Springtime Container Gardens

An old metal wash tub is filled with a living arrangement of Flower Carpet Appleblossom, fern, Heuchera and Lysimachia.

Whatever the weather is doing in your neighborhood this Spring, there are a few projects you might want to get cracking. There’s the usual round of housekeeping: weeding (get them while they are small and easily pulled from the moist earth), mulching (so more weeds don’t come up to bother you), trimming fast-growing plants into shape (so they don’t block paths). This sort of pottering is very satisfying because it’s laying the foundation for months and months of gorgeous garden times ahead. Now is also the time to tackle real projects – like laying a new lawn, or digging up some lawn to make a new garden bed, or planting up some seriously glamorous container gardens.

If you’re going to fill a large container, tackle it as if you were planting a small garden. Don’t just fill your container with annuals because they’ll need replacing too soon and you’ll be starting from scratch. Instead, combine a range of plants so that your containers will always look happy, healthy and lovely. When you’re creating these living flower arrangements perhaps start with a ‘background’ plant – something that can give you a bit of height and constant foliage interest. Then add in other long-lived plants that will each offer something to the mix – more foliage interest and-or flowering color and maybe some fragrance. And finally tuck a few annuals in between so that they can add a super punch of color and wow. Just wander around the garden center keeping in mind that you’re aiming for two-thirds of permanent planting and one third made up of annuals. Something will catch your eye – like Volcano phlox which packs the punch of an annual, but comes back year after year. The other advantage is that there are enough color variations to work with whatever planting scheme you end up creating in your containers. And one final tip: use a large container. The bigger the pot the more room you have to work with and the better the scope to get great results.

mildew tolerant phlox

Foliage color is the hero here, but it would fail without the contrast accent provided by the white Volcano phlox.


mildew tolerant phlox

Volcano phlox are easy to play with given they come in so many colors including soft pastels like Volcano Lilac Splash


mildew tolerant phlox

Looking for something brighter? Volcano ‘Ruby’ is stunning in a variety of color combinations



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