By David Salman
As a kid, I loved to buy the paint-by-numbers watercolor painting kits. I wasn’t a very talented artist but my canvases turned out pretty nicely and I was happy and encouraged to do more. So many years ago, when I first thought about offering our High Country customers a way to plant a professionally designed perennial garden, the paint-by-numbers concept came back to me. I introduced our Pre-Planned Gardens, which come with Garden Maps that show you exactly where and how to space the plants to re-create the layout. It’s easy garden design, and the results are superb.
The inspiration for our Summer Showtopper Pre-Planned Garden came from a planting at a local college where they redesigned and replanted their front entrance.
I liked the designer’s core choice of plants and the fact that they planted the “inferno strip” between the street and sidewalk and the center median with colorful, waterwise perennials.
So working with the general design, I refined it with an expanded palette of plants so that the garden would bloom from late spring through fall and attract more pollinators.
I also decided to create two designs so the ‘Summer Showstopper’ could be used as a 3 ft by 16 ft. “inferno strip” or in a wider 6 ft. by 8 ft. rectangular bed to give more flexibility as to where it can be planted.
The plants used in ‘Summer Showstopper’ are all:
- Recommended as easy-to-grow for beginning gardeners
- Waterwise (xeric) in areas with 30 inches or less of precipitation
- Pollinator friendly, natural nectar sources to attract hummingbirds, bees and butterflies
- Long blooming or repeat blooming (come back into flower when the faded flowers are removed)
- Bloom with bright, bold colors combinations of blue, yellow, red and scarlet
- Thrive in a wide range of soil types including rocky, sandy, garden loam and dry clay
- Resistant to browsing rabbits and deer.