Summer is synonymous with 4th of July celebrations – the fireworks, the barbecues, the American flags. When the patriotic mood strikes, you may find yourself staking little flags in every pot, container, and garden bed in your yard.
But there are other – dare we say more lovely and interesting! – ways to demonstrate your love of country on this holiday. Get creative with your landscaping and you can enjoy a bit of patriotism right along with your grilled hot dogs, and have a great looking outdoor space, too.
Try these ideas and explore your own creative vision for bringing some red-white-and-blue, and perhaps a bit of history, into your yard.
Get Inspired By The Flag
You’ve seen enough gardens planted in straight rows of red and white stripes to know that you can create a literal flag replica in just about any garden space. But that’s so… done.
And by July 5th, it’s probably going to lose some of its charm. Instead of going literal, try adding patriotic colors in a more naturalistic way. The same rules apply as for any garden. Choose blooms that have a similar growing season, share similar sun requirements, and have complementary heights – tall flowers should go toward the back, and shorter ones or ground cover toward the front.
There are so many appropriately hued blooms to choose from that you can mix and match to your heart’s content. Daylily, Lobelia and Cardinal Flowers shine in bright, bold reds. Aster, Hydrangea and Phlox are all pretty in white. And while there are no “true” blue flowers, there are enough in shades that will please to create a patriotic effect. Think Russian Sage, Butterfly Bush and Echinacea.
No need to be so literal, either. Delicately feathered Silver Ragwort planted with some Red Salvia will look lovely on any summer day.
Many flowers come in multiple shades, too. Hydrangea and Lobelia, for example, cross color boundaries. And if you want a quick way to add all three colors at once, a container full of Petunias is a great choice.
Presidents since George Washington have all kept gardens of various styles. For history buffs, a presidential garden can be a way to indulge your green thumb and patriotic feelings, too.
George Washington was famous for his extensive rose gardens, which his wife, Martha, then distilled into rose water. Plant a few red climbers and you’ve got a double win!
James Madison was the first president to grow a vegetable garden, and July is the perfect month for the most famous blue edible of all – the blueberry. Add a few tomatoes, and be daring with some white garden stones for a truly naturalistic and visually interesting garden.
Thomas Jefferson, noted for his conservationist approach and love of the natural world, went so far as to design a grove of “pet trees”. His gardening experiments birthed one of the most famous landscapes in the country – the gardens at Monticello.
From apples and peaches, to Hyacinth, Sweet Pea, Foxglove, Cardinal Flowers and more, there’s plenty of inspiration to be taken from his gardens.
Remember The Children
In 1969, the outgoing Johnson administration, particularly First Lady “Lady Bird” Johnson herself, gifted a Children’s Garden to the White House.
Since then, nearly two dozen White House children and grandchildren have pressed their handprints and footprints into clay to be cast into bronze and memorialized in the garden.
What better way to celebrate the holiday – and the future of our country – than by including a special space for children?
Think beyond fake turf and jungle gyms. There’s a lot you can do to make a beautiful and kid-friendly space. A wildflower garden full of butterflies, a few stepping stones, a cozy gazebo to serve as a play space – all of these things can bring a bit of peace and natural wonder into your child’s life.
The White House Children’s Garden boasts a goldfish pond, so why not add one to your family’s space? Koi play nicely with goldfish, too, and can be trained to eat right out of your child’s hand.
And why not decorate with cast hand prints or other sculptures and artwork? You can pay homage to the spirit of the holiday and engage your children in a fun summer activity at the same time.
By giving kids shelter and a quiet place to play amidst the beauty of nature, you’ll be encouraging creativity, supporting a sense of well-being, and instilling curiosity into our country’s youngest citizens.
If you enjoy clever hidden meanings and want to celebrate with a secret that you can pull out at the family barbecue like good trivia, then how about choosing your plantings for their patriotic names?
There are plenty of cultivars with apt names, from the Americana Red Geranium, to Patriot Hosta, the edible Roman Candle Tomato, Fireworks Red Fountain Grass, the Mr. Lincoln Tea Rose, American Dream Coreopsis, and native beauties like Fireworks Goldenrod, to name a few.
And what’s more patriotic than planting native flowers? They’re the true pioneers of our country, surviving and thriving through whatever Mother Nature has dished up.
So this Fourth of July, as you marinate the chicken and dress the potato salad, consider how you can bring a little bit of holiday spirit to your yard. Add a flag or two, but be sure to think about how you can imbue your space with color, meaning, and beauty that you can enjoy through the holiday and long beyond.
If you’re interested in creating a beautiful space in whatever style or colors suit you, contact us for a consultation. Our landscape design pros will work with you to design an outdoor living space that you can celebrate all year.