Preparing summer flower pots – at long last

Here in Alberta, we have a very short growing season for flowers. Typically, we all wait until the May long weekend or after to plant our annuals because of the risk of frost.We get pretty antsy waiting, especially when we see photos of all the beautiful blooms in our warmer areas like Vancouver and Victoria, and down south in the States.

This year, I was even later than usual with my annuals because my daughter had an out-of-town dance competition on the May long weekend. And then I promptly got sick and stayed that way the entire week. But at long last, in late May I was finally able to get out to the greenhouses, pick up my blooms and then start planting!

One benefit of my delayed planting this year is that the dreamy scent of lilacs was in the air the whole time I puttered in the yard! That, combined with working at my cute little potting bench, made my day.

This year, I decided to go with a palette of hot pinks and chartreuse / lime greens. I have blue pots that I purchased many years ago, and I thought that colour combination would look pretty.

I know that the planter recipe is “thriller, filler, spiller” so I kept that in mind while choosing my plants. For the “thriller”, I chose to use love lies bleeding (amaranthus). It features those gorgeous long rope-y tassels that look lovely in bouquets. I started some from seed indoors earlier this year because they are often hard to find in the greenhouses. They just barely just begun blooming; I’ll point them out in some photos later in this post. For some of my smaller pots, I opted to go with celosia (seen below) as the “thriller”.  I do think, though, that they may not grow as tall as I would like. I also added some dianthus to some of the pots to add more height and colour.

For colour interest and as a spiller, I picked up a bunch of green sweet potato vine. This is a staple for me. I love the bright green colour of it. I happened to spy some pink coleus at the greenhouse so that ended up in my cart too.

For more bright green colour and interesting texture, I added licorice plant (the rounded yellow-green leaves, below) and asparagus fern (spikey, yellow-green leaves).For both filler and spiller, I added pink petunias, and white and pink bacopa. I’m actually not a huge fan of petunias and have rarely used them in my pots despite my how colourful and showy they are. But this year, I’m giving it a shot.

While at my favourite greenhouse, I saw love lies bleeding – the very plant I had started from seed. I picked up one plant of it in case none of mine bloomed or lived (a serious possibility with me!). I didn’t want to risk being without those lovely tassels. You can see it below in the back centre of the pot. It’s the draping rose-pink tassel.

In the pot below, I planted one of my own love lies bleeding plants. I purchased seed for both the pink and the green varieties. You can see just the start of the green tassel on this one.

The pots don’t look very lush at the moment but they should fill in nicely over the next month or so.

I almost forgot: I added a bit of alyssum to the pot below. This pot is along a path, and I thought the pretty scent of alyssum would be nice to catch as we walk past.

The photo below shows another last-minute addition.  I tucked in a couple of dark pink snapdragons when I realized I had a few more than I needed for my yard. As the love lies bleeding grows taller, I’m hoping that the snapdragons help fill in the height gap.

I think the pots are off to a nice start. I can’t wait to see how they look once they fill out a bit. I’ll be sure to post more pics!

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