Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Pamela's Planters

It has been more than a week since Hurricane Irene stormed through our neighborhood, but we still haven't finished clearing up the debris. We lost some trees along the edge of the upper field. None fell on the house, and we are thankful for that. The electricity went off, the basement flooded, and we had no telephone service for two days. Our road was closed for five days because falling trees pulled down electric wires. Now we are being deluged by rain from tropical storm, Lee.  I walked around my gardens, between showers, and thought how beautiful the 'fall' flowers looked -- in spite of the weather -- especially the sweet autumn clematis, the blue mist shrub, and turtlehead. I started taking pictures for the new meme, First Views, by Town Mouse and Country Mouse. I think their idea to show the Big Picture at the beginning of each month is a good one, but my poor, broken camera finally gave up the ghost.  Instead, therefore, I will  show some of my planters. I took photographs of them a couple of weeks ago when my camera was still functioning somewhat. I was inspired to chose this topic by a recent posting from Carolyn's Shade Garden,  Colorful Annuals for Shade. Carolyn shows some amazing combinations of plants.

Large planters filled with elephants ears, papyrus, and lots of dragon wing begonias give my full-sun patio something of a tropical look this year.

Three large planters along one side of the patio create a sense of enclosure.

Elephant's ears Colocasia Black Magic, Begonia Dragon Wing, and Creeping Jenny

Deep blue calibrachoa and bright pink begonias have a bright, tropical appearance.

I love to see the tall papyrus seed heads waving in the breeze.
My container garden, which we call The Stone Garden, is shaded by maple trees and lilacs, so shade-loving plants are in order. This year, I decided to 'keep it cool' with white and silver flowers and foliage. I chose caladiums, white impatiens, and white begonias.

Caladium White Christmas and Impatiens walleriana

Caladuim White Christmas, Begonia, and ivy
I added a little color to break the monotony ...
Silvery dusty miller and peach tuberous begonias.
I haven't counted them lately, but I probably have about thirty containers, including hanging baskets and window boxes. I often stick with just one plant in a container. The basket on the gate into the kitchen garden contains petunias, the basket on the gate into the shade garden has peach-colored impatiens. The cone hanging basket contains lantana. On the back-porch are hanging baskets of impatiens and fuschia, and on the deck I have three large Boston ferns. All these are shown in the collage ...

Usually, visitors enter the house via the deck. They are greeted by a cheerful tub of French marigolds. I start marigolds from seed in the house in early spring, moving the seedlings to the potting shed (under grow lights) and plant them liberally in the kitchen garden after the last frost. The planter at the bottom of the steps contains marigolds that were left over after planting the veggie garden ...

Marigolds are bee magnets.
A strawberry jar filled with geranium Pelargonium, impatiens and Sweet Alyssum by the potting shed.

This sweet alyssum was a self seeder from two years ago. It has a lovely scent.

A tub of phlox placed in front of a mirror.
I often use perennials in planters. Two pots of phlox, one pink and one white, are reflected in the mirror at the end of the grassy path, below. I am always trying to detract from that ugly pasture fence.

Containers of Zinnia elegans fill gaps in my flower beds.
I start zinnias from seed indoors in early spring like my marigolds.
The garden fairy is holding a pot of sweet peas next to another planter filled with zinnias.

Behind the zinnias there is a container with Canna Topical Salmon.

I use coleus in containers, as well as planting them directly into the shade garden beds. Two large containers are placed on either side of the garage doors. You can see one of them behind the zinnias, above. My favorite container of coleus is the teapot on the back porch, shown in my lead photograph.

Pansies and Johnnie-jump-ups have flourished in the window boxes since the were planted in April.

A pot of coleus and peppers sit on the antique milk churn, filling a gap in an herbaceous border.

With apologies that I didn't devote a posting to September First Views, here are a few pics that I took before my camera died this week.

Stunning Sweet Autumn Clematis and white roses climb the wrought-iron trellis.
David Austin rose Rosa Lichfield Angel blooms next to the pond

Clockwise from top left: Blue Mist shrub, phlox, butterfly bush and purple cone flower.

Finally, several hypertufa containers, placed around the pond, are filled with succulents. A frog admires one in the next picture ...

