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Container Garden Design at Coastal Maine Botanical Garden
Looking at container garden pictures is a great way to get ideas
Looking at container gardens is a great way to get ideas and inspiration. Look at the use of color palette, composition, textures and container choice.
I'm not usually a subscriber to the "thriller, filler, spiller," container garden design theory. While it is popular and sometimes useful, I think that it has lead to a lot of containers that look the same, with one spikey plant in the middle, some "filler" type plant (something that fills in the space in the middle of the pot) and then a "spiller," which spills over the side of the pot.
That said, after designing this pot at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, I realized that, thriller, filler, spiller is what I ended up with, and I think it's pretty successful.
First of all, the four Lunaform pots that we were filling were enormous and needed something really big and bold so the pot wouldn't dwarf the plants. When I saw the big red banana plants (Ensete ventricosum 'Maurelii') in the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens greenhouse, I fell in love and knew that they would look fabulous in the huge containers. Then we had to figure out what would go with these behemoth plants, which can grow more than 12 feet tall.
Fortunately there were some beautiful upright fuchsias ('Gartenmeister Bonstedt') nearby that looked like they would bring out some of the reds and pinks of the banana plants. We then added a red nemesia ('Serengeti') to fill in the space between the soil and the height of the fuchsia. We also added two varieties of sweet potato vine, to add some bright popping color and to hang over the side of the pot to show off it's beautiful patina.
We used the classic 'Margarita' sweet potato vine for its large leaves and draping qualities and added some 'Sweet Caroline Sweetheart Light Green,' for it's bright colored leaves which have also a redish margin which fit with our existing colors.
This container garden design was a cooperative effort between myself and floral designer, Liz Micheels, of Artful Blooms in Newton, Mass. With help and advice from Bill Cullina, Director of Horticulture/Plant Curator for Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.Continue to 2 of 27 below.
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Baby Crocs Make Super Cute and Unusual Container Gardens
I have never been crazy about using shoes as container gardens, and never thought I would do it. That is, until I saw these purple baby Crocs at a yard sale for a quarter. I couldn't resist them.
When I got them home, I thought I would do all succulents, but that kind of seemed like an obvious choice. I then spied a six-pack of lobelia I had lying around and thought they would look cool with the purple of the Crocs. Also, the plants were small enough so that they would fit into the small space I had to work with.
To start with, I filled the foot part of the Crocs with potting soil (with a slow release fertilizer mixed in), filling it as much as possible, all the way to the back. I then planted the lobelia, kind of stuffing it in where I could. There were spaces left, where the soil was showing, so I planted hens and chicks, also stuffing some in the holes near the toes. Hens and chicks make great filler plants, especially when doing quirky container gardens.
I put my Baby Croc planters on my back steps, but you can also hang these on a wall, by tying string to the backs. If you want your Baby Croc planters to look like they are floating, use nylon fishing line.Continue to 3 of 27 below.
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Succulent Plants in Lunch Box Container Garden
I filled this lunch box with a mix of succulent plants - playing with the different textures and colors.
To make this succulent plant container garden:
First I took the paper liner out of the lunch box. I then hammered holes into the bottom of the lunch box, using a screwdriver with a large head, so the holes would be pretty large. I then hammered the rough edges of the holes on a hard surface.
I made a plastic liner out of an old bag of potting soil, cutting some holes for drainage. I did this so the lunch box wouldn't rust.
I then filled the lunch box with a potting soil, formulated for succulents.
I then planted the succulents - it took a fair amount of moving them around before I was happy with the arrangement.
If you want more information, click here for step-by-step instructions for making a succulent plant container gardenContinue to 4 of 27 below.
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Bold Flowering Container Garden
This large terra cotta pot holds a purple passion flower, orange monkey flowers and a flowering maple. The choice of colors it pretty bold, but I think it works well in this flowering container garden. The passion flower climbs up a trellis which gives the design some needed height.Continue to 5 of 27 below.
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Silver Elegance Container Gardens
These formal arrangements look stunning flanking a front door.
These formal container gardens add a perfect elegance to this front entry. The urn looks like it is made from concrete, but is made of polyethylene so it is lightweight and durable. It and can even be left out all year. The urn and container garden kit comes from White Flower Farm.Continue to 6 of 27 below.
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Clementine Box Container Garden with Pansies and Violas
Pansies and violas are great container garden flowers. They're hardy and cheerful and can withstand the cold nights of spring and fall.
