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School is almost out, and Linda Haubert of Sylvania says she needs to dress up her backyard to get ready for a graduation bash.
Some strategically placed annuals can make backyards burst with color. The key is to arrange the plants for maximum impact. Take note of the permanent structures in the party space, such as fencing, patio, pool, trees, and shrubs. To avoid spending the entire landscape budget on one weekend party, focus attention on the space reserved for guests.
If you plan a big outdoor party with a tent, containers filled with annuals will soften the corners and brighten the area.
If it is a speedy buffet party where people will be coming and going as they try to visit as many celebrations as possible in one day, focus on dressing up the home's entrance and the buffet table. Planning a smaller, more intimate graduation party? Take some time to pick a cozy spot for the table in the backyard and create an outdoor caf atmosphere for a sit-down meal and overplant the flower beds nearby with colorful annuals.
Once you have decided on areas to accent, choose the plants.
Just about any annual growing now in garden centers will bloom in mid-June, just in time for Ms. Haubert's party on the 18th. Theresa Hoen, owner of Hoen's Greenhouse in Springfield Township, says they can be planted any time after Mother's Day. Instead of the same old annuals like begonias, geraniums, and impatiens, find something with some pizzazz.
"I like Angelonia for height," Ms. Hoen says. Also known as summer snapdragons, they grow up to two feet tall with blooms of dark purple, white, or a mixture of the two.
"Bidens will give your garden some sparkle," Ms. Hoen says. They have bright yellow flowers that will grow two feet tall and spread two feet wide - perfect for borders or to fill in a bare spot between perennials.
Looking for school colors? Red blooms are found in salvia, poppies, periwinkle, and the primary colors of the monkey flower.
Fill in with white petunias, candy tuft, or white morning glory. Find bright orange colors in strawflowers, Lantana, or African daisies. Ms. Hoen says double impatiens come in many bright colors, and black and blue salvia is one of the greenhouse's biggest sellers.
While you are picking up plants for the next phase of your garden plan, look for some local native plants at the Toledo Botanical Garden plant sale. Open to members tomorrow, it will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday. The sale will be adjacent to the main parking lot at Toledo Botanical Garden, 5403 Elmer Dr. Information: 419-936-2986.