Hens-and-chicks Sempervivum Purple Passion

While we have torrential rain, I know some of you are suffering worse weather conditions, including severe flooding in Vermont and wild fires in Texas. I pray for your safety and a rapid return to happy gardening.

Pamela x

~~ I love reading your comments. I hope you leave one so I’ll know you visited!
I look forward to visiting your blog in return.


  1. Love all your planters. I use a lot as well.

  2. It sounds like you took a real bashing from Hurricane Irene, Pam. I hope the weather settles for you soon. Your planters are looking wonderful, you grow some of my favourite flowers in them.

  3. Beautiful planters, Pam, but that coleus steals my heart. I have a planter with the same varieties and I love the colors. So glad your gardens survived the storm.

  4. I did not realize the area took such a hard hit from the hurricane. You are not far from where I grew up and had I not had an obligation with work, would have been there during the the time of Irene. Luckily, I pushed the trip off to October. I was going to drive to Baltimore too to see my brother, but he was in CA and that is also a reason I postponed. Baltimore got hit pretty badly too I hear. It was good you have all the photos. Your garden has so many pretty views and vistas. So much interest everywhere you look. I am glad you took us on a wide tour, Pam.

  5. I didn't realize the storm hit you quite so hard. And to think I mourned a few broken shrubs and some apples. Loved the tour of your containers. I haven't gotten into planting containers in our new garden but I really like putting different colours and textures together in pots. It's such a fun annual experiment.

  6. We sustained some damage also...trees down, damaged perennials and tree branches. You sound like you have had a rough time with the electricity outage and flooding. I hope your autumn is less eventful.

    Your containers are lovely! I particularly like the elephant ears and the strawberry jar...stunning! And that autumn clematis is amazing! It is good that was not damaged by the hurricane.

  7. Pam, so sorry to hear of all that the storm did to you property! You must still be cleaning up. I hope you didn't lose anything in the basement flood!

    It's amazing how well your gardens withstood the storm. Things are looking just wonderful.

    I will check out the new meme - it sounds interesting!


  8. I am too lazy to water pots thru the summer - so mine are few. Yours are lovely. Hope your weather will settle now.

  9. Love all your containers! They are so colorful and dramatic, especially the 3 along the patio with the black elephant ears. Stunning! Cute name (Stone Garden) for the container garden. The French Marigolds are a welcoming addition to your deck door. I also love your window boxes. I've wanted some window boxes for years, but have not taken the plunge. They look so cheerful lined up along the side of your home. Hope you have blue skies soon!

  10. Didn't realize how much difference planters make. Now you have me rethinking what to plan for next year. I like having annuals in planters/pots so you can change them year to year.

  11. Love your containers! They are stunning! I was also taken by your potting shed...what I would do for one of those!

  12. Pam,

    Wonderful post and pictures, in spite of all that you are going through right now!

    Annuals are so helpful for carrying us through until the fall perennials start to take the stage. I am glad that your containers survived! I love the combination of the C. White Christmas with the white impatients.

    And the Autumn Clematis is my favorite! Just glorious. I am looking forward to having one some day.


  13. Hi Pam,
    Loved seeing all of your planters. I really like the Black Magic EE and that little white shoe is darling.

  14. Dear Pam - You have really inspired me to add a few containers to my garden - how lovely all yours are. I think my favourite is the one with the Caladuim White Christmas, Begonia, and ivy - superb combination! I really love your Stone Garden!

    I'm really sorry to hear about storms but glad to hear that you and yours are all ok! xx

  15. So glad you and your and your house weathered the storms! Lovely container plantings, and all kept watered and healthy all summer. I especially like the cone one, and, like the frog, I admire tufa pots in the garden. Oh and that white autumn clematis is spectacular!

  16. One of the joys of having a fish pond is the number of frogs that appear. We find them more entertaining than the fish.

  17. Your containers are wonderful! How do you keep all 30 watered? Have you thought of growing an annual vine on the pasture fence? Moonflowers would be beautiful.

  18. Unfortunately, we can't plant any vines on the pasture fence, because the goat would eat them.

  19. I do a lot of container gardening as well, mostly so I can grow things I like where the woodchucks can't reach them! I love the lantana and the coleus.

