Red, white and blue gardening

Red, white and blue gardening

With Memorial Day and July 4 only weeks apart, it just feels like the right time to do some “patriot gardening.” We have just enough time to get some red, white and blue plants started in our yard.

Want to deck your patio with red, white and blue? I have a lot of fun creating combinations. One corner of your patio (or container) can be blue plumbago mixed with red fairy roses and white nicotiana. Just remember to group flowering plants that need about the same amount of sun, shade and water.

Wouldn’t it be great to plant an area by your front door with red, white and blue blooming beauties? It wouldn’t hurt to really get ready for the Fourth of July and buy some small United States flags to line this festive planting bed.

When you create this patriotic area, be sure to choose plants with different sizes and textures. One may be the larger dramatic “star” of the grouping. Surround it with plants that have texture and maybe blooms that tumble over the edge of the pot or gardening bed. Smaller flowering plants like sweet alyssum can fill in extra spaces.

It always seems to me that the blue flowers are the most difficult to find. You can look for blue shades of lobelia, salvia, larkspur, plumbago, bachelor’s button and ageratum. I like to count the beautiful vitex as blue, albeit slightly purple-blue. Vitex looks great with contrasting red blooms. I’ve lined the driveway with blue vitex that are now small trees, and red and white oleander. July is their time to show off! Texans love the blue option of dwarf Mexican petunia or Ruellia with its showy flowers that attract butterflies by the score. Blue-ish asters can take full sun and get a couple of feet tall.

White flowers are easy to find. Think about daisies, calibrachoa, nicotiana, snapdragon and alyssum. And please consider planting the white-like milkweed. It is the most favorite meal of the monarch caterpillar, a host plant and an important nectar plant for many native species of butterfly. And remember that white sweet alyssum gets that nickname because of its sweet fragrance that also attracts super important bees and butterflies.

Red blooming plants are plentiful. Petunias, geraniums, verbena, salvia, fuchsias and zinnias are some options. Hibiscus is a gorgeous summer option for us. Turk’s cap is a Texas native and perennial and great for a patriotic shady area.

It may be a fun topic for future Garden Gate articles to talk about another type of “patriotic garden,” the victory gardens of World War I era, where civilians “Sowed the seeds of victory” by planting their own vegetables. We are so fortunate to live in a country with such opportunity and beauty. Lets celebrate our colors!


Joette Reger is an avid gardener and prides  herself on staying up-to-date on the latest gardening activities and tips. She can be reached by e-mail at joreger [at] msn [dot] com and on Facebook at “Gardengate with Joette Reger.”