Never heard of a "Football Garden?" You are not alone, since it's a term I just invented. I'm going to patent and trademark it, too, if I can.
What is a "Football Garden?" It is a garden of colorful plants that feature your favorite football teams colors. Examples: Vikings fans can have a gloriously colorful garden of vibrant purple and glowing gold, while Cheeseheads have to settle for plain old green and yellow. Closer to home, Arizona Wildcat fans can plant a garden of red and blue flowers. (That's tough, because few flowers are Wildcat blue.) Arizona Cardinals fans plant a garden of cardinal red and white flowers. Or you could plant red, white and blue, and passers-by won't know if you are celebrating your teams or being patriotic, or maybe both. This is where you have to get intricate with your Football Garden.
In many cases, your Football Garden has to be far more than mere flowers. Most flowers won't last the entire football season anyway, let alone still blooming in case your team makes it to the Super Bowl (Feb. 6, 2011, in Arlington, Texas). Besides, how are you going to plant an Oakland Raiders Football Garden? Their colors are silver and black. Or a New Orleans Saints Garden with metallic gold and black?
Easy answer to teams with tough colors — go for the logo. The New Orleans Saints have a fleur-de-lis as their logo. Shape your Football Garden like a giant fleur-de-lis outlined in black pavers and planted with golden dyssodia or damianita flowers. Folks will get the idea. Since the Saints have white as a secondary color, you could circle the whole thing with white desert zinnia.
Why not go for a design celebrating the logo in any case. It clears up any potential confusion. If you don't want to get too fanatical about your Football Garden, or your HOA won't let you plant a giant logo in your front yard, you could simply site plants with your team colors around the yard.
So here are some plants that will grow here and help you celebrate your team. Many are low water, and most are perennials. Repeat names are because they come in many colors.
White: desert zinnia, Blackfoot daisy, Chihuahuan orchid bush, white rain lily, Texas olive, sweet alyssium, petunia, amaryllis, morning glory, 'Frosty Morn' sedum, clematis, feverfew, tufted evening primrose, petunia, snapdragon, clematis.
Red: firecracker penstemon, Eaton's penstemon, Baja fairy duster, bottlebrush, coral tree, bougainvillea, red queens wreath, 'Valentine' eremophila, firecracker bush, amaryllis, passionflower vine, petunia, pineapple sage, bergamot, morning glory, tulip, Turkish poppy.
Orange: orange bells (Tecoma alata), woolly butterfly bush, Cape aloe, lantana, marigold, gazamia, California poppy, calla, hibiscus, orange bougainvillea, calendula.
Golden yellow: golden dyssodia, damianita, angelita, coreopsis, lantana, brittle bush, turpentine bush, hibiscus, Mount Lemmon marigold, senna, yellow bells, Devil River daisy, yellow rain lily, calendula, calla.
Green depends on the team. Seahawk green from 'Beka' sedum or sweet euphorbia. New York Jets midnight green can be done with chocolate mint plants. Also look at ornamental grasses, junipers, rain lilies, oxalis and liriope.
Blue also depends on the team. Bronco navy blue is a tough one, but the Titans Blue is fairly close to the flowers of the Cape plumbago. Other blues: 'Summertime Blue' eremophila, grape hyacinth, passionflower, Texas blue sage, morning glory, balloon flower, desert blue bells, blue flax, buffalo flower.
Purple comes in a suite of colors, from vivid verbena to dusky 'Boot Hill' Eupatorium. Also consider purple penstemon, lantana, ruellia, germander, purple prickly pear, passionflower, monarda, bougainvillea, violets and pansies.
Brown abounds in rocks and tree trunks, but Cleveland Brown does not.
Silver. Many desert plants have silvery hues. Violet silverleaf (Leucophyllum candidum), woolly butterfly bush, Cleveland sage, Russian sage, eucalyptus, and 'Powis Castle' artemisia. Many agaves are silvery blue, like the artichoke agave (Agave parryi). Which reminds me, artichokes are a lovely silver plant, and you get food from them, too.
Burgundy: oxalis, 'Chameleon' sweet euphorbia, burgundy heucera, burgundy butterfly bush.
Black. While some plants get close to black, it is not a natural color. Try 'Black Beauty' iris, 'Midnight' buddleja, black pansy, black tulips, 'Black Jack' sedum.
Good luck with your garden, and go team!
Want some help selecting plants for your football garden? Got plants but not sure how to care for them? I work as a "garden coach" to help you move forward with your landscape or gardening plans. Give me a call at 292-0504. Please leave a voice message.