Front Bed Line-up


After a lot of thought and research, I bought our first batch of plants for our front flower bed.

I went with a modern casual look that brings together lots of textures and bright jewel tones to compliment our celery house color. Of course, the plants will take some time to grow in, but I am pretty confident (ha! fingers crossed) it will look fabulous. 🙂

The Grasses

Let’s start with the ornamental grasses. Perfect for our climate, they give that modern look I am after.

To save cost, I divided two of the grasses in half. This is easy to do – just cut through the plant evenly in half or quarters. You want them to be able to establish a strong root system so divide them in spring or early summer when they are are growing, but not flowering.


Purple Fountain Grass
(pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’)

I planted four Rubrums. They are a pretty common grass in these parts and can grow up to 3-4 feet tall. They will begin to flower this summer with soft purple foxtails. Then in late fall, when the leaves start to turn brown they will go dormant until spring.


Fireworks – a variegated fountain grass
(pennisetum setaceum)

According to my research, this plant was the first variegated purple fountain grass and a pretty hot ticket item when it came out. I bought only one because some reviews said it goes back to the original fountain grass color when it gets older so I’ll see what happens. I will say that the plant is pretty cool looking with leaves that are burgundy along the middle and hot pink on either side. It behaves like the Rubrums so will flower in the summer then can be cut back in late fall to return the following spring.


Sky Rocket – a variegated fountain grass
(pennisetum setaceum)

I believe the Sky Rocket plant came off the success of Fireworks. I like how it looks against the house and the contrast against the purple grasses. It will have silvery pink foxtails this summer.


Blooms & Vine

Mixed into the grasses are a few bright blooms and a potato vine. I plan to add a bunch of ferns my Mom is going to to give me.

Supertunia Raspberry Blast

Supertunia Raspberry Blast
(petunia hybrid)

Supertunia is a petunia bred to bloom in hot temperatures. This guy can get quite large – perfect for a big color statement. I was afraid he’s a little too grandma garden for me – but I love the color so I just went for it.

Sutera (Snowstorm Giant Snowflake) in front planters 3.18.09

Sutera Snowstorm Giant Snowflake
(sutera cordata)

Sutera has white blossoms that attract butterflies and should flower all summer long. The only issue I found in my research is it will not wilt when it dries out like other plants. Instead, it just drops all of it’s flowers and won’t bloom again for a couple weeks. I will have to make sure it’s well watered so that doesn’t happen.

Trailing purple lantana

Purple Trailing Lantana
(lantana montevidensis)

The blooms on the Lantana are also great for attracting butterflies. I bought three which will become a mass of lilac pink to purple blooms spring to fall. I’ve read that the foliage will change to a red or purple color in the colder months. I have an orange Lantata which survived our winter fine, so I think these guys will do well.

Potato Vine Flower

Sweet Caroline Purple Potato Vine
(ipomoea batatas)

The potato vine will eventually spill over the side of the bed with it lovely plum leaves and light purple blooms. It was planted strategically next to ugly plumbing so it can hopefully cover it. I’ve planted these before, but they died during the winter months. To keep them alive, I’ve read you can dig out the tubers and store in a cool dry container until spring.


With temperatures in the 90’s this week, I am keeping a close eye on all the new plants. I’ll be checking them morning and night to keep them watered. Next up is adding the ferns and planting our bed under our front window.


  1. rosenatti says

    Oooh, you’ve got pennisetum setaceum “fireworks!” I’ve wanted that damn grass forever, but I know it needs full sun to achieve its full ‘splodey colors, and my part-shady environs can’t give it that. JELUS.

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