Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Does Your Garden Boast a Red Bed?

I sought to copy the beautiful Red Bed Garden of a precious gardener in  a zone 5 Garden. Common sense would tell me that I can't grow exactly what she grows but I thought I could substitute more appropriate plants for my climate in RED. I'm still working on this bed, but the name changed to the Fiesta Bed.

If my goal was a glorious Red Bed during just one season of the year, I could have pulled it off. The intention here is a long season of continuous bloom and as much fragrance as possible.

Let me further describe her methods. She anchored the bed with shrubs with purple foliage. She used reds in shades that lean toward crimson, few scarlets. Orange-reds were replaced. She used annuals like castor bean that require most of her short summer to come to full size. In the spring there were tulips, all red.

Right off, I had problems. The best purple foliage plants that I have readily available are Loropetalums. The blooms are pink, bright honking magenta pink but not RED. Tulips here are not perennial. They require much chilling and preparation and then voles eat them. Daffodils are easy. Daffodils do not come in RED. I moved some small red daylilies into my hot, sunny Red Bed. They were happier when they were in shade for part of the day down by the birdbath.

Scarlet blooms of Sammy Russell daylilies.
Other daylilies indicated they'd rather have a cooler spot in high shade as well.

Superlative or Kent's Favorite II. I forget which is which.

Janie sent me a Red Cascade rose. It grew. And grew. I had to build it a cedar limb corral to keep it off its companions. It blooms a lot, too.  Red Knockout roses planted nearby are in awe.

Fibrous rooted begonias with dark foliage are supposed to withstand sun. Not here. They begged to go live under the Magnolia tree, please.

Here is Mini-Red Bed with those begonias that were not happy in all day sun, some Brazilian ruellia and some purple companions. Red daylilies bloom nearby.

While I was hoping to get red flowering plants going, I needed a place for Esperanza I grew from seed. Esperanza loves sun, withstands drought, perfect for the spot except that it is Bright Yellow. Stunning, that Tecoma Stans.

Janie sent me seeds of Pride of Barbados. Now there's a blossoms with some red -- some yellow, too. At a distance it is orange. I love it. I have two good plants and have planted out some seedlings this spring. Butterflies love it. I planted zinnias seeds yesterday -- mixed.

Now that I've realized that the Red Bed was in the wrong location, it is sucessfully growing toward total Fiesta. Purple Datura will assure Fiesta along with the seedling yellow Candlesticks I planted and some Purple Alternanthera. Meanwhile butterflies are entertained in the Fiesta Bed by dark red Asiatic lilies and pink Silene while we await high summer blossoms. Oh, there's RED Alternanthera, too from cuttings saved over the winter.

Gaudy, bright colors work well in the bright sunlight of my zone 8b garden. I've accepted that the muted reds of zone 5b were just not going to work here.

What's in Your Red Bed?


  1. You have some great flowers in your red bed.

    I don't have a separate bed, but a section in one of the larger ones that is based on red:

    monarda 'Jacob Cline'
    crocosmia 'Lucifer'
    salvia greggii 'Navajo Red'
    blanket flower in burgundy and in the usual bi-color.
    I sowed Maltese Cross seeds and hope those will do something.

  2. I have never tried to have a separate bed for any specific color, but I've admired ones I've seen in magazines. I go for a very informal cottage garden look, with all pastel colors mingling. It does seem that reds should look good in your hot, bright sun. Good luck!

  3. Love your fiesta bed! Muted tones can sometimes be over-rated, personally I love all your flowers and the way your voice really comes through in your blog. Thanks for the awesome read!

  4. Great post - I like the Red Bed and Fiesta Bed names... the reds I do are: carnations, crocosmia and roses.

  5. I had a red bed, that became a red and yellow bed, that evolved into a rainbow bed with all different colors. haha So, I guess I don't have a red bed anymore. :) Love your Red Cascade!!!

  6. Your photographs are beautiful. Caroline has the same daylilies in her garden. Also, some red bee balm which the hummingbirds love. Just found your blog and will be back.

  7. First, thanks for sharing 'Sammy Russell' one of my newest additions in the daylilies....can't wait to see it bloom.
    I had a red garden in VA, had a red hibiscus, Discobelle series (I think), a crape myrtle, 'Tacoma', Eucomis 'Sparkling Burgundy', under the Crape myrtle- red Caladiums, red verbena, red foliage Coleus, and I am sure some other plant material....but I can't remember right now. I like having a red garden...kind of fun.

  8. It's hard to have a planned color bed when you just stick the next plant in the first bare spot you can find.....with little regard as to its neighbors!

    The truest red I have is an oriental poppy I grew from seed 'Beauty of Livermore'. I have a dark red iris, Jacob Cline monarda and salvia splendens in reds which self seed for me so are perennial in a way; red honeysuckle, and a very dark red foliage plant, perilla. I have planted a red rose this spring...all in separate beds. I do have several red daylilies.

  9. my zone 5 red bed also has some yellows and oranges to break it to create...also have a white garden that likes to sport non-white flowers...never quite sure how they get there

  10. I'm just starting working on a new bed and red is on the menu! but like your friend I'm doing a purple/red combination. I've ordered red lilies, growing red hollyhocks and purple green foliage. The site will receive some shade though unlike your garden. In my super sunny part of the yard the bright red of maltese cross is a better fit.

  11. Yep, gotta have some red. Pop and punch.


I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.

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