Though I’ve gardened for more than 15 years, I’m relatively new to container design—especially inventive combinations: More than one plant per pot? Spillers, thrillers and pillars (or is it fillers)?
Oh, no, not me.
But this fall, I scavenged two large, brick-red, ceramic pots from a friend who didn’t want them—and I just had to try something.
I browsed the clearance aisle at my local independent garden center and found ornamental cabbage and kale, ornamental grasses (Toffee Twist Carex falgellifera) and some cute little pumpkins, all for about $50.
None of the plants were in great shape. I divided the horribly rootbound grasses with the world's greatest hori hori to create more plant material to work with. I also removed the damaged leaves of the cabbage and kale. And, finally, I broke a big garden rule and put the plants (all sun lovers) in full shade. They just have to make it a few weeks until Thanksgiving when I update them for Christmas, I figure.
Viola! (This one had a spare sempervivum I had for another project.)
Not bad, right? (Hedgy the Hedgehog, bottom right, agrees.)
Of course, I still had to do some single-specimen containers, too (above).
What’s your favorite fall container design?
Sarah Dorison is the managing editor of Gardening How-To magazine. She gardens in Minneapolis, Minnesota.