Why Not Have a Celebration Garden this Summer?

Why Not Have a Celebration Garden this Summer?

This year, 2012, sees two events that will be of great importance to Britain. The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics, are both being celebrated this summer, with key events in London and throughout the country.

Not all of us may be directly involved in Royal visits or have Olympic tickets, but social events such as street parties, a big Jubilee lunch and just having friends over for food and drink and to watch the games on TV will probably include most of us.

If you want to create something a bit special in your garden to provide a backdrop to a Jubilee BBQ or an Olympics get-together, colours provided by easy-to-grow annuals are a relatively cheap option that most people will be able to manage. Here are your colour scheme choices:

For the Jubilee garden, red white and blue will be the main feature colours. You can buy ready chosen plants of the same variety in these three colours from many of the major plug plant suppliers this year. Trailing or cascading petunias in the Jubilee colours have been selling like hot cakes in February, and will form a rich display of flowers that will last right through until October. You can also put together your own combinations (See our ideas below).

For the Olympic garden, the five colours to go for are red, blue, black, green and yellow. Green is easy, red and blue will be plentiful, yellow fairly straightforward but black, could be tricky…

Red, white and blue annual combos for the Jubilee garden.

These are our top choices:

  • Red annuals for your Jubilee display: geraniums, which can be bright scarlet or deep blood red; salvias, verbena Aztec, red begonias (begonia Vodka has red leaves too, which can look stunning), Calibrachoa “superbells red”, Coreopsis “cherry lemonade”, any red dahlias or petunias, or verbena “Taylortown”. Many varieties or fuchsia also have vibrant shades of red, sometimes with white and blue too.
  • White annual plants: it’s good to aim for a mixture of flower sizes and types so if you are going for a bold red annual, why not opt for a more delicate white annual. White alyssum is easy to grow and very resilient and provides a large number of delicate multiple flower heads. White lobelia, trailing or more upright also works well, as does a white verbena. Make a stronger statement with white with any species of white daisy or white petunia.
  • Blue annuals: there are many to choose from, including petunias in shades from light blue to violet to deepest purple-blue. Cornflowers, nigella (love-in-a-mist), blue daisies, blue lobelia, blue salvia and blue pimpernell Anagallis.

Creating your olympic garden

Your red and blue choices are already included above. Your green is taken care off but if you want to include some tall grasses, or other architectural plants noted for their foliage rather than their flowers, that will work well.

Your two other colours are yellow and black:

  • Yellow annuals: although dandelions are a lovely shade of yellow, you still need to keep them in check and try something bold like sunflowers. If they are a bit on the big side, why not go for yellow begonias, yellow dahlias, yellow petunias (sundrops are fabulous), or marigolds. Good suppliers may also have Salpiglossis “sunshine”, lemon verbena or lemon gerbera, and yellow chrysanthemums. You also can’t beat the poached egg plant, Limnanthes douglasii.
  • Adding a touch of black: there are some black plants, though these tend to have black foliage rather than flowers. A plant with a great name – Ophiopogon planiscapus “nigrescens” – looks a lot like a black spider plant and will grow well in borders and pots with brightly coloured annuals. It is in danger of getting lost though, so make sure there are several plants together against a lighter backdrop. You can also cheat a bit – Nasturtium majus “black velvet” has very dark red flowers that appear quite black, or you could just add a few black pots to your patio.

Why not have a look at the spectacular Olympics Rings at Kew Gardens or you can watch the video here for some real inspiration.

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