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Colorful Annuals

I'm so obsessed with color this year that I am planting brilliantly hued flowers and foliage in every nook and cranny available. I have even decided to forego a vegetable garden and instead fill my raised beds with plants that will match the celebratory mood of the season.

I encourage you to do the same. Two plants that will get you off to a great start are hot pink 'Supertunia Vista Bubblegum' petunias and true blue 'Laguna Sky Blue' lobelia.

Petunias get a bad rap for faltering as summer progresses, but I've discovered that if you keep up a consistent feeding schedule they'll bloom all season long. 'Supertunias' are indeed super. They'll grow to about knee high, but again, you've got to feed them. I apply a liquid fertilizer every 5 to 7 days, more if they are planted in a container.

'Supertunia Vista Bubblegum'

'Tropicanna' Canna

'Laguna Sky Blue' Lobelia
I just can't get over 'Laguna Sky Blue' lobelia. My attempts to grow lobelia in the past were all thwarted by the excessive summer heat common to my mid-south garden. But we've had two weeks of temperatures in the 90 degree range and 'Laguna Sky Blue' just keeps blooming. It looks fabulous.

I'd be remiss if I only recommended flowers. To have a really outstanding garden you've got to include some foliage, too. Three great foliage plants that I can't live without are Persian shield, 'Tropicanna' canna, and, of course, coleus. My new favorite is coleus 'Fishnet Stockings'. It is a striking green with burgundy variegation.

Much like laughter, a festive plant palette has a wonderful affect on my psyche. As I walk through the garden after a long day and see the rich tapestry of color unfold before me, alive with butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds, I feel an instant lift in my spirit.

It is a good reminder that the garden, whether it is the size of a football field or a single container on a terrace, is a place of healing. Spend as much time as you can this summer enjoying the remedies it has to offer.