Thursday, March 6, 2008

Container Gardens

At Gardening Gone Wild Steve Silk has written a post for the monthly focus which is Container Plantings. I sort of cringed when I saw the subject of this month. Containers are not something that I excell in. I don't know what it is but when I put them together I rather like what I have done then when the season progresses I quickly fall out of like with them. It might be my method of caring for them. The only thing I can possibly add to what Steve has posted already is that I have found that the type of planting medium is of great importance. I find when I pay a little more to get the medium that the local nursery uses for their potting my plants do a whole lot better. Now I can't tell you what it is exactly. I can tell you I use 3 big bags every year.
I have a small collection of blue pots that house tender tropicals that I use for house plants. They summer outside under the apple tree.
This blue strawberry pot is the first pot of this type that I have been able to succeed in growing something. I just love the looks of strawberry pots but in the past have had nothing but failures in them. Even the tried and supposedly indestructable hens-n-chicks were a failure for me in this type pot. However I got some succulents that have to be brought in every winter and they have done just fine for the most part. The living rocks succumb to nature but the rest of them have survived.

Last year the staghorn fern summered atop the old soil in this pot.
This pot gets planted different every year. It has been in full shade but this year things will be different due to the pines coming down this winter.

I have one of those big styrofoam pots that looks like it is moulded clay.
It sits in front of the barn with bamboo in it. I got the bamboo start from my sister last year. I put a few annuals in it to make it look fuller.

I use all sorts of items for containers. I have posted about my log planter before. You investigate this further if you want to here.

I found these ferns and fern-like plants as plugs last summer. They have wintered inside ok this year.

I will have to find a nice shady corner for them this summer. I also have some big palms that will have to be tucked into a shaded spot. Gee it seems odd to be thinking shade when I would be most thrilled at this moment with a few rays of sunshine.

I do like containers that look like heads. I looked and looked for one that I liked well enough to bring home and when I was on a little jaunt a couple of spings ago I found this lovely lady. She has moved from place to place but continues to be one of my favorites.

I have quite a collection of different types of pots. The designer in me sometimes goes 'eeewww' but the collector in me says 'yipee I found another one'. Of course I think you can see that I don't have an abundance of them. I guess if I was any good at putting them together and keeping them watered/fertilized properly I would have more.
I got this big concrete basket for my birthday one year. It has gone through many metamorphosis. I had annuals in it the first spring I had it.

Then the next summer I got a collection of minature hostas that now make their living in this pot.
Oh mercy, you don't want to get me going on my window box again. I can't tell you how many combinations I have tried in this little box. I always have such visions here and rarely do they turn out. I have had to use shade plants in the past but maybe this year with more light in this area I can try something different.

The picture with the caladiums in it is one of the more successful combinations. I love the way the large leaves look like stained glass when looking at them from the inside through the kitchen window.
All I know is that this spring my mantra will be Thrillers, Fillers and Spillers as I think Steve's advice is the best I have read.
Happy container gardening everyone.


  1. Lisa: I think they look good! I usually have some good ones and some not so good ones but I always remember that practice makes perfect...except in the garden when Mother Nature has her hand in it all!

  2. The mini hostas are brilliant! They kind of get lost out in the garden, being so small, you have given me great inspiration to use them. Small bulbs could go in to give early interest until the hostas leaf out. I also love the log, so natural looking.

    Frances at Faire Garden

  3. {Blogger just blew up my long reply; if this is a shorter duplicate, please just delete one of them, sorry}
    I think your containers are VERY nice: the planters themselves are so nice but your plantings are really lovely. I remember your window boxes from before and was wowed by them, esp. that one with the caladium. You had 2 other window boxes besides this one and I remember all 3 being unique and extremely appealing. I really like your 'face' planter.


  4. Thanks Layanee, I guess they just don't live up to my 'visions'.

    I am glad you like the hostas Frances. It is a good idea to plant some small bulbs in there. I will try to remember to do that next fall. I always want to plant more bulbs but rarely get it done.

    Diane, I hate that blogger ate your reply. Only the short version arrived here. Thank you for trying again.

  5. Wow, you have MANY potted plants! They look great.

  6. Lisa, I love the mini hostas! Your containers have character and your arrangements are pretty. Linda

  7. You have so many containers! And they all look great. I don't have many containers, our very hot and dry summers won't allow it. The log container looks wonderful, and I also like the blue glazed pots (simply beautiful)

  8. What a variety of pot and plants you have. Some of them are stunning but I love the log planter, it is so beautiful. You have given me an idea now, tku.

