Lets Start with Place

front12On the subject of annuals, you need to decide first where you might want them. Let’s start with your front door. front9

Flowers at the front door say hello, welcome.  They celebrate in whatever fashion pleases you, the entrance to your home. That makes the architecture of your entrance a key design element.  Formal homes ask for formal placement and selection of containers and plants. Very formal homes may have no flowers at the door.  They might have lidded finials, or topiary, or boxwood in containers.

front7How you announce the entrance to your home is not only about the architecture.  It’s your home, so your voice should be evident-clearly, confidently.

If you are shy and reclusive, there is a planting that says so.

If you grew up on, and still adhere to Emily Post, say so.

front18If you are exuberant, and welcoming of friends, neighbors, new people, and your daughter’s softball team, say so. front2a

If relaxed and low key appeals to you, do so.front23

If lots and lots of everything is your style, do lots and lots.

front21If the mid-century modern, or contemporary design of your house makes certain demands that you hear, listen.




If you are of several minds, as often happens, you are free to do differently next season.



Plant Some Pots

Diana has been planting pots for me for 10 years.  She starts with a square of landscape fabric over the drain hole, and adds drainage material to 2/3 of the pot. Another layer of landscape fabric prevents the soil from sifting down into the drainage layer.  We use a topsoil/compost mix for pots.  Soil-less mixes are great for professional growers, as it is sterile. Professional growers know how to water and fertilize properly. I like real soil. We mix in osmocote, a time release fertilizer; the rate of release speeds up as the soil temperature goes up. Apply according to directions. We go for that lush look; we pack the plants in, so they look great from the start. Later, we groom the pots.  We remove excess growth underneath to keep the air circulation good, and the possibility of fungus low.  We cut back the dead flowers and leaves.  We may even shape the overall composition by trimming and cutting back.  Does she not make it look easy??


april_16_029april_16_030april_16_039Spring plantings do look great in old crates, wood boxes, buckets and baskets. Landscape fabric can help hold the soil where you want it; coir sheets can be cut for boxes with big open spaces.  Coir is a mat woven from the fibers of the hull of the coconut; it is sometimes called coco fiber. Have at planting some pots.

Why You Should Plant For Spring

payne_7-07_27plantforspring6Spring flowers have that spring-fresh texture and color guaranteed to shake winter off of you, and your spirit. No summer flowers have the blue of clear sky blue pansies, and blue lobelia.  Alyssum, the crisp white smell of spring, also comes in lavender, red violet, and purple.  Ornamental kales, cabbages, Angelina sedum and coral bells have robust texture and leaf color.  Lettuces, parsley, and gold oregano hint of the vegetable garden to come. Yellow and vanilla butterfly marguerites are quite cold tolerant, as is the chartreuse leaved Persian Queen geranium. Annual phlox performs beautifully, blooming on into the heat of the summer.  Violas come in all kinds of colors, and bloom profusely. Fresh cut pussy willow twigs, yellow twig dogwood, and artificial grassy stems provide scale and height.  Pots of hyacinth, daffodils, and tulips can also be popped into a pot for their duration.

plantforspring5Spring is a season like no other. Give some time to enjoying it. Spring pots are a perfect for a collection of lettuces that will spruce up your salads. A collection of spring pots also helps considerably to stave off the impulse to plant summer pots too early. Most summer annuals despise cold soil and cool temperatures.  For everything, the right season.  Plant your spring.