Lark & Linen is a gorgeous informative blog. Click here for pro tips to make your flowers last longer after you bring them in the house. And this floating wall of flowers is just the coolest, another DIY idea on Jacquelyn Clark's blog.
this was a hanging basket that was reduced in price because it's now mid-June. i always think this is a good time to get flowers that are in full bloom; they add bursts of color right up until the first frost which makes them a good value. i cut the wires off the basket, trimmed up the longer hanging stems and put the basket on a rock next to a birch tree. hummingbirds will love those trumpet petals...they get their beak right in there and grab the nectar lighting fast!
the blooms are small but abundant. it will keep blooming all summer with a tiny bit of care, i.e. they prefer at least six hours of sun but if the sun is intense a little shade will be helpful and as a heavy bloomer they need fertilizer ever few weeks. no deadheading required which is a big bonus. trim it back before it gets too 'leggy' to promote fullness. quite perfect for window boxes and planters if you can keep them consistently watered. they max at about one and a half feet high.
the Dianthus plant is available as an annual or perennial. the flowers have jagged-cut petals that are soft to touch. dianthus is also referred to as 'pinks', as the story goes they were named as such because the petals look like they were cut with pinking shears. look at the plant tag carefully because they vary in height from a couple inches to 3 feet tall at maturity. i've found them to be deer resistant and they tolerate light-shade well. my favorites are the white and vibrant pink blooms which add brightness to a container or partly shady side of the garden.
this was the first flower i had full success with as a young mom and new gardener. i placed about 100 impatiens (in various colors) along the long sidewalk to the front door of our house, under an overhang. the neighbors made comments about the abundance of gorgeous color. i told everyone how easy they were to grow and fell in love with this plant.
they like shady. they like cool places. excellent for borders and window boxes that have some shade. fertilize with a balanced Miracle-Grow every few weeks and they are happy campers. if the plant gets 'leggy' trim them back to promote new flowering.
more notes: there is a hybrid called SunPatiens® available for sunny locations. it's on my list of new plants to try. next year.
ah, humble petunias.
here's my take on how many gardeners fall in love, out of love, then back in love with this sweet flower: because they are ridiculously easy to grow and come in bright colors, new gardeners put them in pots and window boxes and see instant success, then they learn how easy zinnias, alyssum, salvia and geraniums are to grow and petunias get pushed out. many years later the petunia catches the gardener's eye again because it's so versatile for mixed-plant containers and the hybrids come in unique gorgeous colors and don't require much deadheading and they are suddenly interesting again. (ok, maybe that's just my experience but i doubt it)
the range of colors go from solid white to intense black, some are wavy and trail, some are petite, some are bi-color and have plump double blooms. so good luck trying to narrow down to the few you end up bringing home. it will be virtually impossible to resist the newest colors. my new favorites? Sophistica Blackberry Hybrid and Limelight. Also, Supertunia Limoncello.
the range of colors is stunning. my challenge is keeping these beauties in bloom through summer so i prefer them in a container of mixed annuals. they offer height and when they need to regenerate other flowers can take the lead.
they tolerate hot conditions and prefer a dry spell between waterings so well-drained soil is important. cut back stems when flowers drop off so energy goes toward the next flowers and not the remaining seeds. i have experimented with cutting them back by 1/3 and that works quite well in getting them to last through fall when the temps cool.