I cannot contain myself!

Right now Im busy planning for the 2010 class of containers in the garden of the girl.  These photos are some of my past plantings.  I use these as a diversion from the daylilies...so for those of you who thought I didnt do anything but daylilies, here is a nod to another obsession - container plantings.

There are so many options it hurts my brain.  I cannot resist a cute pot, a unique what-not to stick in the cute pot, or a new "spiller" plant that will go well in a container.  This striped teacup planter was the best end-of-the-year find ever at $4 (although it did break away from its saucer this year and Im not sure I'll reuse it yet...)  The tall terra cotta chimney flue seen above is my favorite new container accessory.  The builder's supply near my home sells them for $8, and I love to use them in my beds to elevate the color from the foliage plantings.

For the most part, I compose all my container plantings on the spot at the garden center or farmers market.  I have been known to take my planters to the farmers market in the red wagon just to remind myself what I'm shopping for.  This also keeps me from overbuying on the annuals if I can see what pots they will go in...

Although I have 15-20 different containers each year, I try to keep a common thread in them all; tying them together across the landscape.  One year it was copper "swirlies" that I made to accent the pots.  Another year I used all terra cotta pots.  Most recently, I have leaned toward using some of the same types of plants in all of the containers in some way.  Two of my favorite container "musts":

- Coleus.  Of any kind.  The more the better.  Large, small, upright and spilling...this plant is versitile, forgiving and a colorful must.

- Sweet Potato Vines (Ipomea) Variagated, chartruese and deep purple, these are a must, too.

One year I got totally out of hand with the container plantings and they almost took over the entire deck.  You may remember this photo from this post.  This is at the height of my container addiction and just before my intervention. ;)  I do love the containers because I can move them around as other perennials bloom out, or as holes in the garden appear - screaming for a burst of instant color.  Plantings rich in colors and texture can brighten a spot, hide a hole, or change the focal point in an instant. 

Remember most well-designed containers have three elements - a tall, a medium and a spiller.  In Ikebana, these are referred to as the Shin, Soe, and Hikae. In the Sogestu School of Ikebana, shin, soe, and hikae are the terms for the 3 main pieces of an arrangement. Shin is the longest branch, and represents heaven; soe is the medium branch and represents man; and hikae is the shortest and represents the Earth.  Read more about Ikebana design on this cool blog.

Incorporating all three of these structural design elements into your container plantings is sure to please even the toughest garden critic.

Speaking of design, wish me luck for tomorrow...I'm attending my first local Arranger's Guild meeting in an effort to improve my design skills and I dont know anyone who will be there.  I wonder if they will mind the party crasher...


Catherine said...

I think i could love container gardening. it could be on a table and there would be limited weeds. Great, just what i need another hobby.

Nikki Schmith said...

You DO need to get into container gardening. There are so many colorful choices, and its okay to have more than one!


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