Improvisational Container Planting
I am pretty lackadaisical when it comes to container plantings. I have three window boxes hanging on the porch fence-cum-railing and a rusting metal washtub that I found in the barn when we moved in. I never really plan or purchase plants for these containers. I count on something showing up due to the kindness of friends or excessive seed sown, and then I try to make it work. Let’s call it improvisational container planting to give it some credibility. (Click all photos for larger–and sharper–image)
Take me to your secret garden
The washtub container used to rest by the main entrance to the house, but last year I moved it to the entrance to the Secret Garden, because we don’t want the Secret Garden to be so secret that no one finds it, right?
So I wanted something bright for this container to be visible from the house, drawing you to investigate. That was the plan, but now that the apple tree is fully leafed out, you’re lucky to catch a flash of red when the wind ruffles the leaves.
Oh well. The red flower underneath the zonal geranium (aka pelargonium) is Tukana Scarlet Star Verbena, and the one below that with red and orange florets is Luscious Citrus Blend lantana, both received from Proven Winners as trial plants. I’d only grown verbena once before, and lantana never, so I was pleasantly surprised at how well they’ve been doing, especially since I never water the container. Well, I probably watered it once or twice after it was first planted, but never since. Out of sight, out of mind. That marigold blooming like crazy is ‘Signet Starfire’ from Renee’s Seeds, also a trial. And the geranium was given to me without a tag. Generic geranium. This container doesn’t follow the thriller, filler, and spiller formula, but it is bright.
Mother’s Day Special
Another tradition traditionally ignored around here is buying Mom a present for Mother’s Day. (Buying being the operative word, as plenty of homemade gifts and donated labor abound.) This year tradition was impulsively tossed aside by my DH, and I was escorted around the local Lowes with the injunction to pick out anything I wanted. Anything. Talk about brain freeze! I finally settled on a lovely hanging basket, suppressing both the gasp as I looked at the price tag and the frugal urge to put it back and look for something more reasonable.I think pale yellow flowers, such as this Yellow Chiffon Superbells calibrachoa, complement many hues on the color spectrum, especially the true blue of the Laguna Sky Blue lobelia, both, again, from Proven Winners. Just looking at this makes me sigh with pleasure, even though I know it is unfashionable in some quarters to love pastels. I think three windowboxes filled with this combination next year would not be too much.
Another good choice for containers, beds–and vases
Unless, that is, I decided to fill it with the Supertunia Vista Silverberry petunias above, accompanied by the Laguna Heavenly Lilac lobelia on the other side, pictured below. (Both were trial plants from Proven Winners.)This year the window box also has Gulf Winds alyssum provided by Renee’s Garden and Balcony petunias purchased as seed from Select Seeds. The Balcony petunias are wonderfully fragrant in the evening, but we only figured out after this photo was taken that they need to be pinched back regularly to look their best.
Next year, I would just use one Silverberry supertunia with a Heavenly Lilac lobelia on each end, and plant the Balcony petunias separately. The Silverberry petunia can also be a spectacular groundcover as you can see in Flowergardengirl’s North Carolina garden. One reason my Silverberry doesn’t look as full is we’ve discovered these petunias make excellent cut flowers.They last a long time in water and continue to open new buds. According to the literature I received, the “blooms are silvery white in the heat and blush pink in cooler temperatures,” so those of you with warmer summers might not see as much pink in the blossoms.
The opportunity to trial plants and seeds (as a result of attending the GWA symposium last year) combined with my 17-year-old son working for a local wholesale greenhouse made this the best year ever for my container plantings. What was your most successful container planting this year?