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Five Container Gardens with Summer Bulbs

When confronted with a garden center filled with colorful flowering annuals it's easy to overlook the roots, tubers, and corms that produce such lovelies as dahlias, lilies, and cannas. But I urge you to take a minute to peruse the "summer bulb" display and select a few for your garden.

I'm particularly fond of using summer bulbs in container garden designs. They add an extra oomph to my combinations of seasonal color.

Here are five ideas that you can use in your garden.

Dahlia Color Accents

Because they bloom in so many vibrant hues dahlias are tailor made for adding a pop of color. I like to pot up containers with single varieties for accents around the garden. I use them to fill blank spots in borders, match them up with other containers, or just place them on their own.

Dahlia Container Garden

Shade Loving Dish Garden

When it comes to container designs for shaded areas I often reach for caladiums. Their fantastically patterned foliage adds season-long flare. I particularly like varieties that have white and green variegated leaves or white, green and pale pink. These light colors really stand out in the shade.

Caladium Container Garden for Shade

Lilies and Herbs

Lilies are one of my all-time favorite summer bulbs. The Oriental varieties have rich fragrance and the Asiatics are so colorful. The only drawback to lilies is that they have a set period of bloom. In flower beds you can extend the flowering time by planting early, mid, and late season varieties. In containers I combine lilies with other plants that will step to the forefront after the lilies fade. In this container pictured here lilies are planted with herbs. Mixing flowers with edibles is a great idea for gardeners with limited space.

Lilies and Herbs in a Container Garden

Canna-rific Container

Cannas are an excellent choice for bringing bold foliage and height to container garden designs. I use them as the tall and spikey element in my three shape combos tall and spikey, round and full, and cascading.

Container Garden Recipe with Cannas

Contrasting Textures

One way to create a dramatic plant combination is by juxtaposing contrasting textures. Cannas' fleshy foliage with the fine leaves of ornamental grasses is a classic pairing. Using plants in the same color family adds a pleasing harmony to the design.

Container Garden with Ornamental Grass and Cannas