In the garden…where patriotism grows

Flying the flag. American flags of all sizes can be displayed in gardens. Images by Diane Morey Sitton.

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.

Look around.

Picture perfect. The American flag, bunting, and patriotic-hued flowers frame the entrance to this cottage.
Color coordinated. The flowers, flags, containers, and colors of the house reflect a star-spangled spirit.

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.

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Stars and stripes. The American flag dresses up this rustic garden shed.
Something to crow about. Stars and stripes decorate this red, white, and blue rooster.

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.

Do-it-yourself. Displaying handcrafted garden art is a popular way to express patriotism.
Flying high. Potting shed, she-shed, garden shed…call it what you will…this mini retreat radiates patriotism.

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.

Miss Americana. A Miss Piggy-like figure shares a window box with American flags.
You’ve got mail. Love of country starts at curbside.

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.

Posted by Diane Morey Sitton
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