    Sorry to hear about your damage from Irene. We were lucky at our house (, but other parts of our town were without power for 5 to 6 days, and the entire first week of school was canceled! (We live in Wayne County, PA). Are you far enough to the east to have avoided this latest deluge? We just had some minor flash flooding, thankfully.

    Thanks for the ideas you've given me for containers next summer!

  20. Pam I love the tea pot planter, I'll have to use that idea in the future, I also like the ferns on the porch and the violets in the shoe. I'm happy to hear that those storms did not cause damage to your lovely home and garden.

  21. So many well-designed planters, great choice of foliage and particularly like the addition of papyrus. Wondering how your containers managed in the winds of Irene. Great excuse for a new camera too Pam ;)
    p.s. we have Katia heading for our shores now

  22. We put the containers in the sheds the day before Irene hit. Took a couple of hours to secure everything, but it was worth it. P x

  23. Your containers look great, especially like the Coleus. I too am a fan of containers, so easy to move for gap filling.

  24. Your planter's are incredible. Especially the teapot and the shoe! A wonderful mix of plants.

  25. Wow Pam, so many pretty spots in your late summer garden! I've been thinking of you with all the extreme weather.

  26. Hi Pam, i hope you are okay now after the poundings and the floodings! We have at least 26 typhoons per year during the rainy season and floodings and landslides are our biggest disasters. It looks like the environment is really complaining! I hope too your plants and garden cope well. YOur planters and combinations of plants are so lovely, but i chose most especially that pansies on the shoe! Does the shoe have holes underneath? I havent seen something like that here, maybe someone should mold some clay like that!

  27. Yes, Andrea, the shoe is made as a planter, with drainage holes in the bottom.

  28. Sorry to hear of the damage Pam, best of luck getting it all back together again. Loving the bee action on the marigolds!

  29. Gosh - I would love my garden to look this good BEFORE a hurricane, let alone after! I hope not too much damage was done, and that you don't have to expend too much effort on putting things back how you want them - it looks pretty amazing to me already!

  30. Pam,You really do have a lot of beautiful planters and also lots going on in the ground. Not much watering required with all this rain. I feel like giving up on the garden as all our paths washed out once again when it rained the other night. It looks like a messy, overgrown tropical jungle (fittingly created by tropical storms!). However, your post inspired me to look on the bright side. Have a great trip to the UK (no mail order except snowdrops in late winter). Carolyn

  31. Your container plantins are incredible! You obviously put so much care into their maintenance, they look perfect and really really beautiful. I hope you can find a new camera that you like - I can't wait to see more pictures.

  32. Thanks for visiting Garden Sense, Pam and for your reminder that Purple Loosestrife is invasive! I've updated the post and credited you with the correction.

  33. Hi Pam...oh my what gorgeous planters. The colorful coleus in the teapot are bright and cheerful, but my favorite s the dainty white shoe filled with one of my favorite flowers....johnny jump-ups.

    I hope the naughty named storms are over in your neck of the woods.

  34. Pamela, so good to be back here for a visit. I love all your containers, all 30 of them! My goodness, that is a lot of work to tend them all, but so worth it. I enjoyed all of your photos, as always. Frost is predicted here for the next two nights, so as you did with the hurricane, I will be hauling many of my 22 containers into the garage to try to extend our season. (I fear big ol' Ernie will be on his own, though)

    I hope your weather has calmed down a bit, how scary it must have been!

  35. Pam your containers are so wonderful.This was a terrible year for container in my garden. I love your Black Magic Elephant Ears. The Garden Fairy is so sweet. I love that you have a frog at your pond. The stray cats keep them away from my little pump pond. You still have so many blooms in your garden.

  36. What beautiful containers. I have quite a few, but I 'm using them until the soil in the garden beds is decent enough to plant in. Also I only have one plant per container in most cases. I need to create some decorative containers like these.

  37. Hello Pam, You certainly did have a bashing from Irene. Very wise to have stashed away your containers. They really do look magnificent. This year just by chance I placed Hakonechloa in a tub, I think its been my favourite this year.

  38. I love all of your vintage touches and I especially love that shoe, but the idea of setting a mirror behind the phlox was truly inspired!