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Seasonal Color

Learn an easy way to incorporate seasonal color without the seasonal fuss.

Seasonal color is a buzzword among garden designers these days. Basically it means designing a garden that remains colorful throughout the growing season. But designing such a garden is far easier said than done, because it takes careful planning and thoughtful plant selections.

Master gardener Paul James has a simple technique for hassle-free seasonal color — simply add a few dramatic touches of color. For example, this bed is monochromatic, meaning it contains mostly plants in shades of the same color — green.

But just look what happens when a little color is added. "See how just three plants give this bed a powerful punch of color," says James. And that's basically his secret to seasonal success.

"Here in my neck of the woods," says James, "nothing does that better than mums, but I don't bother planting them. Instead, I just stick them in the garden, pot and all." And these days, savvy growers put their mums in plastic pots like these, which from only a few feet away look just like terra cotta.

Because mums come in a wide variety of colors, you can create just about any mood you want. For example, if you don't want the loudness of yellow, tone it down a bit with something more tame like this 'Hot Salsa' mum. Or try a more subdued chrysanthemum.

Of course, mums aren't the only option available. You can also incorporate asters . And don't forget those hardy annuals that provide a great deal of color until the first hard freeze, such as orange and yellow Osteospermum or blue and white Nemesia.

To avoid the trouble of planting seasonal color, just stick the plants in the garden, pot and all, and they'll actually root out of the pot and into the soil. "There really is a way to add all kinds of color in your garden without all the trouble of planting, and for lazy gardeners like me," says James, "this technique is a proven winner."

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