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Color Your Garden, Color Your Life
By Amanda Whatley Owen

web posted March 5, 2018

GARDENING -  Last week we touched on a few different types of foundation plants and their many benefits.  To me, that is the hard part.  Now that we've broken up those long construction lines with our foundation plants, we are going to look at filling in around those plants.
 
I love picking out the perennials and annuals, because it is a chance to add color and life to your canvas.  This is your chance to make a statement, and put your signature on this work of art!  With such a wide variety to choose, and sort through, at your local nursery or garden center, I thought I'd share my thought process when making selections or recommendations.
 
When considering what colors to add there a few things to ask yourself.  Number one is, how much sun does this area get, and how big do you want these flowers to get?  Next, what colors do you like?  Regarding placement, my personal suggestion would be perennials throughout the landscape and yard.  Use annuals around doorway entries and mailboxes.
 
Personally, I love adding brighter colors, like yellow, to my garden because one half of my flower bed is shady and the lighter colors help brighten up that bed.  A few flowering perennials that are my favorite because of their tolerance to sun and part sun, are Daylilies, Phlox, Salvia, Lantana, Heuchera, Verbena.  These plants are also drought tolerant, which is a huge plus to folks like myself with no irrigation.  All of these are great, spreading plants, requiring little maintenance.  These specific flowers also have a wide variety of different colors which is a great way to add variety to your garden or flower collection.
 
A couple other favorites would be the coneflower, and the black-eyed susan.  The coneflower comes as mixture of pinks, oranges, reds and yellows all in one plant.  It is also one of my favorites in the fall.  The black-eyed susan has bright yellow petals and a black center.  These plants are also drought tolerant.  They love the sun, but can thrive in part sun as well.  A side benefit to these plants is the amount of butterflies that they will attract to your garden. 
 
I also adore Foxgloves.  These plants are not huge sun lovers.  They tend to like well-drained soil that stays slightly moist.  Foxgloves, which reach 4-5 feet, are a great plant to add to areas that need a plant with some height.  They can also reach three feet wide.
 
If your area is more on the shady side, a couple of plants to consider are impatients, coleus, and begonias.  Some of these are marketed as "sun-loving", but in my experience, those varieties do not thrive as well and tend to look sickly.  Impatients, coleus, and begonias are originally shade type flowers and best used as such.
 
A few sun-loving annuals that I recommend, that are hardy and busting with color, are Blue Daze, Pentas, Petunias, and Vinca.  Most of the plants have a variety of colors to choose from except the Blue Daze which has a gorgeous bright blue bloom and is super tolerant of full sun and little water.
 
When it comes to the focal points in your yard which receive the most traffic, it's nice to change the flowers each season to create a fresh new look, and keep your guests admiring.  Personally, the most creative, eye catching landscapes, have no rhyme or reason when it comes to adding color.  Gardens are meant to express you!  I would love to see some pictures of what is blooming in your yard to be featured in a future gardening article.
 
Next week, with St. Patrick's Day approaching, we will talk about the Shamrock plant in Mandy's Friendly Garden.



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