  9. I love the "head" pot too, that one is especially nice.I haven't found one here yet, in fact, the only interesting pots seem to be some seashells, turtles and lots of frogs. I refuse to buy the frogs because most of them are just squatty and ugly to boot.
    The Persian shield looks so lovely, mine died while I was traveling, maybe I can plant another one this year when it cools down again.
    Thanks for sharing.

  10. Oh, goodness, that log planter is terrific, Lisa! And the hayrack planter with the caladiums is really lovely. I would never have thought to try them in a planter like that.

  11. I love all your plainters, especially the ones that are heads! And the log of course, that's one of my favorites.

  12. Dear Lisa,
    I do have planters and pots! Every Autumn I think I will not do them again as they do require watering!
    In my summers I often have to water twice a day! When I go on vacation I hire someone to water the pots and feed the birds.
    Yours look so pretty. I was just about ready to get rid of my planters and pots this spring until I read this post! Maybe one more year. I will plant herbs in mine like I always do. Maybe I will stay home this summer. LOL!

  13. Your log planter is... way cool!

  14. Lisa, you said you don't do well with container plants? My goodness, what's wrong with you. They are great!

    Every year, I struggle with them. I either starve them or drown them. OR the rabbits devour them. I'm trying. I remember reading one of the first posts I read here - it was about your window boxes.

    You do good work.

  15. I want to thank you all for encouraging me with my pots. I usually can't just give up on them. I always year they will be better. Of course I have shown you all the good ones. All of the poor dejected ones didn't get to be shown. :/

  16. These are all so pretty...I love your succulent strawberry pot and the LOG!!! Cool. I am trying to get more containers going indoors beautiful, colorful leaves!!

  17. most plants look the same when they grow but it's the container that the gardener places them in is what adds to their beauty! These are all such beautiful sights!

  18. Lisa, I like you efforts. There are some unusual groupings and that is what makes them interesting! The containers are so do have the eye! We all (the other commenters) seem to agree-doing good lady!

  19. Hmmm...did Blogger just eat my comment? My apologies if this is a duplicate.
    I love the mini hostas and the log is a favorite of mine too.

  20. I don't know what you're talking about! Your containers are wonderful! From the lovely variety of pots - that blue is stunning -- to the log and the goddess head (as you can imagine, I really like her!), and the window boxes - they are all beautiful. I always want to start pots and then spend all my time watering every single day here for two months, so I try to restrain myself, since a few missed days can kill them all!

  21. Gee, Lisa, I see no reason for any container angst here! I love the blue strawberry jar of succulents--what a terrific idea, and one I'll poach this year I think, because I've coveted a blue jar like that (have a terracotta one somewhere in the greenhouse) but they're real challenges for growing in, aren't they? all these containers are great, though the first one, with the strobilanthes, is especially splendid.

  22. Lisa: I have not read the GGW post on containers yet but now I must get right over there. I am admittedly obsessed with container gardening. It is like making a new flower arrangement every time only they last so much longer.

    Yours are lovely and you have so many with varied styles. My all- time favorite summer bulbs are caladiums (they are a life saver in our heat)so I am partial to your very pretty window box with them standing tall and your trailing greenery beneath... perfect!

    Meems @HoeandShovel

  23. You have so much variety, Lisa - both in the plants and the planters. I like the way you have them tucked in all over the garden.

    The miniature hosta container is one I'd like to swipe from you.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  24. What a great. interesting and varied collection of containers you have....and what a great work to water them all!!!I am always on search of new ones too, but mostly they look quite similar....

  25. HI there, LIsa :-)

    Yep containers are indeed catching us all out this month. I think the location of the container is as important as its contents. What a fantastic variety of containers you have :-D

    I like your planting combos but my favourite has to be the window box! I am really looking forward to seeing what you will do with it throughout the year :-D

  26. Lisa, I think your containers are very imaginative, and especially like the first one pictured with the fuchsia, purple shield, etc.
    It's a trial and error thing for sure. Sometimes I'm really happy with my results, but often I'm not.
    The fun is in the experimenting though, don't you think?
    You've given my inspiration to try caladiums. I love them! Now, if I can only find them around here...
    The pretty lady looks lovely with her ivy 'hair' :) I also love your log and the mini hostas.


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