming rights to this shrub. "White musical notes" prefer morning sun or filtered shade and reach 4 feet in height with blooms from spring to fall.
Growing up in Pennsylvania, one of the original colonies, I appreciate the dedication of the generations of troops who fought for our country.
Each time I place my hand over my heart to salute our flag or sing our national anthem, I am reminded of the many freedoms and privileges we have in the United States of America.
In tribute to these many troops, I planted a red, white and blue garden. And while some of the plants were seasonal and selected for hot summer months, others thrive into the fall and beyond.
As a group, the plants present a patriotic picture for your planning purposes should you choose to include a red, white and blue garden in your landscape.
Red salvia, or "summer jewel red" or Salvia splendens, is a perennial that blooms from spring to autumn. Within 50 days, this plant can go from seed to a mature plant. It likes morning sun and afternoon shade to reward the grower with its brilliant red blooms. Its mature height is around 20 inches, which can give your garden a little mid-sized elevation. An added bonus of this brilliant, red-colored plant is that it attracts hummingbirds.
The red zinnia, or Zinnia elegans, can add a spark of red to your patriotic garden with its scarlet colors all summer long. These heat-resistant annuals like a sunny area, but will require extra moisture during our hot Texas summer days. However, when watering, don't allow moisture on the leaves, as that can cause mildew. Their mature heights range from 6 to 36 inches.
Nicotiana, or Nicotiana alata or Nicotiana sylvestris, is a perennial often grown for its fragrant, white, tubular blooms. This plant also referred to as flowering tobacco can be found in rose, red, scarlet, lime green and mauve. Although requiring little water, it needs to be watered frequently. Nicotiana can be grown easily from seeds and will reseed itself. Most of the year, it does well in full sun, but in the extreme heat of the south Texas summer, it needs afternoon shade.
You only have to look at musical notes clerodendrum or Clerodendrum incisum to understand why this name was chosen for this plant. This shrub can reach a height of 4 feet when it is grown in full morning sun or filtered shade. It likes well-drained, moist soil but can tolerate dry spells. It blooms from spring to fall.
The blue plumbago, a Texas Superstar, is an evergreen shrub that blooms a sky blue color in full sun. It is native to South Africa but grows well locally in favorable growing conditions with minimal soil preparation, minimal amount of additional water required and no use of pesticides. Also known as sky flower because of its vivid blue color, this shrub will bloom profusely if kept pruned.
For those of you who share your acreage with deer, this shrub is also deer resistant, a plus in Texas.
Growing well in light, sandy soil is baby blue eyes, or Nemophila insignis. This annual blooms from March to May in partial shade with moderate water. This is a low-growing plant with blue cup-shaped flowers. It reaches a height between 6 to 12 inches, making it a good one for rock gardens or areas requiring different elevations.
Garden art in plans
When I was planning my garden I thought of the space and varieties of height, color and texture. I used white lantana in front, blue plumbago in the middle and the red bottlebrush in the back of the garden. A variation of this for a smaller garden could be white petunias, blue daze and red salvia. There are countless variations of the theme. Don't forget a little yard art to add even more color as well as the U.S. flag on patriotic days.
As we celebrate another Veterans Day, my hat goes off to the many veterans who have served their country and especially to those who laid down their lives out of love for their country.
The Gardeners' Dirt is written by members of the Victoria County Master Gardener Association, an educational outreach of Texas AgriLife Extension - Victoria County. Mail your questions in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901; or firstname.lastname@example.org, or comment on this column at www.VictoriaAdvocate.com.
VARIATIONS OF RED, WHITE AND BLUE PLANTINGS
Red bottlebrush, white mistflower, blue daze
Red zinnias, white musical notes, blue vitex
Red bottlebrush, white gaura, blue plumbago
Red firebush, white petunias, blue daze.
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