Balmy weather brings everyone out from indoors. It’s as if the cooler months have left us hungry for sunshine, fragrance, dappled shade and summer birdsong. We gather outside more often: for a bright breakfast al fresco with coffee and the news, a sunny barbeque lunch with the family, or a dinner at dusk surrounded by friends as the sun sets late. With all this extra activity going on, it’s nice to have these spaces looking good. And the fastest way to do that is to bring in the large containers and plant them to overflowing with truly lovely plants. What follows is some inspiration based around just two heroic plants – canna Tropicanna and the Sweet Spot rose.
Decorate your outdoor living space during these warmer months with glorious pots full of texture and color.
Here’s Canna Tropicanna with its candy-striped foliage, standing proud in a matt black pot. Filling in around its base and spilling over the rim is an unruly mix of green punctuated by the yellow zinnias. This is the basic theory – thriller, filler & spiller – in action, and the yellow in the flowers picks up the yellow stripe in the Tropicannas
This combo is even simpler given there are just two plants in action here: Canna Tropicanna and a pale purple petunia. Oddly enough, the color combination works even though your head tells you it shouldn’t, but that’s thanks to the outrageous color mix in the canna foliage.
This combo is a study in working the color wheel so that you play the opposite colors against each other. The red foliaged plants – canna and coleus – are offset with the feathery green of the soon-to-flower marigolds.
Here the spiller and filler plantings (French marigolds, sweet potato vine and calibrochoa Superbells) take their cues from the colors in the Tropicanna foliage. A rainbow riot can be found in the stripes on the broad-leafed foliage – orange, lime, sunny yellows and reds. Any flowering annuals with these colors would look as good as this.
This punch of color clearly comes from the painted blue wall. Painting your setting in saturated hues like this works its magic – foliage plants will pop against the background.
But not all pot decorating needs to be on a big, grand scale. Table-top sized pots will dress the space, especially when planted with something as engaging as this lovely little rose, the soft yellow Sweet Spot Decorator Rose.
Strictly speaking a trike basket is not a garden container, but it’s a lovely moment to share…
And another great container plant moment: a mixed planting where the central hero is the Tropicanna… here in the streets of Chicago.