Friday, September 11, 2015

Container Gardening

 Each spring, I fill containers, hanging baskets, and window boxes with annual and perennial flowers.  I don't always follow the 'rules' for container planting except to ensure a good quality, well-draining, light and fluffy potting soil. Of course, I give the plants the type of light they need, but I don't worry too much about color combinations and design. Here are a few of the 30-plus containers I planted this year, starting in the Stone Garden, so called for the crunchy lava rock covering the ground.

A creature of habit, I usually place pots of coleus at the entrance to the Stone Garden. This welcoming entrance also leads to the front door. I start coleus from seed, indoors, in early spring. All plants in the Stone Garden need shade.

Coleus invites you into the Stone Garden

King Begonia, perfect in the teapot planter, sits on a bench in the Stone Garden.

The Stone Garden is my utility area for the generator, air conditioner unit, and water hose. I use strategically placed planters in an effort to distract from their ugliness.  Often, my containers provide temporary homes for new acquisitions -- like the veronica in the trellis planter in the corner of the Stone Garden. I'm surprised the veronica did so well in this shady spot and was prepared to move it if necessary. Soon it will be time to plant it in its more permanent home in the Horseshoe Garden.

Veronica, tobacco vine, and an ivy wreath.

A planter of mixed annuals resides next to two smaller containers of perennials. They successfully detract from the large, ugly generator. I used double impatiens as an experiment to see if the downy mildew problem is over. After three years, I am thrilled the infection didn't reoccur. I will grow more next year.

Mixed planter: Double impatiens, Coleus, Fuschia, Lysimachia, Polemonium, Torenia, Vinca Vine

Japanese painted fern, heuchera, and vinca vine.

I placed a simple pot of calibrachoa on a wrought iron chair on the front step, as well as in various hanging baskets. Calibrachoa thrives in part shade I've found.

In full sun areas, like the cottage garden and the kitchen garden, I planted several pots of zinnias and marigolds. This year, zinnias didn't fare as well as usual, due to the bizarre weather that began with a very dry June followed by an excessively wet July. I start zinnias, marigolds, and snapdragons indoors from seed before the last frost.

Zinnias and snapdragons in tubs, ivy in a birdcage.
 Happiness held is the seed;
Happiness shared is the flower.
-- author unknown

I placed tubs of zinnias and marigolds in the kitchen garden to attract pollinators. Initially, I put them along the bottom fence next to a stand of milkweed.

Early morning in the kitchen garden.

 When the milkweed grew up, it shaded the annuals.

 I moved the containers out into the main vegetable garden where the sun could bless them.

 More zinnias ...

Near the pond I display my collection of hypatufa containers. Some I bought, one I made, and some were gifts. I house various succulents in them. My largest hypatufa sits above the waterfall providing a backrest for the angel there.

Morning Glory and moonflowers live in a container against the arbor; in a container on each side I grow perennial sunflowers. I don't plant directly into the ground here because it doesn't drain well. I keep the sunflowers in pots so they don't spread and take over my garden space!

 I filled the five window boxes along the tractor shed with petunias, purple fountain grass, bacopa, coleus, and dusty miller:

 If you look back at previous years' postings you will see similar plantings in my window boxes -- as with the coleus at the entrance to the Stone Garden, I don't mess with what works!

My favorite container sits in the Horseshoe Garden where the lamium ground cover provides camouflage, ha ha. My dear friend and former secretary, Pat, sent me the miniature rose following my surgery a couple of years ago. I over-winter the rose indoors and plant it out in spring. It blooms all summer.

Miniature rose, heuchera, and creeping Jenny.

Only one rose bloom today, but several buds. I moved the planter so you can better see the planting ...

 Flowers are the sweetest
God ever made and forgot to
put a soul into.
-- Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887)

I hope you enjoyed this sampling of my container plantings! I have many more, but I try to limit the number of photos to 12 in each posting, so you don't become too bored. Oops, this posting is far too long.

Did you plant containers in your garden this year? Do you have a favorite?


Pamela x

Polka dot plant and hosta
Fairy, bearing a basket of flowers

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  1. Busy planting my blue pots, two done and I bought a plant for the third today.

  2. Very impressive! You sure know how to do container gardening! The combinations and the planters themselves, are very creatively arranged. Bravo!

  3. Containers can give solutions to lots of problems in the garden. They can be used to camouflage certain things, or to fill gaps in borders, or prettify an unused corner. It's easier to control the growing medium in containers too, that's why I grow my blueberry bushes in pots rather than the ground, I can make sure they get the acidic growing conditions they prefer. They're useful for people without much space in which to grow things too. You've planted your containers up beautifully.

  4. In our area, containers are very popular for the garden walk gardens. Movable containers can add color where it may be missing and block unwanted views like air conditioners. Also, the gardeners grow large tropicals they keep from year to year. You have so many containers as do I. It becomes quite the chore on watering especially with the drought year we experienced. I love your shade garden containers. They are both colorful and very fresh looking. This year, I kept even the sun lovers in the shade to keep down wilting from watering only once a day. Wonderful groupings you have too, Pam.

  5. I was impressed learning you have 30 plus containers planted. I love container plantings too, but I want to cut down with the years. So difficult, when I count the containers in my garden I come again to more than I should like. Well, I think one a gardener, always a gardener.
    Have a nice Sunday Pam.

  6. Pam, your containers are lovely! As you, I often plant pots with only one or two varieties of plants. This year, my favorite containers have Bello Grigio stachys and petunia.
    I love your green (fern, heuchera, vinca) container especially! Green is such a vague term!

  7. Awesome! I really love your begonia on the beautiful teapot. Wheelbarrow that full of zinnia is really interesting! You are so creative! Inspiring!

  8. 30+ containers is a lot of work. Like you, I go with what I found works even if that means I repeat a combination from one year to the next. It is wonderful how much color the coleus adds to the entrance to your stone garden.

  9. So much work, Pam! I love the morning glory and the zinniabarrow. Oh and the window boxes are gorgeous!

  10. I'm trying, but with limited success, to decrease the amount of container gardening that I do. Putting containers in my sunny, sunny garden just means constant watering, and that's my most hated chore. I've switched out a few with succulents, and even used moss roses in some, and they need nothing from me. But I have a couple of special showcase-type pots that I plan to be especially beautiful, and those I pamper. But there's only two or three. Like you, I tend to to be creatures of habit, and often plant the same containers the same way. Hey, it works for us!

  11. Hello stranger. Trying to blog a little again and see who's active in the garden world. Nice to see you're still around and taking beautiful pics. Some people no longer blog and I didn't for 2 years and rarely visited anyone. I guess some things get old or life just changes. Anyway just wanted to stop by and say hi.

  12. Gosh what a lot of lovely containers. The coleus looks so inviting at the entrance to the path.

  13. Pam these are so wonder you win so many awards at your county fair...I love the creative flair you have. I just started planting coleus this year and just love it. I hope I can overwinter some of it for some winter garden color indoors.

  14. A visual walk thru beauty. Thank you.