Flag cake

Flag cake

Assuming that the hot, dry weather will continue through this coming Monday, most of us will be celebrating our country’s independence from England with the traditional family and friends cookout. Our cookouts were usually hamburgers and hotdogs, corn on the cob, and sliced tomatoes. Dessert was my flag cake. Now my daughter and her neighbor have taken over and dinner is a lot fancier but the essence of friendship and laughter still abounds.

Some gardeners like to create a red, white, and blue garden but it isn’t easy. Many plants, both perennial and annual are red or white but finding dark blue is impossible. Even royal blue is hard to come by.

I thought it would be fun to see if there are plants with names that embody our holiday. Sure enough, I’ve found four.

Mandevilla Sun-Parasol Stars and Stripes-pittsburghpostgazette.com

Mandevilla Sun-Parasol Stars and Stripes-pittsburghpostgazette.com

Mandevilla ‘Stars and Stripes’ is an annual vine with large red, star-shaped flowers that are striped with white. This is a great vine for full sun in well drained soil and ample moisture. I usually plant it in a container with a trellis if I want it upright or no support if I want it to trail. Given a bit of fertilizer every few weeks, it will bloom until frost.

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Revolution'-knollwoodgardens.com

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Revolution’-knollwoodgardens.com

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Revolution’ is relatively new on the market. It blooms on both old and new wood. The mophead blooms vary in color from deep pink to maroon to true blue depending on the ph of your soil. As the blooms age, they acquire green  highlights.  It will mature at three to four feet and is hardy to zone 5. Originally bred for the cut flower market, the sturdy stems mean that they won’t fall over. This hydrangea will bloom in June and again in early fall. Plant in full sun for best bloom in well-drained soil that never dries out.

Hosta 'Independence'-songsparrow.com

Hosta ‘Independence’-songsparrow.com

Hosta ‘Independence’ is a mid-sized hosta (two feet by two feet) with thick, pointy, dark-green leaves that have white margins streaked and stippled with green. Pale green lavender flowers appear in July. The thickness of the leaves makes this hosta very resistant to slugs and rabbits. Plant in partial or full shade in virtually any soil.

Rosa 'fourth of July'-garden.com

Rosa ‘fourth of July’-garden.com

For rose lovers, I give you Rosa Fourth of July™, a climber with red and white, semi-double, striped and stippled flowers that are produced in large sprays and gift us with a spicy/sweet apple fragrance. This vigorous, disease-resistant, continually blooming plant is clothed with sparkling, deep-green foliage. It will need to be pruned each year in early spring to keep it under control. Its natural habit is tall (twelve feet) and narrow (three feet). In fall, it will sport bright red hips. It is a fast grower that should be grown in full sun and average to evenly moist conditions. It is not particular as to soil type or pH and is highly tolerant of urban pollution.

Perhaps, you will decide to celebrate this year by adding one of these revolutionary plants to your garden.