One of the jewels of Waukegan, Illinois is its charming Lake Michigan harbor area–not because the area is fancy, but because it isn’t fancy. It’s just the sort of rustic marine enclave you’d find in New England: a small, tree-shaded park with picnic tables and outdoor grills, gray clapboard eateries–housing Dockside Dawgs and Dockside Ice Cream–across the square from The Salmon, where you can find deli sandwiches, fishing bait and other necessities for your day on the lake. On the south end of the harbor is the Waukegan Yacht Club, along with its outdoor venues for holiday barbecues and live music. Adding to this cozy spot for relaxing by the waterfront are the tubs, planters and beds of flowers everywhere.
Some of the planters this year are particularly eye-catching. At the north end of the harbor, rather than its usual rainbow assortment of colorful annuals, this year the Parks Department opted for major visual impact. Red begonias are paired with a lime green, sun-tolerant coleus, and anchored by a purple-leaved elderberry. The vivid colors present a sunny contrast to the deep blue water and the weathered wood beyond the gate.
My favorite arrangement this year is found in the large concrete planters outside the Yacht Club. This unusual, but stunning, color palette is a mix of orange, bronze, red, and white. The center of the pot is planted with what appears to be a Canna Lily ‘Black Knight’, a red-flowered variety of Canna with deep green and burgundy foliage. Starting from the inside out, the lily is surrounded by Coleus ‘Rustic Orange’, White New Guinea Impatiens, Diamond Frost® Euphorbia graminea, and Lantana Landmark ‘Citrus’. There are several of these pots, each approximately 24″ (61 cm) in diameter, all planted out with the same arrangement. If you’re fortunate enough to own a large pot or planter, you might want to try this combination at home.