August 13, 2013
In our hot and humid summers, sometimes it's difficult to have a whole landscape full of color. This is when it's good to have small pockets of color that are easy to maintain and keep your landscape looking good. Today we're back visiting our friend Iris and her beautiful and relaxing landscape. One of the best plants we can grow in our hot summer landscape is flowering vinca, of which Iris has made good use. In the front landscape, Cora and Mediterranean flowering vinca are paired with Margarita sweet potato vine for a colorful entrance to the driveway. Cora Apricot is used around back in a small hot spot surrounded by brick and concrete by the pool. Purslane has continued to be of interest to me for color in our long hot summers, with its fleshy, succulent foliage. This pink Purslane container brightens the pocket planting of chartreuse creeping jenny and bloody sorrel, growing underneath this tropical sago palm. During the summer months, finding a shady area is a bonus. In this shady nook Iris has combined the dark purple foliage of Sweet Heart purple sweet potato and the caladium White Christmas. Another plant with dark foliage that can provide pockets of color is the 2006 All America Selections winner, Black Pearl pepper. This is a compact and upright plant with distinctive semi-glossy, dark purple to black leaves. The fruit provides interest with shiny round black-purple "pearls" that mature to bright red orbs of vibrant color. Don't let the heat and humidity keep you indoors this summer. You'll be surprised how much impact color pockets can have in your landscape. I'm horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.