Embrace bursts of colour in the garden this spring
MOST people enjoy a colourful garden display, and spring is a great time to inject some colour into your garden. Use a mix of perennial flowering plants that will bloom for years, and annuals that will provide a vibrant burst of colour for one season.
You can have great fun with colour combinations. Use warm colours (reds, oranges and yellows) to create a vibrant feeling.
Try red dianthus, bougainvillea, sunpatiens, petunias, or geranium Big Red for brilliant reds.
Marigolds and calendula are fabulous yellow/orange annuals, and hibiscus will give you longer-lasting colour in these tones. In semi-shaded areas, achieve these colours with the orange flowering forms of medinilla, Chinese lanterns (abutilons) or crossandra Fire Glow.
Cool colours like purples and blues create a sense of space and relaxation.
You could use a blend of colours such as blues, purples, mauves and white to create an interesting yet harmonious display. The new buddleja Buzz series is available in a dark purple, paler lavender and white, and plectranthus Mona Lavender will give you purple flowers in the shade.
White is always popular for summer because it is crisp and cooling. White alyssum is lovely and attracts bees for pollination, and white petunias are a summer favourite. Gardenias, camellias and agapanthus are fabulous perennial whites.
Pink is easy - think sunpatiens, petunias, bougainvillea, dianthus, gaura, dipladenia, angelonia and camellias.
Colour can be great fun to play with. You can plant in a single block of colour, or use a few different shades of the same colour, or use complementary colours for a bold look. Try orange and blue, or purple and yellow. White is neutral and often highlights other colours so it can go with everything.
If you are planting into a container, make sure you include its colour in the overall scheme. Yellow and white look particularly good in blue pots, and I always love blue flowers in terracotta.
The usual rules apply. Use a premium potting mix if planting in pots, or a soil improver if planting into garden beds. Apply liquid fertiliser fortnightly, and remove spent flowers to prolong flowering. Mulch well to suppress weeds, keep the soil cooler and conserve water.
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