I have a weakness for container gardens. As someone who continuously tweaks things, container gardens are a wonderful option for me. If placement of a bit of color in my yard seems a tad off, the fact that it’s growing in a container allows me to move it. Just an inch or two, or all the way to another part of my yard; whatever strikes me at the moment. And if any of my container grown plants aren’t thriving in one spot, it’s quite easy to simply try another.
Container gardens also allow you to fill in holes or spaces that have begun to decline. No matter how green your thumb, you know that as summer begins to fade, so too, does much of your summer color; some much sooner than others. Take for instance, the bleeding hearts that I’m so very fond of, and which look lovely throughout the spring and beginning of summer. By midsummer they begin to look as if they’re suffering from some sort of blight, and though I’ll trim and trim some more, eventually they must always be cut to the ground, or they’ll make my yard look untended, unkempt. And I can’t have that. So I cut them back completely, and I’m left with an empty space. That’s OK, though, because I have container gardens artfully arranged throughout my yard. Any reason to change them up is fine with me. It’s good rationale for spending more time in my yard.
Are you ready to set out a few container gardens this year? If not, read on, I’m sure that by the end of this article, I’ll have persuaded you to do up at least one or two outdoor containers.
Do you have any nice hardscaped outdoor floors? A good sized, attractive container garden in a corner or along an edge not only helps to define the space, but also provides a striking focal point, creates an ambiance. Maybe you have a deck or a patio, set right up against an outside wall of your house. Container gardens work well here for the same reason we like to plant a bit of shrubbery at the front of our houses; the stark line that exists where your house meets the ground (or your hardscape) can tend to look rather cold and harsh without some kind of greenery to soften it up. Besides, when we’ve removed a chunk of nature by creating beautifully hardscaped outdoor rooms with plenty of wood, stone, cement, gravel or whatever type of material we may have used, it’s nice to bring just a bit of it back, only contained, if you will.
Here’s a real moneysaver. Although I use foliage in just about every container I create, (in fact some of my container gardens include only foliage) I rarely have to buy any. This is because I put the greenery in my cellar for the winter. If you bring in your perennial foliage, or foliage that acts like a perennial because it winters over inside, you’ll have plenty of greenery for your containers in the spring. You will have to provide minimal care for these plants while they’re inside, but for some of us, it’s worth the money we’ll save. Of course, if you live where it stays warm enough, you can just leave the foliage outside.
Dracaena is one of my favorites for wintering over, not only because it’s so prominent, but also because it gets big enough after it has wintered over once or twice that I can use it all by itself as a striking container specimen. Other container greens that you can use year after year are ferns, hostas (two more plants that can hold their own in a container), ivy, lambs ear, sedum and other succulents, lavender, bay laurel, artemesia, caladium, cordyline and coral bells.