In Some Cases Symmetry Works: It's Good to Know When
(click on any photo to enlarge)
Often times container gardens are positioned along a walkway or grouped on a patio to liven up the scenery. On first arrival to my front walkway one would notice three 12 inch clay pots and another sitting on a low pedestal just beyond those. Positioned in a straight line they serve as a divide between the concrete walkway leading to the front door and the natural oak leaf-bottomed pathway leading to the back gardens. They are stuffed full of tightly clustered Miss Muffet caladiums with ivy and chartreuse potato vine (both clippings from existing plants)trailing out underneath.
Three symmetrical pots are rightly fitted in this case. Same pot. Same planting. Same height. Same distance apart. The growth blends together to "become one" ... at least in your mind's eye.
Another common use of container gardens is as bookends to a seating arrangement. Here we moved to the back of the garden., Looking from the side twin containers on either side of a curved cement bench (the bench is barely visible in this photo -I just realized). In this case look-alike containers are necessary for balance. But just so it doesn't come off as too symmetrical I placed them at an angle... different positions from each end of the bench.
Side note: The pots we just viewed from the front walkway were here last fall/winter stuffed with red new guinea impatiens. In that situation I had two angled on one side of the bench and one on the other. I like that look for a change up as well. All the fun of containers. They can be moved around.
The top view (above) of one of those containers... home to holly fern, coleus, caladiums, & lemon-lime dracaena (oh, and a pass-along lovely lime green & white trailing plant I do not know the name of but it is very hardy anywhere).
The containers at Hoe & Shovel are much like the rest of the garden. In that they are put together with the same concepts in mind. Most of them have one or two foundational plants and then some annuals which can be switched out with the season if necessary. And just like the garden they are tended to and enjoyed all year round.
Besides the most common uses for containers, I am particularly fond of placing them directly into the landscaping incorporating the miniature gardens with the existing layout and design.
There are a few advantages to this method:
1) The automatic irrigation helps me to keep them watered during regular rain periods in spring and winter (not summer- they still have to be hand watered).
2) They can be easily moved around as the landscaping/seasons change OR as needed to fill in any vacant or sparse areas.
3) Seeds drop into them from neighboring plants and start all on their own... impatiens are especially famous for this habit.
4) They add a level of height for accent and more dimension in areas where needed or wanted.
Let's See If You Can Spot the Containers Here
There are two (above photo) just to the right of the stone pathway and beyond the liriope border plant. The clay pot with pink impatiens spilling over the side is not visible at all but you can see the bottom of the clay pot that is holding self-seeded impatiens, blood leaf, coleus (I just stuck those clippings in there a couple of weeks ago) and dark pink polka dot plant. There is no visible end and beginning many times to the surrounding plants. In this case variegated schefflera crowds right next to the pots in the background and more impatiens on either side.
Can a Gardener Have Too Many Container Plants? There are four pots in the above photo. If you look first for the change in height it will give you a clue as to where they are located.This flower bed is located just beyond and parallel to the pool/back porch. The first pot is bottom left in the photo with the yellow lantana. The lantana has taken over the pot this summer but when I cut it back the xanadu and ivy will be better viewed. There is also some trailing purple queen in it.
Now look to the far end and just in front of the iron gates holding back all that mexican petunia. Ha! Very good, you have good eyes! There is a container garden in front of each of the old gate panels which are placed at an angle in the shape of a wide V.
Maybe this marked photo will help if you couldn't spot them at first.
A tighter view and you can see the closest one (to the right) has a little of this and that all bunched together and thriving in the summer humidity. Both of these containers were created from plants in the ground and already established at Hoe&Shovel. Which is all the excitment for me. It is quite addicting actually. Do I need another single container garden? Absolutely. It is so much fun to look around the garden and think hmmmm.... some of this for the tall center (btw, I rarely place my tall plant directly center- almost always just off to one side), some of that for the filler, some of the other for the trailing and spilling. And then pot it up and watch it grow together... I have to tell you it is a gardener's thrill. Cheap thrills at that. :-)
In the pot to the right Ti plant stands tallest. Underneath its stripy magenta leaves is a pink impatien (dug out of the ground close by), caladiums (white queen) were popped in when the bulbs were delivered in June, there is a jewel of opar on the side not visible and some trailing ivy.
Looking to the other side of the gate ...
... a tighter frontal view of the pot sitting amidst the evergreen leathery leaves of lily of the nile covering its base. This pot holds dark angel wing begonia, blood leaf, caladiums and trailing potato plant. The begonia was literally cut from a ground plant and a bare branch of it placed in the soil back in April. The caladiums all returned from last year's arrangement and the blood leaf popped out in the spring ... from a dormant seed I suspect.
This container along with many others has to be pruned much like the rest of the garden.
In the above photo, just behind that first chair (the chairs get moved around as well) is a plump, round display of self-seeded impatiens and caladiums from past years staying in the pot. There is a stepping stone walk-through between the caladiums in the forefront of the photo and the schefflera.
Simple clay pots are my container of choice for the most part. They stay outside all year. They are well draining. I like the natural way they fit into the landscaping and for the most part you end up not even being able to see them.
A view from the top.
To another planting bed in the back gardens we go. In the above photo if you look almost directly in the center you will see the container garden. It sits to the right of the flagstone pathway and in front of a couple of boulders of limestone.
Same photo to help the eyes see its location.
A bird's eye view from the top reveals the self-seeded impatiens, pink polka dot plant, white queen and miss muffet caladiums all competing to be the center of attention.
Lastly, we go back around to the front and to the left of the driveway placed just inside the first planting bed is a potted container with angel wing hardy begonias of amazon size.
Looking a little closer will reveal the 5 foot stalks of hardy begonia tucked in between azaleas and palmettos just behind the liriope border. At the base and tumbling over the sides of the container ... caladiums, spathiphylum , impatiens and trailing variegated ivy.
There are many more hardy begonia throughout the garden. All started from one bare branch given to me by a neighbor. There is another post forthcoming featuring those.
Thanks for hanging in there for this long post. I didn't show you all the containers because I talk too much. I've got more to share in another post... maybe I should just put the pictures up and be quiet.
We know that's never going to happen! Happy day! Meems