The porch was okay, but it wasn’t really a destination—unless you were tired and needed a rocking chair. And it had potential—in fact, it had a few feet of empty space just begging to cradle window boxes. But, in keeping with the restive ambiance of the rockers, I wanted a conversation piece that wouldn’t jar the senses. And, the back of my house seriously needed something to add a little botanical “bowtie” for the porch. When Longfield came out with their collection of calla lilies, they were just the ticket.THE CHALLENGE:
The front porch wasn’t half bad, but it didn’t match the splendor of the garden. Window boxes were my answer. Because the porch isn’t young, rather than put needless weight on the boards, I went for fiberglass to look like faux-cement and filled it them organic potting soil and added a few plants of Ipomoea ‘Blackie’.
Then I planted the calla lilies when danger of frost was absolutely over in mid-May, burying them an inch or so below the soil surface. Placing them with the side with shoots facing upward is key.
Three weeks later, promising shoots were jutting a few inches up.
By mid-August, right when the rest of the garden was in a lull, the calla lilies were going strong. But meanwhile, I switched the ipomoeas that were pestered by slugs for troublefree Plectranthus forsteri ‘Green on Green’ which was the perfect partner in all ways.
The plectranthus were great companions. They kept the calla lilies standing tall and gave them a great collar of complimentary color.
Although ‘Night Cap’ started the season with burgundy flowers, later they deepened to nearly black. And the callas kept on producing until frost. This photo was taken in mid-September.
Truly black flowers are rare, but ‘Night Cap’ comes pretty close.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the porch, I’d planted a similar combination, using Calla lily ‘Crystal Clear’ instead of ‘Night Cap’. The idea was one side would be black and the other would be white.
Slightly taller but with a larger blossom, Calla lily ‘Crystal Clear’ worked equally well with the plectranthus.
And when an Ipomoea ‘Margarita’ popped up later in the season when I’d cleared out the slugs, it made a truly handsome combination coupled with ‘Crystal Clear’ and the plectranthus.