Create a Yankee Doodle Dandy garden

July 3, 2013 

The first week of July is a time for celebrating all things red, white and blue. Gardeners who want to add some summer sizzle to the landscape this month can start the fireworks with these amazing plants that add patriotic color as well as easy care throughout the summer.

Red: The color of geraniums, roses and salvia, red is also a foliage color that can offer some respite from our evergreen and ever-boring landscapes. Visit a nursery this month to pick out a red-leaf Japanese maple and you’ll enjoy years of carefree beauty. Japanese maples do well when grown in large containers, making them perfect patio pets or small trees for a deck or balcony.

You’ll also find heucheras with a deep red tint to their leaves as well as summer-flowering hardy fuchsias with dainty red and purple flowers. Hardy fuchsias are happy close to the house where they can be protected from the afternoon sun.

White: There’s a new hydrangea on the market that loves our climate — it is called “The Blushing Bride” hydrangea and it displays pure white petals in mid-summer, fading to a soft pink in the fall. Unlike most hydrangeas, Blushing Bride flowers on new wood so you can prune this lady back to short stumps in the spring and still enjoy blooms the same summer.

“Blushing Bride” is another great plant that will be happy in a large container and this bride will celebrate many anniversaries with blooms year after year.

Other white flowers that can be used to fill in a small container or garden bed include geraniums, lobelia, phlox and begonias.

Blue: A deep true blue was once rare in garden flowers but with new lobelia and some very impressive new salvia, your garden can happily sing the blues. The deep blue new salvia is called “Salvia Black and Blue” as the deep blue petals are arranged on deep black stems.

For carefree shrubs look to Ceanothus or California lilac and the perennial garden can be planted with delphiniums, monkshood and lavender plants.

The ultimate shrub for adding blue to summer gardens is the old fashioned hydrangea — in our naturally acid soil the big leaf hydrangea will bloom blue. The everblooming “Endless Summer” hydrangea can provide an encore of blue blooms as the more you clip and harvest the flowers from this hydrangea the more blooms the plant will make.

July is an excellent month to use hydrangeas as cut flowers in arrangements or even fresh in a wreath for the front door.

All Together Now: Celebrating the trifecta of patriotic blooms is as easy and gathering flowers from the plants above and adding them to a vase of water — but here are some tips to extend the bounty when you’re missing one or more of the colors:

 • Use a candle. Place one red geranium in a blue pot and add a white candle for a practical centerpiece.

 • Flower floats. Float red and white roses in a bowl of water — tinted with a bit of blue food coloring.

 • On the chandelier. Tie blue hydrangeas to an outdoor or indoor chandelier using red and white ribbon.

 • Edible flowers. Decorate the top of cherry pie with edible blue and white pansies

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