I had a few emails and questions about my container planting on the post I published a few days ago, so I thought I'd answer those questions about my potted plantings today. I want to state full out that I am not a gardener -- I'm a lover of flowers. There's a big difference. I don't know much about individual plants or species or habitats other than the fact that certain flowers have worked for me in the past, so I expect their behavior to be consistent in the future. This is where it's a benefit to have a few years on me! I've planted a lot of flowers over the years, so I know what works and what doesn't because of my "experience." (Gadzooks, I'm making myself sound like Whistler's Mother!) I don't think there are any hard-fast rules, but here are a few things I've learned...
In designing a mix of plants for a specific pot, there are three things I consider to add variety to the container:
1.) colorAnother consideration is the shape of flowers and leaves. Having a variety of shapes engages the eye and adds variety to the container...
Color: Someone asked me this week if I mix colors or if I stay to a couple coordinating colors in my containers. I have found that I am drawn to pink, purple and blue flowers. I have to physically force myself to consider red, orange and yellow blooms. However, when I plant a container I have found the container is much more interesting if I throw a warmer color in with a variety of cooler colors or visa versa. White flowers have a way of "breaking up" coordinating flowers too. Take the container below for example. The principle players are a bright pink gerbera daisy, a pink geranium (not in bloom), and an orange/yellowish osteospermum. I think that dash of golden color adds a lot to the mix -- at least it will when the geranium comes out and creates a majority of pinkish hues in the container...
Finally, I consider the height of plants. In each container I want a variety of height. For example I might put a spike in the center, some medium sized plants like geraniums, osteospermum, gerbera daisies, or marigolds around the spike, and then I'll add some trailing plants that spill over the sides of the container like million bells, bacopa, diascia, vinca, nemesia, apsaragus fern, lobelia or ivy. The flowers in the photo below were just planted so they haven't matured, but you can see the height of the spike in the center, the geraniums and marigolds a little lower and the trailing plants lower still and trailing over the sides of the container -- the vinca with the variegated leaf on the left and the orange diascia on the right. As these plants mature you will see the variance in height more clearly.
I'm sure this has been a boring dialog for the more experienced gardener, but for those who are just developing a love of gardening, I hope it was helpful!
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