Variety Makes A Spicy Container Garden

My well-laden cart at Sunrise Greenhouse
Although I haven't found a support group for people like me--those who lack the discipline to buy at least three of every plant I like--it is a syndrome with some great work-arounds. I come home from every plant buying foray with one of each plant I want, and if I want more of a particular variety I have to find it at the next garden center I visit.

And of course there will be other garden centers. We were the first customers at Sunrise Greenhouse in Grant Park, IL. I'm really not certain of this, but the benches weren't fully loaded and I think we were the only people in there who weren't employees. The most unusual selection I made there was the pair of Gerbera jamesonii Mega Revolution Champagne. Despite their huge popularity, I've never grown them. Or if I did, they didn't do well. So we shall see...
I also picked up several begonias, a Ti plant, and 20-some other plants.

Three weeks later my planting buddy (who happens to be my next-door neighbor) and I drove up to Vite Greenhouses in Buchanan MI.

 I used the Sunvillea 'Rose Dwarf' as a component in a large container.

Thanks to my plant buddy, Lesley, I got the last of the Sunvillea™ 'Rose Dwarf'. Bougainvilleas. This is an extremely compact Bougainvillea that filled a hanging pot and was selling for $25. We were in line for the checkout and playing our game of guess the cart total. I'd already weighed in at $170; she at $150 when I saw the display of tropical bloomers. After determining I'd just spent nearly $200 on my SECOND big plant shopping trip, the $25 price tag seemed a bit steep.

I'd mentioned to Lesley earlier that it was Dave's and my 28th wedding anniversary. She bought it for us as an anniversary gift!

Vites also had a nice selection of Coleus, a plant that I use a lot in mixed containers. I select them based on flower colors that I combine them with to create a more cohesive container.

Can you say Coleus? Six plants of four varieties.
"I wish I'd brought a list of what I already have," I told Lesley several times as we trolled the aisles at Vites. It was like trying to put an outfit together without having at least one of the pieces with you.

I kept to the chartreuse shades, hoping they would go with the shade/part sun-loving plants I'd already bought from Sunrise.

I might have chosen differently if I'd had snapshots of the plants I was trying to coordinate, but I'll try to remember to do that next time.

Side planter with forks as helpers for the Lobelia and Alyssum.
I found some annuals available in flat sizes, so I picked up a mix of Snapdragons, Lobelia, Celosia, Coleus and alyssum. I planned to fill my PamelaCrawford  side planter this year after letting it sit idle last season. The side planting holes need the smaller-sized rootballs that plants grown in flats offer.

I used Lobelia, Coleus and alyssum, jamming in a few plastic forks to hold them in place and keep them from literally being washed out in a heavy rain.

My love of container gardening fits in with my penchant for purchasing just one of everything. Repetition is a good thing in design, but I have much more fun trying something new every year.

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