IFALL IN AND OUT OF LOVE WITH COLEUS (which not so many years back changed its botanical name to Solenostemon scutellarioides, not surprisingly prompting one of our estrangements). This season, I’m back in love, largely thanks to a recent introduction called ‘Spitfire’ that’s just what a gardener who loves hot-colored annuals needs to tie the picture together.
When I started to try to stage the various pots of my hot-colored 2011 annuals by the barn a few weeks back, I couldn’t make it work. I needed some botanical “design glue”–which usually comes in the form of foliage. At the local garden center, I found just the right connective tissue in the coleus called ‘Spitfire,’ whose terra-cotta foliage is splashed in gold with a tiny undertone of purple. Once the pots start to fill out (especially the canna and the coleus), I think the evolving grouping below, including the recently planted coleus at its center and a pot of its close cousin called ‘Sedona’, will come together–perhaps with some shifting of pots, too, but you get the idea.
Besides the coleus, the other design glue was right here in the garden for the moving: Three Heuchera ‘Caramel’ got lifted from the ground and called into pot action, gradually forming widening skirts under the Japanese maple and the canna. Not surprisingly, the heuchera is similar in color to the coleus–just paler. I often use it in pots, and then simply return them to the empty vegetable garden for overwintering.
What’s your take on coleus this season–or have you happened on any other great foliage plants to tie together your pot combinations? I’d be interested to hear.