Punch Up Garden Color

201203hsp_057 Looking at your yard as the location for a wedding, you might notice that you have a good amount of green foliage but not much else. Some properties are filled with serviceable evergreens and not many flowers; others have plants in bloom, but only at certain times of the year.

Here’s the good news: all of those green plants make a great background for photos of the wedding party. More good news: adding flowers for the big day is relatively easy. From April through October, most garden centers stock large pots of flowering annuals. These can be planted in the ground where it’s easy to dig holes and plop the plants in.

If the containers are attractive, another option is to leave the flowers in their pots. Or consider a halfway approach. Dig a hole around three inches deep and place the pot in that shallow cavity. Push the dirt around the pot which will prevent the container from blowing over and hide the bottom of the pot.

Creative Solutions

201203hsp_058 It happens: two weeks before a big event the small tree that has been a focal point next to the driveway suddenly turns brown and sheds all its leaves. Maybe you’re at the end of a long dry spell, the tree was attacked by a fungus, or some well-meaning person over fertilized. Perhaps a passing hurricane blew all leaves from the plant.

Diagnosing the cause is almost beside the point. A plant has either been disfigured or died and you need to decide what to do about it. There are a couple of quick fixes for situations like this. The first involves speedy removal and the second uses the old lemons into lemonade strategy.

If the plant that suddenly departed for plant heaven isn’t very large, the best solution might be to cut it down and have it hauled away. Be sure that any stump or stem is cut right to ground level. This makes it easier to hide and prevents any remnants from becoming tripping hazards.

On the other hand, when a large tree suddenly dies there may not be time to cut it down—especially because doing so can disrupt the landscaping around the dead plant. It’s almost better to leave a dead tree in place than to have the lawn strewn with fresh tire ruts and sawdust on the day of the wedding. Besides, dead trees can be decorated and made into a garden asset.

Paint a smaller tree bright blue, wind a larger one with strings of white fairy lights. Hang large, white paper lanterns on the branches or display origami birds, paper flowers, ribbons, banners, or other ornaments appropriate to the season or wedding theme. Treat dead trees as if they are structures for your décor, not deceased plants.

Although a deceased tree can be turned into something decorative, dead shrubs or lifeless smaller plants should probably be removed. If there isn’t time, don’t worry about digging the plant completely out of the soil. Cut it down to ground level and throw it away.

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C.L. Fornari is a well-known gardening expert on the Cape and Islands. She is an author, a lecturer, and a radio host on numerous gardening subjects.

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