Over the past week, Ball FloraPlant has sent me* 4 big boxes of annuals, most of them brightly colored petunias, osteospermum, verbena, calibrachoa, and other sun-loving container plants. To test, I guess—but both the amount and (to some degree) the type of plants are inappropriate for my small, mostly shaded courtyard space. I’ve used what I could, and, fortunately, I have at my disposal 11 large concrete planters that are all in fairly sunny positions. These are designed for the beautification of our neighborhood’s commercial district, and since I am the beautification chair, I am in charge of filling them. We use a professional service for our hanging baskets, but there’s not enough left in the budget to do that for the planters.
For most of them, I used a mix of homegrown seedlings raised by an Allentown resident in his basement, and they all have cannas that have been overwintered for the past ten years by another neighbor. But for one, I planted it (shown almost filled above) with the Ball offerings. There was no regard for color clashes or harmony of form. There are red petunias, fuschia petunias, bright orange marigolds, maroon verbena, bright red verbena, and pink calibrachoa. And some other stuff. I thought a multi-colored burst would be fun; the others are more conservative.
Sorry, earth, I did not use the plantable pots—any sign that something is already in a pot could say “steal me.” Some of these planters are filled with invisible weeds that will materialize in abundance in about a month. Passers-by invariably mistake them—even when they’re filled with flowers—for seating or garbage bins, and sometimes people just pull the plants out for fun. They’re watered by volunteers—most of the time. I pulled a full bag of disposable needles out of this one once.
All reasons why I saw this as the ideal testing situation—thanks, Ball Floraplant!—and I’ll be reporting on their progress. Are any of you participating in public beautification projects? Frustrating, rewarding, or both?
*F.T.C.-required gift disclosurePosted by Elizabeth Licata on May 23, 2011 at 4:13 am, in the category Real Gardens, Taking Your Gardening Dollar.