When Might arrives, Langford and her crew at Coloration Specialists Landscaping set up hundreds of pots of annuals and perennials on this busy space, stuffed with swanky retail shops, upscale eating places and workplace buildings stuffed with wealth managers, attorneys and enterprise executives.
And for Houston space residents, it’s simply in time. We’re totally into spring and simply beginning to emerge from weeks of social isolation prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Langford’s gardening recommendation is well timed, too, for owners who’re sprucing up their very own yards with spring shade.
“Don’t be afraid to experiment. Generally my greatest combos are out loud and proud,” Langford mentioned. “I’ll have a look at them and go ‘whoa.’ Coloration is shade and it’s lovely.”
Langford’s mandate is to impress people who find themselves driving on Put up Oak Boulevard and different Uptown streets — that takes greater than easy pastels.
Meaning you’ll see loads of brilliant yellow rudbeckia (also called black-eyed Susans) and blue salvia, a vivid almost-purple shade of blue, in what is perhaps that space’s signature flowers.
In sunny areas: Mix salvia or vincas, with begonias, marigolds, pentas or strap-leaf caladiums, then use verbena, spreading angelonia, scaevola or calibrachoa for edging.
In partial solar: Mix crossandra or fancy leaf caladiums with pentas or angelonia, then use begonias for edging.
Full shade: Use begonias, pentas and caladiums.
On Put up Oak alone, Langford and her crew will plant some 25 completely different varieties in 57,000 pots. Right here’s her recommendation for owners in search of new concepts for their very own planters and landscaped areas.
Don’t plant a single factor till your planting beds are prepared. Put a brand new flower in previous filth missing in vitamins and also you’re probably simply losing your money and time.
“You want a wonderful backyard soil — it’s like the muse of your own home,” Langford mentioned.
When testing your individual soil or purchasing for new, stick your hand right into a pile of the filth and seize a clump, she mentioned. If it sticks collectively, you’ve obtained good soil; if it falls aside, you don’t. Easy as that.
Selecting good vegetation
There’s nothing unsuitable with shopping for pots or flats with flowers already in bloom, however that’s not an indication you’ve obtained a greater or more healthy plant. Langford seems for wholesome, compact inexperienced vegetation with a superb root system.
One factor she avoids is a potted plant that’s root certain or has roots hanging out the underside of the pot. If that’s what you’ve obtained, minimize off the underside inch earlier than you place them within the floor, she mentioned.
A part of the visible enchantment of Langford’s designs are her combos of perennials and annuals in staggered heights and vivid colours. Her in-ground designs are typically going to be three-tiered combos of middle vegetation, midlevel top vegetation and edging, planted 10 to 12 inches aside.
Combos differ relying on the quantity of solar or shade, however Langford has particular favorites interspersed with patches of trimmed Japanese yew, dwarf hibiscus and rudbeckia.
In sunny spots, she likes salvia and vincas as middle plantings, with begonias, marigolds, pentas and strap-leaf caladiums within the midlevel top. Edging favorites embrace verbena, spreading angelonia, scaevola and calibrachoa.
Areas with solely partial solar would get crossandra or fancy leaf caladiums for the tallest vegetation, pentas and angelonia within the center and spreading angelonia or begonias for edging.
In a bit stuffed with shade from reside oaks, Langford likes to plant begonias, pentas and caladiums. She works in ‘Cuban Gold’ duranta — a sturdy plant that does nicely in solar or shade — for visible curiosity.
If a few of your annuals die within the worst warmth of summer season, change them with vincas, hearty vegetation that may take August’s excessive warmth, she mentioned.
An excessive amount of mulch can suffocate a plant’s root system, so Langford recommends utilizing 1½ inches of hardwood mulch. (It can pack right down to 1 inch in time.) Be sure you use hardwood mulch — not pine mulch — as a result of it’s already decomposed.
This is perhaps a very powerful part of gardening: controlling weeds, getting the correct quantity of water, deadheading and pruning and retaining bugs away.
With out not less than weekly consideration, all the effort and time you’ve put into your landscaping might be for nothing. You’ll need to pull weeds and ensure vegetation have the correct quantity of water — in sizzling months, you’ll water greater than weekly, in fact.
Don’t overlook to deadhead — plucking off spent blooms — so your vegetation will proceed to provide extra flowers.
“An annual lives to reseed and is a one-season plant. For those who let it go to seed, it would cease producing buds to revive itself. Deadheading methods it into steady blooming,” Langford mentioned.
Maintain bugs — particularly spider mites, mealy bugs, white flies, aphids and thrips — at bay with a twig or granular systemic insecticide.
Similar to individuals, vegetation want meals to outlive. Theirs is known as fertilizer, although, and an natural liquid fertilizer ought to be utilized each different week, she mentioned. Langford places her vegetation within the floor with a time-released fertilizer.
Individuals with minimal yards or those that persist with planters on high-rise house balconies can nonetheless have lovely shade with planters. Combos for a 3-foot planter embrace calibrachoa, spreading white angelonia and orange marigolds paired with hot-pink vinca or pentas. Creeping jenny is one other nice trailing plant to make use of across the edges.