Creative containers help showcase England’s flowers

In these mid-September days, England is in full bloom.

I just returned from two wonderful weeks there and, more than the beaches and the buildings, I remember the flowers.

My long-suffering brother-in-law drove me and my sister all along the south coast from east to west on our way to visit a very special garden in Wales (next week’s column) and what a range of floral decorations we saw in every town and village.

The actual flowers used in these displays were much the same as any found in Tiffin or Fostoria, but it was the creative containers that supplied the extra punch.

In Bognor, a roundabout (traffic control circle) sported a rowboat filled to overflowing with red geraniums, white alyssum and blue bacopa. The roundabouts on the highways often are sponsored by local businesses that design, plant, water, mow and weed as necessary, and vie with one another for colorful originality.

When the Olympics were held in London in 2012, the bicycle races took place in the southern countie, so bicycles were used as decorations on the streets through which the riders passed.

With huge baskets of flowers perched on the handlebars, and another on the seat, they are attention-getting and attractive.

One type of container I would like to see in stores here is something like a large version of those two-handed oven gloves, with a pocket at each end. They can be draped across a wall or fence with the pocket on each side filled with blooming plants.

Most pubs are festooned with hanging baskets, sometimes color-coordinated with the street decorations. Sometimes, however, “mine host” goes to excess and the brickwork of the building is almost invisible behind the riot of clashing colors filling hanging baskets, window boxes and containers.

Color schemes can be wild, with a great propensity for red geraniums with orange marigolds and hot pink begonias and petunias.

Regular readers know I do not like orange flowers, so I did not really appreciate whole roundabouts planted with flaming orange marigolds, although they did provide cheer on a dull and rainy day, of which we experienced many.

The historic city of Bath deserves special mention. Convenient “Park and Ride” lots ring the central city, which has been pedestrianized. Shopping and visiting the Roman baths and the abbey and abbey gardens is a pleasure with the wide streets devoid of vehicles.

The whole area is beautifully adorned with decorative floral arrangements with white petunias predominating and touches of yellow, pink and purple flowers and sweet potato vines. Huge hanging baskets were everywhere, from rooftop level to specially constructed supports along the walkways.

All this fabulous floral decor added to the fabled English gardens and the abundant wildflowers in the countryside made this a September to remember.

Janet Del Turco is a local gardener and a graduate of the Ohio State University Master Gardener program. Contact her at