Try ‘Candy Fountain’ (I. Fredette, hybridizer) in a shallow container or hanging basket. This trailing African violet produces double, rose-pink flowers on long runners and has more than one crown. Be careful not to overwater these plants. An African violet’s soil should be moist, but never soggy.
Semi-miniature trailing African violets, like ‘Linda Darnel’ (P. Tracey, hybridizer), grow about 6 to 8 inches in diameter. Use room temperature water when you’re watering your plants, and avoid using soft water. African violets actually need some chlorination, but if you can smell the chemical in your chlorinated water, it’s too much.
Blue is a coveted hue in most gardens, and lobelia delivers with season-long blooms. Waterfall Blue unfurls light blue blossoms, while other lobelia varieties open flowers in shades of purple, white, pale blue and bicolor blends. This pretty annual shines in hanging baskets or containers, where its trailing stems cascade to form waterfalls of blue. Grow it in part shade to full sun. In hotter regions, definitely give plants shade during the hottest part of the day. Trim plants to encourage a fresh flush of flowers, especially if summer heat causes them to look straggly. Lobelia flowers beckon butterflies and hummingbirds. Plants grow 8 to 12 inches tall and 24 to 30 inches wide.
What’s better for fall color than a pansy? How about a trailing pansy that naturally rambles and scampers over the edges of hanging baskets? Cool Wave pansy does just that, opening classic pansy blooms in a rainbow of shades. Look for hanging baskets planted with Cool Wave spreading pansies, or whip up your own. Choose baskets in single colors to complement your home’s exterior. Or get in on nature’s autumn act by hanging baskets overflowing with pansies that contrast with the fall color of nearby trees.
Violet to brown tinted centers on these clematis flowers contrast strikingly with pure white petals. The largest blossoms appear on plants in early summer, followed by smaller flowers on new stems in midsummer to early fall. Gardeners often grow ‘Henryi’ as a trailing clematis at ground level, letting stems tumble along and cascade over rock walls. For best flowering, prune stems in late winter or early spring, cutting stems back to 6 to 9 inches above a pair of fat buds. Vines grow 6 to 10 feet tall and 3 to 6 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 4-8.
‘Kirigami’ ornamental oregano isn’t meant for the kitchen—it’s purely a garden delight with its colorful bracts and lightly fragrant flowers. In autumn’s cool nights, the rose-purple bracts on ‘Kirigami’ (Origanum x hybrid ‘Kirigami’) deepen in color. Look for this beauty in spring to grow all summer long and into fall. Or pick it up at garden centers in autumn to decorate outdoor spaces until hard frost arrives. This oregano is winter hardy in planting beds in Zones 5b-8b. Tuck it into the garden at least six weeks before hard frost to help ensure winter survival. Next spring, dig it and pot it, or enjoy its trailing stems in the garden.
Rain gardens can even pop up and work effectively on parking lot areas. After removing asphalt, a rain garden basin could be built along this parking area of Totem Ocean Trailer Express, a shipping and cargo company at the Port of Tacoma, Washington. A traditional rain garden basin planting features a mix of shrubs, perennials and ground covers. The green container is a rain garden in a box. Rain gardens at this site handle roughly 250,000 gallons of rain water runoff annually, which reduces the amount of toxic pollutants washing into nearby Commencement Bay. If designers can build a working rain garden on a parking lot, you can make one work in your yard.