Landscape & Gardening

What’s on the Menu?

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Summer annuals for the front shade garden. Most of what’s on my list are now available at the local nurseries, and I wasted no time in snapping them up. Waiting for absolutely every thing to be available before buying is a big mistake in my opinion. The longer plants sit around the nursery crammed in their original shipping flats, the more scraggy and picked over they become. For the most part I buy complete flats, because there’s usually a discount once you exceed a minimum quantity. And I don’t search out the cheapest deal in order to save a few dollars. Those deals may or may not exist in nurseries that take considerable time and gas to get to. That’s crazy and just not worth it. So most of my annuals are found at Nicholson-Hardie, and a few are found at Jackson Home & Garden. I prefer to buy from nurseries who stock plants produced by local growers. When a plant has been cultivated in your hometown’s soil and climate, there’s a better chance of success.

(above) Pineapple Coleus
(above) Pineapple Coleus

Unfortunately here in Dallas, Texas, there aren’t any colorful shade perennials that would thrive. And there are few, if any, flowering summer annuals that can tolerate shade and extreme heat. So I resort to colorful foliage. The chartreuse colors make a great visual snap and pop in the very darkest corners of my shade garden, and the dark inky colors add depth and dimension.

(above from left to right) Diamond Frost Euphorbia, Bat Face Cuphea (which pairs and compliments the Persian Shield), and Red Pentas
(above from left to right) Diamond Frost Euphorbia, Bat Face Cuphea (which pairs and compliments the Persian Shield), and Red Pentas
(above from left to right) Kong Rose Coleus and Persian Shield
(above from left to right) Kong Rose Coleus and Persian Shield
(above) Just another gratuitous artsy photo. The Persian Shield colors can be so iridescent.
(above) Just another gratuitous artsy photo. The Persian Shield colors can be so iridescent.
(above) Three kinds of Caladium bulbs. They're last but not least.
(above) Three kinds of Caladium bulbs. They’re last but not least.

The itinerary. I will be planting some of these when the ground has had a chance to dry out, but I won’t be able to plant the rest until the missing three annuals, Syngonium Neon Tetra, Torenia Golden Moon, and Stromanthe Tricolor, become available. I am one of those types who can’t create or visualize the garden unless all the elements are there to work with.

(above) This shot was taken last summer. The Syngonium Neon Tetra is the pink stuff in the lower left corner.
(above) This shot was taken last summer. The Syngonium Neon Tetra is the pink stuff in the lower left corner.
(above) Again, another shot taken last summer. The Stromanthe Tricolor is the stripy red, white, and green plant in the foreground.
(above) Again, another shot taken last summer. The Stromanthe Tricolor is the stripy red, white, and green plant in the foreground.
(above) This photo was taken during the summer of 2009 and shows the Torenia Golden Moon in the foreground under the Persian Shield.
(above) This photo was taken during the summer of 2009 and shows the Torenia Golden Moon in the foreground under the Persian Shield.

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