A Hawaiian Shirt

Normally I try to give this flower bed a little respect, calling it the tropical bed instead of just “the mess”, but for whatever reason this year it really is a mess.  The usual tropicals went to fill up new bed space this spring and I didn’t save enough goodies for here, plus it was planted late too…. (more excuses)…. and about half the plants are volunteers that just came up on their own, so it’s a patchwork of screaming colors.

Red salvia is loved by the hummingbirds, but the color really asserts itself.  Some people have poo-pooed this pairing with the violet verbena as too “bleech”, but I think it could have been worse.red salvia and verbena bonariensis  The bigger view shows the weediness of the planting…..

annual flower garden

I suppose I could have ripped out the amaranthus plants that came up (they’re the tall leafy stalks) and the squirrel ravaged sunflower is no beauty…. and the white buddleia in front of the white fence…. I could go on and on….

But it’s bright and colorful and it was meant to be vibrant.  Next year I’m hoping to add a little green to calm it down and going back to more cannas to make it a little more “solid”.  The white will be moved out.red annuals

The “summer poinsettia”  is actually starting to grow on me, it’s the dark purple leaf which is developing the red tops.  I like its lushness and maybe if I can just find some good neighbors it will really make a statement…. not that it’s keeping quiet now 🙂

Viva la Tropicalismo!

“Tropicalismo” is so very ’90s but being in style was never my strong point. I still love the tropical look with big leaves and bright colors and lush happy growth right during the months when everything else looks a little tired and faded. Too big elephant ears, too bright cannas and just a little too tall grasses always make me smile when the bleeding hearts are dying in the heat. I even like the bright red salvia that is normally reserved for gas stations and trailer parks. Feel free to judge me, here’s a picture of the tropical bed last year.
tropicalismo gardening
This was a new area that was the perfect match of big space, full sun, and no planting budget, so I pulled together the leftover canna roots, popped in a couple sweet potato cuttings, and scattered some annual seedlings and with plenty of water and fertilizer it all came together.
As usual this year I’ve fallen behind, and the tropical bed is still a weed infested patch of leftover perennials, a few nice salvias, and an appropriately bright knockout rose.
a weedy flower bed
I finally got around to weeding, mulching, and planting. It may seem like all is lost with such a late planting date, but the experience of a chronic procrastinator has taught me things will still work out fine. Also the late planting allowed several self sown red salvias and amaranth to make themselves known. All good things since I used up all the spare annuals when I expanded the front yard border.
So here it sits, still a little sparse, but ready to take on all the drought and heat summer throws its way.
weeded bed with some grass clipping mulch
With any luck I’ll still have the same tastelessly colorful display as last year, minus a few of the exceptionally colorful and tacky tropicana cannas.
cannas and salvia