The Q&A Archives: Royal Blue Annual for Mass Planting

Question: Our community is planting a flowerbed that, is a replica of our Town Crest. The colors are royal blue, gold and white. Last year we used marigolds and allysum, and it turned out quite nice, but the allysum was more of a purple hue. We did consider using upright lobelia, as the color is perfect, but were advised that it wouldn't hold up well at a very windy site (were also concerned that it wouldn't show as a blue mass the whole season). The site is also on a hill and it doesn't take much to drown the bottom when watering. Do you have any suggestions for mass planting in these colors? Would also love to know what kind of a flowerbed this is called?

Answer: I believe the name you are thinking of is perhaps "carpet bedding" which originally referred to ornate patterns done with foliage plants in Victorian times but now is used to refer to patterns made with flowering plants as well.

One very nice blue often used successfully in such patterns is ageratum, which is available in several heights and shades. My personal favorite especially for a hot or windy and consequently drier site, however, is salvia farinacea "Victoria" which would combine well with the marigolds and perhaps a white alyssum or, if more height is desired, a white petunia. A very pale silvery gray such as that of a Dusty Miller type plant can also look good in place of pure white. These plants will all take sun and some wind but excessive water will cause nearly any plant to rot at the roots, so you might consider realigning or refitting your watering system to account for the runoff caused by the slope. Good luck with your project!

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