Thursday, May 10, 2012

Container Gardens

Every Spring I look forward to designing and planting the containers around my pergola on the patio.  I start daydreaming in March about going all WHITE with my blooms or planting totally monochromatic flowers in shades of pink or purple.  My mind also, for some reason, always plays around with the DUNKIN DONUTS color scheme of PINK and ORANGE, well maybe that's my tummy talking.  This year I originally planned on going ALL WHITE.  I've never done that before and I've dreamed of it's classic beauty.  

However, I will tell you that when I first started picking out my flowers the lush velvety purples of the Petunias and the lipstick pink Geraniums seemed to be whispering my name.  But, I stayed true to course.  Picking white Petunias, white Alyssum, white Verbena, white Impatiens and white Geraniums.  I did throw in chartreuse and plum colored sweet potato vines.  Then I came across this FABULOUS "Pretty Much Picasso" Petunia on Pinterest and I fell in LOVE!  I was lured in by it's vibrant veined pink and chartreuse blooms but I figured I would never find it in my area.  THEN low and behold, there it was with it's happy smiling face at HOME DEPOT!  Of course a few hopped into my cart and then I had to add some other pinks and purples to my all white scheme!  Another cool little plant I found while checking out container gardens on Pinterest was Creeping Jenny, a perennial.  I don't know if I would have thought to add a perennial to my annuals but now I'm so glad I did!  My sweet friend Carlene had an overabundance of it so she loaded me 

Pretty Much Picasso Petunia
White Impatiens and Creeping Jenny in an antique sap bucket
up with oodles of it!  I have it in bunches of my pots spilling over the sides.  I LOVE it!  I can't wait for my pots to be overflowing with blooms and greenery!

Speaking of spilling over the sides...When you make a container arrangement there are guidelines that you can follow to get maximum visual impact. It's called the THRILLER, FILLER, SPILLER method.  You put one upright flower, one slightly smaller, spreading type and then one that spills over the side.  Some thrillers are: African Daisies, Geranium, Gerbera Daisy, Snapdragon, Marigold, Dianthus, Impatiens and New Guinea Impatiens and Petunias. Some fillers are: Alyssum (one of my favorites for the scent!) Coleus, Begonia, Verbena, Calibrachoa, Heliotrope (again, so FRAGRANT) and Lobelia. Some spillers are: Asparagus Fern, Creeping Jenny, Bacopa, Vinca, Ivy, Ivy Geranium, Calibrachoa, and Wave Petunia.  These sample plants are not set in stone, some of the thrillers can also be fillers and vice versa.  If you notice, the Calibrachoa is in the filler and the spiller section because some varieties are more upright than others.  Alyssum sometimes tends to spill too!  When I don't have room for all three, I'll put a spiller in with one or the other just to make the container asymmetrical for interest.  Of course you can just use one of these too!  When I do that, I try to put the container with a spiller next to a container with a Thriller or Filler.  It's not rocket science, just do what looks pleasing to you!  I'm not going to show closeups of my containers yet because they don't have that full and lush look I love.

My hanging baskets (which I did not plant, they are from one of my FAVORITE places ever, Grier's Nursery) have a THRILLER, several FILLERS and a couple SPILLERS! Mix up your containers, use the unexpected!  Just add a hole in the bottom for drainage!  This is an old sap bucket hung from the shelf of our pergola. I love it!  It just has a white Impatiens and Creeping Jenny trailing out the front.  Repetition can also play an important role in your container gardening.  Repeating colors and plants can add a lot of interest and give your grouping a cohesive look.  In your groupings, it's often best to use an odd number or "visually" have an odd number.  For example, on the back bottom right I only have two pots but the palm leaves visually add the 3rd item to the grouping. 

I'm currently obsessing over moss.  As you may know from my post all about  MOSS!  I've always loved the way moss looks in magazines when it's used as filler between stepping stones and pavers.  When I found this Scotch Moss at Home Depot, I immediately knew I wanted three pots of it on the pergola shelf.  It's a cool moss because it mounds itself and will look great in the little terracotta pots.  It's perennial so I won't have to buy it ever again, which is a plus!  Between them and the Creeping Jenny, I already have a head start on next years planting!  One last little note about repetition AND moss...while grocery shopping at Wegmans that moss sphere and moss covered basket insisted on getting into my cart to come home with me! (on the coffee table and the shelf).  
Scotch Moss
Purple Alysum and Creeping Jenny
Hanging planter with the Thriller, Filler, Spiller method of planting

When container gardening, I know many people like to use the typical spike grass and then fill around it.  Try something new, give this method a try and see if you like it!  I'm sure it'll be a blooming success! 


It's me said...

Beautiful garden you have !!!...i always started with everything white...but i love colors pink , .....we have a lot of colors now on the from

ellie said...

Hello..I just game across you blog..Hi..I have planted and used Picasso was in a hanging basket but when I watered it stunk like Dog Poop, so I called it Stinky tunia..did you have the same experience..I have use it in smaller does in my mop bucket and it did not smell like that.