It’s time again for summer annual flower containers… YEAH! Like I’ve said before, I love working with these fleeting beauties and any time I get to spend with them is a blessing. Since having to fire the last girl that was to have ‘annual sorting’ on her job description, I now must pick-up the slack. I need to be pitied.. (sarcasm).
My coworker is not only a fabulous pot designer, she is awesome fun to work with! There aren’t many folks I can say I’ve enjoyed working with. I work with them because that’s what I have to do, not because I enjoy it.
I didn’t formerly train or take a class on annuals before working here, so I had to be a quick study and read tags as I unloaded them. My first year here was being my co-worker’s assistant, so I could learn her job and our client’s homes before learning my position. I learned to sort the flowers by following her ‘recipes’. Granted, if it was that easy to do, anyone able to read could do it. The fun begins when she may have had to substitute something during the order, we had to refuse something for quality issues, or a client suddenly has an aversion to a certain color after specifically asking for it (Gaaaa!). This is when you need to know the growth habits and light needs of all the plants. When I’m out of an ingredient, I need to be able to find a sub on the fly, with what I have available. I find this type of pressure wicked, awesome fun! Kinda like a turn-on 😉
There is so much pressure on “The Shore” to be the first ones on the block planted. I’m shocked there hasn’t been a reality show with this area as the location. Homes here are typically in the millions, with Lake Michigan as their backdrop. Many movies were made here including, Sixteen Candles and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off among many more John Hughes films.
Enough with the chit-chat, let’s get into the fun stuff!! Let’s start with some basics a few of you may have forgotten about over the long winter….
Be sure your container / pot is very clean to start the season with. A good, stiff brush dipped in a 10% bleach solution will do the trick. This will kill off any of the nasties waiting to infect your flowers. This cleaning should take you through the season also. No need to disinfect after each season change. (Spring/Summer/Fall/Winter)
You don’t need to remember a bunch of annual names. The only thing you need remember for a well-presented display is: Thriller, Filler & Spiller! The Thriller is that one large plant that is generally in the center and taller than the rest. Filler are those mid-range sized plants, often of ‘fatter or fuller’ stature. Spiller is just that, plants that hang over the edge of the pot.
Here’s where your imagination needs to run free through the flowers. In many of the containers below, the photos are of the plants after there has been a bit of growth put on them. You can also get instant height from a trellised plant such as a mandevilla, jasmine or other vine. However, take a look at mine this year on the left. I decided to go with a non-instant gratification pot, so-to-speak. The rear plant is an orange canna that will reach a height of about 3 feet, so just past the window frame. By that time, the ivy and geraniums will gave ‘spillered-out’ and hang to the ground. Annuals grow extremely fast and this pot will look fab in just a couple of weeks. I’ll link a future photo here.
Another tip ~ Flowering can be increased if the plants are kept on the drier side. This takes a bit of skill, as you don’t want them to dry-out, but keep them on the brink of drying. Why?!? Because. Think of it this way. If you’re kept all fat and happy without doing anything, why not just enjoy the hand-outs? (can you say ‘vegetative growth’? Haha!) Just like some of the folks living off us tax-payers, yet they have nicer stuff than me. =-( However, if you need to work for everything you’re getting, you fight to survive and multiplying is surviving in a plants eyes. Thus, more blooms = more seeds. Boom.
© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl