Show sports loyalty with garden colors

Published 12:40 pm Monday, September 12, 2022

By Gary R. Bachman
MSU Extension Service

If you are a sports fan — or even if aren’t but don’t want to let that secret out — one way to show off your allegiance is in the garden. There may not be a better way to combine interests than through a creative display that can include blooms, foliage and even garden art.

Displaying your sports colors can be as simple as arranging two potted plants next to each other on the patio or near the front door. And it can be as elaborate as laying out an entire landscape bed in appropriate seasonal color.

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One of my favorite ways to garden anything from citrus trees to tomato plants and seasonal displays is with containers. The wide variety of containers makes a sports-themed display easy to put together.

Local, independent garden centers are good places to find containers and art items that display team colors, especially for your local high school. You may find a container in your team’s primary color or perhaps decorative metal art to accent your landscape arrangement.

If you make a container arrangement, don’t forget the thriller, filler and spiller technique. The thriller provides vertical interest, the spiller falls over the edge of the container, and the filler ties it all together.

Garden flags make it easy to show off school spirit or your support of a professional athletic team. Just pick a prime location to display your sports flag so all the neighbors know who you cheer for.

If you want to go beyond decorations and use the plants themselves, there are terrific choices available. Browse the garden center’s aisles to find your team’s colors.

Mums are fall staples that come in many colors, so they are a good place to start when preparing football color combinations.

If you are looking for specific colors, here are some options available at different times of the year.

Flowers available in yellow or white include zinnias in the summer and fall, while pansies provide these colors in fall and winter. In fact, zinnias and pansies offer many color options for sports combinations.

Some of the flowers available as yellow also lean toward the orange end of the spectrum and can be useful if that is one of your favorite team’s colors.

Dianthus is a good cool-season choice for red. It also comes in a variety of pinks, whites and purples, so it can fit many color schemes. Don’t forget roses when you are looking for red.

Blue is a harder color to find if you are looking for a true blue and not willing to settle for shades closer to purple. It’s a little late for this year, but if you need blue in your landscape in the fall, look for salvia selections next summer. Black and Bloom and Black and Blue bring deep-blue flowers to the landscape from late spring deep into the fall.

Foliage brings the green needed for some team colors, and it provides the backdrop for blooms to shine. Foliage is also the ideal way to bring in black, if you need that color to rep your sports team.

Ornamental peppers provide some great black options, and their show lasts through the fall. Unless you already have ornamental peppers in your landscape, you will likely not find what you need at the garden center now. So, make a note now for next spring if you want to use ornamental peppers in your fall color scheme.

Midnight Fire has a compact, bushy growth habit, while Black Pearl is larger. Both ornamental peppers have distinctive dark-black foliage and abundant, dark-purple fruit that mature to bright red. This eye-catching combination may be just what your garden needs.

If you are not sure whether you have declared your sports fanaticism strongly enough, head to the local garden center this weekend to find options to make your landscape cheer for your favorite team.