But finally the containers I planted at work have grown into what I imagined them to be. You really have to have a lot of faith when your original plantings look like these two:
My vision was big, bold canna leaves shooting out the top with contrasting foliage plants spilling over the sides and a delicate flower or two blooming at the base.
After 6 weeks there was still nothing spectacular. Even Ipomoea 'Blackie' and 'Sweet Caroline' were not spilling over as much as I had wanted. I was beginning to doubt my choices.
Ah, but finally in mid-August changes began. The ipomea spilled, the 'Palace Purple' Coral Bells burst into sprays of tiny creamy white, bell-shaped flowers, which were a nice contrast to the big bold striped Tropicanna leaves--as is the purple color of the Coral Bell foliage on its own. Now this is more like my vision of big bold leaves shooting out the top:
These planters don't even need flowers to look good.
Look at the spilling contrast of foliage in this one.
On the opposite side, you can see the coleus has spilled nicely and is a great contrasting plant.
It happens to have a canna flower in bloom. If it had about six of them it would really be making me swoon! So far none of them have had quite enough canna blooms to be totally effective.
If you look closely you can see the dainty little flowers of 'Palace Purple' coral bells:
I am still waiting for the fountain grass to shoot up a bloom or two. It may not in this planter because it's been nearly choked out by the foliage plants.
My two favorites are on the other side of the building, flanking an entrance door. If your monitor cuts off the right side, you will have to click on the picture to see them both.
They both have blooms on the cannas. I have been pinching off the coleus blooms all summer. I am now letting them bloom because there is only 4-5 weeks left until frost, and I think the flower spikes will add some pizazz to the containers. I am so much happier with these planters than I was last year when I did not do the cannas.