Are you starting to give some serious thought about how you plan to plant up your containers this year? I know I am. I’m always amazed at the variety of container annuals we are offered for planting up our pots, and yet so often you see the same-o same-o combinations year after year. The lack of originality lies not with the growers but with us, the planters. I vow this year to be different on my porch, and have made myself a personal challenge to do better, to plant creative planters.
Poring over seed catalogues will give you lots of ideas and introduce you to container plants you were perhaps unaware of. A good thorough check through the nurseries, once product arrives is also a valuable source for inspiration, not to mention container gardening books and magazines.
Now is a good time to play around with plant combinations on paper, gather pictures of plants you love and see how you could incorporate them into a pot for best effect. Cut out small color swatches of plants and paste them together on cardboard to the desired effect. This will also help you to figure out how many of each plant you will need at planting time. This is not unlike giving your wardrobe a good work over for what works with what.
I’ve come up with a few ideas that I plan to try this spring. I’m totally open to any suggestions or additions anyone might have.
Container Garden Design
For a sunny, hot side of the porch and to please orange flower lovers (which my husband is and I’m beginning to believe a lot of men are) I’m thinking of combining orange marigolds, purple petunias and pink scaevola. Might even throw in a few helichrysums. Do several pots up the same for continuity.
On the East porch I plan to go softer, morning sun but not the very hot heat of the afternoon. I love the freshness of yellow and white mixed together. For these pots some yellow and white violas, marguerites, busy lizzies and blue scaevola should blend nicely.
We are a very hot and dry climate and pots out in the garden really have to be tough. About the only thing that works well for me is succulents, and thank goodness in the last few years suppliers are growing so many great varieties to choose from. This was not always the case. I’m going to look for grey-leaved echeveria, hens & chicks (which I can steal from my garden beds), purple leaved sedum and elfin thyme. This will give me almost indestructible planters.
If you have garden containers on the large size, such as a halve barrel or galvanized tub, they make great little herb gardens. I have a very old tin tub I inherited from my grandmother’s farm years ago. Most herbs will be out in the garden area but I’ll plant this tub up with some of the herbs that I like to just grab a pinch off of when cooking. Most likely this tub will be planted with parsley, chives, lemon balm and chocolate mint.