Spring Display: Colourful Flower Companions
A late Spring display of Broom, Marguerites and Pansies will provide colour all Summer. It is ideal for a town garden where the tender Marguerites will not be caught by late frosts.
It is often tempting, when wandering around a nursery or garden centre, to create a spontaneous containerized display from the large range of flowering plants in season at that particular time. Usually it is possible to find many combinations of shrubs and smaller flowering plants that look really stunning together.
An effective combination One example of this type of display is the combination of Broom, Marguerites and Pansies shown here: the mass of buttery-yellow Broommakes an ideal backdrop to the brightly coloured Pansies, while the dainty Daisy flowers and fine foliage of the Marguerites serve to soften the whole effect.
A profusion of flowers
Although the Brooms will have only one flush of flowers, they will more than eam their keep by the shear number of flowers they produce. With regular deadheading, the Pansies and Marguerites will flower all Summer and will be offset nicely by the rich green Broom foliage. The plants will flower most profusely if placed in a bright, sunny position. The compost should be kept moist, but not soggy. Feed regularly during the Summer months, using a proprietary fertilizer, to get the best from the plants.
Protection from frost
Although frost is an unlikely occurrence in late Spring, place the container initially in a sheltered position, until all risk of frost has passed, as the Marguerites used here are not frost-hardy. This precaution will not be necessary in a town garden, due to the protective nature of buildings, which cause a beneficial microclimate.
Preparing the Trough
Place a good handful of pebbles or pieces of broken flowerpot into the bottom of the trough. Make sure that you cover all theholes to prevent the compost from leaching out through the holes when the display is watered.
Use a free-draining compost in the trough, adding up to a quarter by volume of horticultural grit to the mixture, if necessary, to improve the texture. Fill the trough to within 13cm (5in) of the rim and firm lightly with your hands.
Remove the Broom plants from their pots by turning upside down and tapping each pot sharply to release the rootball. If the roots of the plants are growing round in circles, tease a few of them out straight before planting in the trough.
Lower the roots of the first Broom plant into the trough. Check that the top of the rootball is level with the rim of the trough; if it is not, adjust the amount of compost underneath. Plant one Broom plant at each end of the terracotta trough.
Planting the Trough
Remove the Marguerites from their pots and use them to fill the spaces between the Broom plants along the back of the trough, leaving the space right at the front for the Pansies. Top up the level of the compost first, if necessary.
If the Pansies have been grown in a polystyrene strip, remove them gently by pushing a finger or thumb through the polystyrene under each compartment. This will release the plant, but take care not to damage it in any way.
Plant the Pansies in the space left in the front of the tub, and in any other spaces left between the larger plants. Position them close together for an immediate effect, making sure that the compost is no longer visible and the trough is full.
Firm the compost in the trough by pushing fingers down between the plants, making sure that there are no air spaces, and filling any gaps you come across with more compost. Water the plants in thoroughly to help them become established.