December is the perfect time to celebrate the past year, as well as the festive season, with pots filled with pretty plants. This year some of our best athletes returned home from the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, weighed down with gold, silver, and bronze medals around their necks. In order to celebrate these champions, and also with Christmas in mind, we chose some ‘celebratory’ plants to create two potting recipes for an entertainment area. Such is the versatility of many plants that it is easy to think up any design to play around with!
For this potting recipe the following plants were used:
Coastal rosemary (Westringia fruticosa) naturally grows near the coast in eastern Australia, and can easily be called one of the toughest, most willing shrubs to grow hassle-free, almost anywhere. It is a fast grower with high drought and salt tolerance, and is not at all fussy about soils. This shrub, with its neat, dull-green, needle-like foliage, creates a silvery effect from afar if grown in a mass. It’s also the perfect choice for a low hedge, as it responds very well to drastic pruning. Another option is to turn it into a topiary form such as this ring, where long, new branches were tied to a wire circle.
Coreopsis ‘Solanna Golden Ball’ covers itself all summer long with bright yellow double flowers that one can see from afar. It is a low-growing, tuft-forming perennial that loves hot and fairly dry conditions.
Sagina subulata ‘Aurea’ (Irish moss) forms a low, moss-like carpet of neon-yellow foliage. Tiny white flowers appear in late spring. It is an excellent crack-filler with a soft texture, and dislikes being too dry for too long, or wet, soggy soils and high humidity. It will grow well in sun to semi-shade.
Graptopetalum was used to add a different texture to the arrangement, by pushing rosettes of a silver-leaved hybrid into the moss carpet.
Lightweight plastic window boxes in bright colours, such as this one, allow you to play around with many options when creating a quick display for a festive occasion, such as a cocktail party. A little trellis panel was created by weaving floral wire through some dried ram’s horn branches (available at florists) to act as a background.
We planted some pretty ‘pinks’ called Carnation ‘Super Trouper Carmen’ covered in dark red blooms, and added a tight border of Gypsophila ‘Gypsy White’ in the front. Both are used in the garden as small gap-fillers to supply dainty colour.
The arrangement was finished off by simply pushing some dried stems of Seriphium plumosum into the soil at the back of the window box. This heath-like plant, which is common in the Western Cape and was previously known as Stoebe plumosa, has beautiful silver foliage that is long lasting, dries well, and is very popular amongst florists.