In the garden…where patriotism grows
With more folks than ever spending more time than ever in their gardens, it’s not surprising that symbols of patriotism are popping up in landscapes.
Old Glory flutters its beautiful red, white, and blue from porches, patios, and poolsides. Miniature flags decorate window boxes and potted plants. Gardeners grow red, white, and blue flowers in red, white, and blue pots. Stars and stripes adorn garden art.
At one time, simply growing a garden was a proclamation of patriotism. During WWI and WWII, when manpower and fuel shortages made it difficult to harvest and transport fruits and vegetables to market, folks planted tomatoes, carrots, kale–all manner of fruits, vegetables, and herbs—in small gardens in backyards, front yards, churchyards, city parks, and vacant lots. Originally referred to as “war gardens” and “food gardens for defense”, eventually these grow-it-yourself patches of patriotism and productivity became known as Victory Gardens. Children who helped with the planting and picking were called “soldiers of soil.” It is estimated that by the end of WWII, the nation’s 5 million Victory Gardens were growing 40% of the domestic food supply. It was a time when growing lettuce, peas, and pumpkins was more than a national pastime: it was a national duty.
Today, there’s a list of reasons to explain why folks grow gardens: the taste of “farm fresh”; the nutritional value of “vine ripened”; the exercise obtained from bending, stooping, squatting, and checking the rows; not to mention the satisfaction that comes from sharing “homegrown” fruits, vegetables, and flowers with family, friends, and neighbors. Recently, too, folks have discovered the rewards that come from getting back to basics.
Patriotism in the garden? Go ahead, bring on the red, white, and blue!
It’s easy to showcase your patriotic spirit by growing a red, white, and blue flower garden. Combine annuals and perennials in beds and borders, or grow an American flag motif using red-, white-, and blue-flowering plants that bloom at the same time and thrive in the same growing conditions.
Check the lists below for a sampling of red-, white-, and blue-flowering favorites.
Red: begonia, celosias, geraniums, impatiens, roses, salvia, verbena, pentas, periwinkles, zinnias.
White: coneflowers, geraniums, oakleaf hydrangeas, impatiens, periwinkles, roses, salvias, verbenas, zinnias.
Blue: ageratums, bluebonnets (sow in fall for spring bloom), hydrangeas, lobelias, morning glories, phlox, salvias, torenias, verbenas.