By Melinda Myers
For Miami Valley Sunday News
Make every occasion special by designing and growing containers for summer holidays, weddings, anniversary parties or other special celebrations. Pick a color scheme appropriate for the occasion or a variety of colors and shapes sure to add a festive touch.
Look for opportunities to include edible and flower filled planters. Set containers at your front entrance to welcome family and guests. Use smaller containers to line a pathway and decorate each table. Fill large pots with tall plants and ornamental grasses to provide privacy and define spaces.
Boost your confidence and eliminate the guesswork by including winning varieties trialed and proven for their performance in gardens and containers. All-America Selections (AAS) is a non-profit trialing organization with test sites across the U.S. and Canada. Volunteer judges rate entries based on their improved performance, flavor and unique qualities. Visit the AAS website for help selecting edibles and flowers suitable for container gardening. (all-americaselections.org)
Then pick a color theme. Red, white and blue combinations are perfect for patriotic holidays like the fourth of July. Or pick one color and display it in patriotic pots. For reds consider Summer Jewel red salvia, Viking XL Red on Chocolate begonia and Double Fire Zahara zinnia. Add a light airy touch with Sparkle White guara and Gypsy White Improved baby’s breath. Evening Scentsation petunia, Strata salvia and Lavender Lady lavender provide the blue. Add an explosion of texture with fiber optic grass or Fireworks penstemon.
Host a sports event using flower colors or containers of your favorite team. Add to the festivities by growing them in a football, baseball or soccer shaped planter.
Gold is always a great choice when celebrating anniversaries, golden birthdays or any special occasion. Dress up the tables with the plump blooms of Marigold Big Duck Gold or the feathery blossoms of Fresh Look Gold celosia. Let them know they’re special by including Super Hero Spry marigold. The maroon and golden yellow flowers top 12-inch tall plants and the name says it all. All these golden beauties will continue to flower and thrive long after the party ends. Combine them with other bright colors like South Pacific Orange canna, and Calliope Medium Dark Red geranium to create a festive atmosphere.
Bring the garden to the party with a few edible containers for a bit of interactive dining. Encourage guests to harvest herbs and vegetables as they create a salad, season their dinner or flavor their favorite drink. Then dress up the meal with edible flowers like calendulas and Baby Rose nasturtium with its peppery flavored flowers and leaves.
Make any outdoor wedding, reception or rehearsal dinner at your home memorable by creating planters that complement the bride’s color scheme. Include white flowers, like Summer Jewel White salvia, Mont Blanc nierembergia, Starlight rose zinnia and Gypsy White Improved gypsophila. White is the perfect neutral and lights up any evening celebration.
Once you experience the difference specially-designed containers can make, you’ll be looking for more opportunities to host events and grow more planters.
Melinda Myers has written more than 20 gardening books, including “Small Space Gardening.” She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything” gardening DVD series and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio segments. Myers is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine and was commissioned by AAS for her expertise to write this article. Myers’ website is www.melindamyers.com.