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From London to Your Garden
Not everyone is lucky enough to travel to the annual RHS Chelsea Flower Show, held for one week in May at the Royal Hospital Chelsea. However, by studying the floral combinations and garden designs prepared by horticulturists and landscape experts in these photos, we can apply the winning ideas of the show to our own flowerbeds.Continue to 2 of 14 below.
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Alliums by the Dozen
Bulbs of large allium varieties like ‘Gladiator,’ the newly introduced ‘Pinball Wizard,’ and ‘Ambassador’ are expensive, sometimes running as high as seven or eight dollars per bulb. However, if you don’t plant these bulbs en masse, you run the risk of creating a display that looks more like a few lonely lollipops than the festive gathering of orbs seen in this Chelsea photo. Invest in at least a dozen allium bulbs for your planting, and hide the withering foliage with the foliage of other spring perennials.Continue to 3 of 14 below.
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Anything Goes in the Flower GardenContinue to 4 of 14 below.
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Festival of Foliage
This palette of coral bells demonstrates the power of foliage in bringing interest to the garden when flowers are out of bloom. And, as if there weren’t enough variety in the coral bells genus, gardeners can also explore the similar tiarella (foam flower), or the lovely equation that results from crossing coral bells with tiarella: the heucherella (foamy bells).Continue to 5 of 14 below.
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Beyond the Garden Gnome
There comes a time in every flower gardener’s life when she must move past the resin garden turtles and toadstools in the big box store, and invest in a piece of art for the landscape. Will you choose concrete, bronze, or something else? What will the artwork say about you and your gardening philosophy?Continue to 6 of 14 below.
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If you’ve been bitten by the tropical flower bug, learn what exotic flowers will adapt to your climate. Flowering plants like these bromeliads require little care in a sheltered spot, and are easy to overwinter in a sunny window.Continue to 7 of 14 below.
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Roses, an Enduring Favorite
Dedicated rosarians may be familiar with the breeder Peter Beales, who grows and sells more than 1200 varieties of roses at their Norfolk garden and breeding center. Peter Beales introduced three new rose varieties just for the 2012 Chelsea Flower Show, including a Queen’s Jubliee rose featuring creamy white, fully double blossoms. Whether you seek new introductions or prefer heirloom favorites, incorporate your roses into the rest of your flower garden rather than isolating them in their own bed for a natural looking landscape.Continue to 8 of 14 below.
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Visiting flower shows like the Chelsea introduces gardeners to new or unusual plants that are seldom seen in local nurseries. Flower gardeners who aren’t satisfied with the usual marigolds and zinnias any longer may plant the gloriosa lily, also known as the flame lily or climbing lily. This well-mannered vine tops out at four to six feet, and thrives in the container garden in a sunny spot. Plant the tubers after all danger of frost has past, and store the tubers in a frost-free shed or garage at the end of the growing season.Continue to 9 of 14 below.
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South African Flair
You might see agapanthus and tulbaghia flowers like these, African natives of the Alliaceae and Amaryllidaceae families, growing in warm coastal areas, but the bulbs are too tender to overwinter in growing zones 7 or colder. Gardeners can choose between deciduous and evergreen agapanthus plants, but the deciduous varieties, like ‘Midnight Cascade’ or ‘Headbourne Hybrids,’ display greater cold hardiness. The flowers bloom over a six week period in midsummer.Continue to 10 of 14 below.
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Spring Container Gardens
Some flower gardeners limit their container gardening to annual and tropical flowers, but perennial flowers and bulbs also make fine potted specimens for the deck and patio. Not all perennials can survive the winter in containers, but you can use containers to hold perennial divisions for one growing season while the plants mature, and then install them in their permanent home in the fall. Perennials in containers also make sense when pairing plants that thrive in different soil types: an acid-loving plant could go in the ground, and its alkaline-loving companions can grow alongside in pots.Continue to 11 of 14 below.
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Rock Garden Favorites
Not all gardeners are blessed by the abundant rain that nourishes British flowers, but lupines thrive in the dry rocky soil present in some North American climates. The nitrogen-fixing flowers also appreciate cool nights and regular irrigation.Continue to 12 of 14 below.
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The protea plants on display in this South African exhibit may be outside the growing comfort zone of some flower gardeners, but the plants are forgiving tropicals for those new to growing exotic flowers. The essential growing requirements for proteas are full sun, sharply draining soil (as you would provide a cactus), and protection from frost.Continue to 13 of 14 below.
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A Traditional Cottage Garden
One reason the cottage garden remains so popular as a design form is that its free form is forgiving of a few weeds and unexpected self-sowing flowers. Not all cottage gardens will resemble the classic English cottage garden: in dry areas, gomphrena and bachelor’s buttons may replace sweet peas and primroses.Continue to 14 of 14 below.
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