01 January 2015

Plan and Plant a Summer Event

Butterflies, dragonflies, herbs and flowers are the big themes for 2015 weddings, parties and outdoor entertaining. Fashion runways this year have been full of floral prints and brides want outdoor themes such as cherry blossom stems, birds and lots of greenery.

January is the ideal time to think about your garden and plan ahead to set the mood. You may want to plant more flowers, tropicals, vining plants, an herb garden, or vegetables in the front yard.

Since the 1990s Ball Horticultural Co. has worked with Pantone Paints to design plant color plans that coordinate with the trendy colors for the year ahead.  The 2015 Pantone color of the year is Marsala which they describe as:  “A naturally robust and earthy wine red, Marsala enriches our minds, bodies and souls.”

They agree with fashion designers that this year’s colors will be soft, cool and nature’s neutrals.  For many, gardens and garden party themes will be part of that fashion trend.

Wedding day color palettes pair plants with the dresses, tablescape and accessory colors; and, even if the garden planning and planting are delegated to a designer or landscape company, it will take some advance planning. Click on the link to see a garden transformation for a wedding by Hortus 5.

For example: The Pantone color combination of medium orange and soft grey is carried out with tangerine flowers such as Sundayz gerbera, Lazy Daze portulaca, Astra Orange osteospermum, Morning Sun calla lily, Silverstar helichrysum, Mighty Velvet stachys and Shadow King Rex begonia. 


Some colors are not available in plants so containers and accent pieces can carry the day.  To use the new Marsala combined with a soft custard yellow and Lucite green, the containers and accent pieces could be in wood tones and sea-green. Marsala-colored plants include: Marquee Box Office Bronze coleus, Easy Wave Velour petunia and Vulcan Red lobelia.

Plants that go with Lucite green include: Marquee coleus, White Lava colocasia and Glitterati Gold Digger geranium. Coleus can be started late-winter from seed or cuttings to be ready for a summer garden party.

Hanging planters add softness to a garden party setting. Ten-inch hanging planters are usually planted with three small (3 or 4-inch) pots 4-to-6-weeks ahead.  Variegated white and green ivy planted around hanging containers this winter will be full by spring and ready to hang with complementary color plants in the center.

From early spring to late fall, there is beauty in the garden. No matter when the party is happening you can plan to make it beautiful.  For example in April daffodils, Azaleas, pansies, and redbuds are in flower.  For summer events, roses can be counted on, along with lilies, cosmos, bachelor buttons, zinnia, sunflowers, etc.

I you dream of a scented garden with lavender and other herbs purchase plants as soon as possible in the spring and put them in larger containers in full sun to fill them out. Keep herb plants protected from hard rain and harsh wind in the early spring.

These plants are easy to grow from seed:  Amaranth, Arugula, Asters, Bachelor’s Buttons, Calendula, Cardinal Vine, Cleome, Cosmos, Becky Shasta Daisy, Dill, Cardinal Climber Vine, Four O’Clocks, Green Beans, Hyacinth Bean Vine, Impatiens, Lettuce, Malabar Spinach Vine, Marigolds, Morning Glory, Nicotiana, Perilla, Poppy, Sunflowers and Zinnia.

All of them come in a wide variety of flower colors, heights, leaf size, etc. Even Marigolds seeds are available in a dozen colors now. Consult seed catalogs for plant colors and height.


Plan ahead and prepare the garden beds this winter whenever the soil is dry enough.  Visit a garden center or order seeds, containers, etc. 

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