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Proctor's Garden: Create a shady oasis

Container plants can be used to make your shady retreat a colorful oasis. Great foliage plants complement shade-loving flowers.

DENVER — On a hot summer day, a shady retreat is welcome.

Container plants can be used to make your shady retreat a colorful oasis. Great foliage plants complement shade-loving flowers. 

Cordyline, ferns, caladiums, spider plants, ivy and oxalis can be used to provide a tropical backdrop. They will enhance the floral beauty of impatiens, begonias and flowering maples.

Many of these plants can be saved from year to year by bringing them inside in winter. They can be also be grown from cuttings taken in the fall. I tried my hand at growing flowering maples from seed this year. 

Members of the hibiscus family and are properly know as Abutilon have exceeded my expectations and have bloomed in colors ranging from pink and red to salmon, peach and yellow. Each is unique and beautiful.

Keep flowering maples deadheaded to keep them blooming, although you may want to let a few pods ripen if you want to try growing them from seed. When you bring the plants inside in fall, they'll continue to delight you in a sunny window.

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