Hot weather means most gardeners want to spend little time outdoors these days. There is time for a quick look around in the cool of the morning and then retreat indoors. Looking over these flower beds, you may be a bit dismayed at how totally green are some beds planted in Lenten roses, hostas and ferns.
Those are two of the most reliable types of plants for shade gardens, but the monochrome of green, cooling though it looks, may be a bit too much. Fortunately, garden centers are well-stocked with annuals approaching mature size and in bloom. And they represent an opportunity to spark up your green beds with some red or pink.
While digging may not appeal to many folks these steamy hot days, there are a couple of easier ways to add color.
The first is to look for blank spots between plants where you can tuck in a couple of begonias or impatiens in the color to your liking. Looking at the bed overall, you may think it is full, but a closer inspection can reveal gaps suited for planting. And fortunately these bits of bare soil in an existing bed should be easy enough to dig with a trowel and set out the new plants with their added splash of color.
A second way is to select your annuals and plant them in pots, which can then be tucked into the gaps between plants. This is pretty easy to do. Look over the spaces carefully and judge what diameter pot you will need. A shallow plastic pot that is 8 or 10 inches in diameter will hold two plants of impatiens or begonias and should tuck nicely into blank spaces. The foliage of the plants already in place and the developing growth of the new annuals should soon cover up signs of the pot. But if a bit of rim still shows, it does no harm.
Use good potting soil in the pots for best growth. Be prepared to water the potted plants, especially in the early weeks after planting. The hostas, ferns and Lenten roses may be well-established so that extra water is not necessary, but newly potted plants will require attention, even though they are growing in the shade.
The advantage of choosing impatiens or begonias, two kinds of plants renowned for their performance in shade, for this small project is simple. They are available. The plants grow to a mature size rapidly and the color choice is very wide.
While red, pink and purple dominate, there is also white. White is appealing in a green garden, shows up nicely in the evening and possesses elegance. But if your goal is to jazz up this green scene, you should opt for a brighter pink, red or purple. It will give this bed an entirely new look for summer and well into autumn.