Photography by Ashley Capp | Styling by Ann Marie Favot
Container gardening means any time—and anywhere—gardening. Get ready to put trowel to soil and bring on the blooms with these gorgeous arrangements that will inspire you to plant your own masterpieces for horticultural heaven all summer long.
1. Colour composition
A casual riot of pinks and purples in geraniums, petunias, impatiens and begonias creates a hot-weather symphony, while bright greens in creeping Jenny and sweet potato vine add notes of freshness.
Have a plan. Decide on your colour scheme before you head to the garden centre. Consider whether your container is in a sunny or shady spot, and choose plants accordingly.
Prepare to plant. Use fresh potting soil (formulated for container growing) every year. Put a piece of fabric or a coffee filter over drainage holes to prevent soil from spilling out. Don't add a layer of stones to the bottom of containers, as this will inhibit (not enhance) good drainage.
Keep 'em coming. Regular deadheading will encourage fresh flower buds to form. Plants that are allowed to go to seed will stop flowering.
2. Serene green
Varied tones of green make for a stately display in a classic fluted urn. The height comes from green dracaena and red cordyline, which temper the delicate caladium leaves. Coleus and ivy add fullness to the bottom of the arrangement.
Eat and drink. During hot sunny weather, containers need to be watered once a day. Use an all-purpose water-soluble fertilizer (such as 20-20-20 or 24-8-16) at half-strength every 10 to 14 days to feed your flowers.
Snippy tips. Over the summer, some plants may become leggy and look untidy. Cut them back (by up to 50 percent) to encourage fresh growth. Feed after pruning.
Plant problems. If one of the plants in your container succumbs to a disease or insect pest, remove it immediately to prevent further spread. Replace it with a different, unrelated flower.
3. Never-ending story
Love them now, love them forever. Pretty perennials like Jacob's ladder and ivy offer an array of all-season interest in this demure beauty. Bright-green 'August Moon' hosta gives a cheery spot of colour, nicely contrasting with the deep purple of the heuchera for a sophisticated feel.
Foliage focus. Most perennials live for decades but only flower for a few weeks each summer. To keep your container looking gorgeous, choose perennials with interesting foliage and group plants with different leaf shapes, sizes and colours.
Trio talk. Arrangements should have "a thriller, a filler and a spiller." Use vines trained up a structure as thrillers, spreading plants as fillers and trailing plants as spillers.
Fall transplant. In autumn, as perennials begin to go dormant, dismantle your container and transplant the perennials into flowerbeds.