Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Container Gardens for Bloomin' Tuesday...

This last week has been filled with gardening. I had a lot to catch up on and I finally had the time to do my annual planting of flower beds and containers. This one week a year {when I plant all my summer flowers} is always my most demanding gardening project of the year. This year I planted 250 impatiens in a tiered flower bed and filled 16 containers with a variety of blooms. As much as I dislike planting those impatiens every year {it's back-breaking work} they give us a bounty of color and blooms throughout the summer. This...

turns into this, by mid June.

One of my favorite planting projects each year is choosing the flowers for and planting my container gardens. Throughout the summer months the plants grow and develop and give us a huge variety of sumptuous color...

Over the years I've learned a thing or two about how to plant a beautiful container "garden." I'm no expert -- just a lover of flowers. There's a big difference. I don't know much about individual plants or species or habitats, but I know what has worked for me in the past. That's where it's beneficial to have a few years on you! I've planted tons of flowers over the years, so I know what works and what doesn't in my area because of this experience. If you're new to an area ask someone whose garden you admire for a little advice. I thought I'd share some of the things I've learned about how to plant a gorgeous container garden.  

In designing a mix of plants for a specific pot, there are three things I consider to add variety to the container:

1.) color
2.) shape
3.) height

Someone asked me if I mix colors or if I stay to a couple of coordinating colors in my containers. I have found that I am drawn to pink, purple and blue flowers. I have to force myself to consider red, orange and yellow blossoms. 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, too, have a way of "breaking up" coordinating flowers. 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 yellow 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...

Another consideration is the shape of flowers and leaves. Having a variety of shapes engages the eye and adds variety to the container. Consider the different shapes of the leaves and flowers in the containers below...

Finally, I consider the height of the plants. In each container I want a variety of height. I like to place a tall spike in the middle of the pot, then I add some plants of medium heights and then some trailing plants that spill over the sides of the container. 

Tall plants: spikes
Medium: geranium, osteospermum, gerbera daisy (gerber daisy), marigold, etc.
Trailing plants: million bell, bacopa, diascia, vinca, nemesia, asparagus fern, lobelia, ivy, alyssum, etc.

The flowers in the photo below had recently been planted so they hadn'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 scatter my containers around my patio and by my front door. They add vibrant color to an otherwise boring concrete patio and surround my patio furniture with greenery and pops of bright color!

Linked to:
Bloomin' Tuesday @ Ms. Green Thumb Jean'
Garden Tuesday @ Sidewalk Shoes