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Picking out patriotic plants
The Old Glory Mix of Mini Famous calibrachoas in hanging baskets make it easy to decorate for July Fourth. - photo by The Charlotte Observer

It’s fun to decorate for the Fourth of July, but adding to your yard takes the celebration of the holiday just one step further.

A summer display of red, white and blue is easy to create either in the garden or in a container. Keep your eyes open for combinations that have already been created for you, such as the Old Glory Mix of Mini Famous calibrachoas that are like small petunias.

"Things that are blooming now are red and white petunias," said Robbie MacCormac, a Hall County Master Gardener. "White flowers — there are daisies, white zinca, white impatients, white petunias. There’s also a white euphorbia, ... lamb’s ear is a plant that doesn’t really have a flower and has white fuzzy leaves."

Some pretty varieties of petunias are "easy wave red," "easy wave blue," "storm blue" and "storm red."

Lori Carson, also a Hall County Master Gardener, said right now is a great time to plant a patriotric-themed garden.

"Everything is blooming right now," she said. "Petunias come in all those colors. Irises are white and also deep purple. Some things that are actually blue could be your hydrangeas. Cardinal flower is bright, bright red and most people can find that easy enough. A balloon flower is pretty blue. Babies breath that’s white is real good for that thin, pretty texture."

If it is hard to find a true blue flower, using deep shades of purple also would work nicely.

Container gardening would be an easy bet to quickly plant a theme garden.

"Blue is going to be a little trickier; maybe you could start with a blue container," MacCormac said. "You could also do blue sages and, depending on how big your pot is, you could do a small (blue) hydrangea."

MacCormac said she would top off her patriotic garden with some flags.

If a flower bed is more your style, purchase landscape soil mixes by the bag, cubic yard or truck full. When you look at the price by the cubic yard, you’ll see it is a small price to pay for the key ingredient that will give you the green thumb.

MacCormac said she helped the Hall County Junior Master Gardeners plant a patriotic garden at Myers Elementary a few years ago.

"We did a garden that was one of the ships — the Godspeed — that came to Jamestown," she said. "The sails of the ship are in red, white and blue. Everything we planted was perennials but most everything I was mentioned (above) are showy annuals."

No matter your political colors, honoring our country in a garden or decorative container will grow some patriotism for this Fourth of July holiday.

The Charlotte Observer contributed to this report