My Summer Containers for Sun: Meh.
The good news is that I continue to gain useful experience on how to put together summer containers for sun. The not-so -good news is that this year’s containers are pretty unsatisfying.
One lesson from last year that I tried to remember in 2015 is that when you have a whole bunch of containers, not every one of them needs a tall, attention-grabbing plant (the thriller of the thriller-filler-spiller formula).
There are about a dozen containers lined up on the walk to the front door. Initially I put some tallish ‘Evolution’ Mealycup Sage (Salvia farinacea) in a couple of containers at the top of the steps on the right, then one Cigar Plant (Cuphea ignea) on the left.
The other plants I used were mounding (with one exception): Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima), Pentas ‘Butterfly Red’ (Pentas lanceolata), and French Marigold ‘Disco Red’ (Tagetes patula).
The one exception was a compact Nasturtium, ‘Empress of India’ (Tropaeolum majus), which I think of as having more of a weeping habit.
So it turns out that a row of mounding plants in containers does not always make much of a visual impact, so I added two ‘Perfume Deep Purple’ Flowering Tobacco (Nicotania x sanderae). At first I was really pleased with the results, but this plant just would not keep blooming once the weather turned really hot. Next year I will go with more annual Salvia, but something taller than ‘Evolution’ – maybe ‘Mystic Spires’.
I’m fairly happy with the ‘Disco Red’ Marigolds, though they were a little slow to fill in and bloom vigorously. They have single flowers, opening red and fading to orange.
It’s odd that many “serious” gardeners avoid Marigolds. They are too easy, too common, too much associated with free little seed packets given to children. I think this attitude is silly.
I do wonder, though, about the cultivar name ‘Disco Red’. Was it inspired by some ginger-haired dancing queen? Or by some revolutionary agitator with a weakness for the BeeGees? We may never know.
Also, why are the tall Marigolds called African Marigolds (Tagetes erecta) and the short ones French Marigolds? They all come from Mexico, not France or Africa. Another mystery.
The results with the ‘Empress of India’ Nasturtiums were very uneven. The ones in pots at the top of the steps, partly shaded by the house, grew nice and full and flowered adequately. Those in pots in full sun along the walk sulked. I would have expected the opposite.
The Sweet Alyssum, though, have really been outstanding this year. No matter what the weather, they refuse to stop flowering and perfuming the air. It was the Sweet Alyssum in shade, and not in sun, that had to take a breather and was in need of a shearing – the opposite of what I would expect.
The Cigar Plant in the pot on the stump in the Lamppost Bed has done pretty well, though it’s companions may need more regular watering than I’ve been giving them.
Are you happy with your containers in sun this year?