You have a plant bed covered in sun most of the day, which needs something growing in it, but your lack of inspiration keeps you away. In 2013, the All-America Selections winners list included melon, grape tomato and watermelon food plant ideas along with an annual geranium, a perennial Echinacea and a Canna. Now wouldn’t that make a pretty interesting mixed planting?
The Bones of a Garden
The bones of a garden create an outline and are made up of the taller permanent plants. Echinacea ‘Cheyenne Spirit’ may fulfill that need in a small garden, growing up to 24” – 30” tall. But, can also edge the sides or grow into drifts of coneflowers in a large space. Echinacea is a prairie perennial that will withstand drought conditions, returning year after year. The reds, oranges, yellows and purple in Echinacea ‘Cheyenne Spirit’ will produce a colorful mass of flowers for butterflies to land and for cutting stems to fill vases.
The Canna ‘South Pacific Scarlet’ is the opposite of an Echinacea; Cannas tolerate wet conditions even up to a pond’s edge and has a firm vertical form with tropical-looking leaves. In a plant bed, Canna ‘South Pacific Scarlet’ will grow 4’ – 5’ tall making this plant perfect for the back bone of a garden or a specimen plant in a special corner. Gardeners like to plant shorter cannas in containers. For a two-gallon pot, Canna ‘South Pacific Scarlet’ will reach approximately 24” tall.
Vining Through a Mixed Planting
A patch of melon vines scrambling at the edges of this planting bed would be lovely. But the smaller vegetable plants would do well in containers, too. A melon called Mulemon is a hybrid fruit with the taste of a honeydew melon but does not grow nearly as big. Call it your own personal harvest. It arrives in around 70 – 80 days.
Another smaller fruit is the watermelon Harvest Moon. The name, and the fruit’s dark green rind pricked with tinges of yellow, may remind some gardeners of the heirloom variety ‘Moon and Stars.’ Harvest Moon develops shorter vines and the fruit produced is a few seeds shy of seedless.
This grape tomato, sometimes called a cherry, grows tall. Solanum lycopersicum ‘Jasper’ is an indeterminate plant. A sturdy, but decorative, trellis would help this tomato plant stand up, and stand out, in the garden.
Annual Geraniums in 2012 Trials
Pelargonium x hortorum ‘Pinto Premium White to Rose’ withstood the very hot conditions in gardens during the 2012, trials and was named an All-America Selections winner at the end of the year.
The annual geranium grows very tall in a garden bed, but slightly shorter in containers. You will likely be impressed with the soft shading of colors on 5″ diameter blooms that morph from white to rose.
Now that is a mix of plants to keep the stay gardening life going.