Buy a box of Clementine oranges and you have a great, free container for spring or fall. This little garden makes a cheerful centerpiece for a picnic table or looks great on a deck. You can do multiples and put them on your outdoor stairs. It takes almost no time and is incredibly easy to make your own clementine box container garden.Continue to 7 of 27 below.
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Wooden Basket With Wishbone Plant
This simple container garden is one of my favorites. It features a simple wooden basket with a torenia hybrid ( Summer Wave® Large Violet) also known as a wishbone plant. A single plant in a simple container can make a corner of your yard or garden a focus point.Continue to 8 of 27 below.
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Blue, Pink and Yellow Combination Flowering Container Garden
I was given this flowering container garden as a gift. It came in a large hanging basket, but I didn't have a great place to put it and I wanted it to get huge - big enough to fill this large blue pot.
I filled the blue pot with potting soil, mixed with good all-purpose, slow release, fertilizer. This combination of flowering plants will need a lot of feeding to stay happy for the whole summer. That said, you want to follow the directions on your fertilizer and be careful not to over fertilize.
After I took the arrangement out of its plastic hanging nursery pot, I planted it in it's new pot and watered it in. After watering, I saw some places that needed additional soil, so I added that.
The combination is by Proven Winners and is made up of:
Continue to 9 of 27 below.
- Superbells® 'Yellow Chiffon' Calibrachoa
- Lucia® 'Dark Blue' Lobelia
- Supertunia® 'Bermuda Beach' Petunia
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Coleus Container Garden
Coleus is a great container garden plant.
Coleus is a great container plant for shady areas. Coleus are disease resistant and low maintenance and come in a staggering number of varieties. Coleus is a perfect plant for beginners because it is super easy to take care of and is very forgiving. This gorgeous container garden is from a White Flower Farm kit.Continue to 10 of 27 below.
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Container Garden in an Old BucketContinue to 11 of 27 below.
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Stone Container Garden with Nasturtiums
Nasturtiums are great container garden flowers. They come in many colors and are easy to grow and very hardy. They thrive in poor soil and you can eat the flowers and leaves. The round leaves are beautiful and are very spicy - a great addition to a summer salad.This container garden picture was taken in Ireland, where nasturtiums grow almost like weeds. Made of rough stones, this container garden, looked fabulous with nasturtiums spilling out from between them.Continue to 12 of 27 below.
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Container Garden in Terra Cotta Jar
This simple container garden filled with million bells, verbena and creeping Jenny will bloom all summer. It is super easy to take care of and would be a great container garden for a beginner. Be careful though: Creeping Jenny can be pretty aggressive and will grow wherever it falls.Continue to 13 of 27 below.
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Hanging Basket Container Garden with Purple Sutera
Sometimes a single plant in the right container makes a perfect container garden. This "Cabana, Trailing Blue," sutera looks great in this hanging basket.Continue to 14 of 27 below.
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Herb Container Garden with Golden Sage
This lovely golden sage is a wonderfully fragrant plant. It looks great on its own or can be used in mixed container gardens. This container garden would also work well grouped with other terra cotta containers.Continue to 16 of 27 below.
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Formal Hanging Basket Container GardenContinue to 18 of 27 below.
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Coleus and Ivy in Strawberry Pot Container Garden
Strawberry pots make great container gardens for many different kids of plants.
Strawberry pots are great for planting strawberries, but they are also wonderful for many other plants. A combination of coleus, "Big Red Judy." and English ivy make for a container garden that presents a strong visual statement. This container garden is easy to care for and thrives in shade or partial shade.Continue to 19 of 27 below.
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Pastel Patio Container Garden
This container garden uses silvers with muted pink to great affect. The dark purple gives the composition just a little punch. The synthetic terra cotta planter is understated and enhances the colors of the flowers. This container garden comes in a kit from White Flower Farm.Continue to 20 of 27 below.
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Container Garden in a Big Bucket
You can turn almost anything into a container garden. You just need to punch or drill drainage holes - a hammer and a big nail did the trick on this galvanized steel utility bucket. You can fill the bottom with empty plastic bottles, non-biodegradable packing peanuts or a product called Better Than Rocks," so the container doesn't get too heavy.Continue to 21 of 27 below.
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Container Garden with an Attitude
The droopy, ornamental grass planted in the center of this container garden gives it a little bit of humor and some attitude. The white euphorbia and purple sutera also fit with the playful look of this container garden.Continue to 22 of 27 below.
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Small Hanging Container Garden with Hens and Chicks
This small hanging basket container garden is filled with sempervivum, also known as hens and chicks. Traditionally, these succulents were grown on roofs to guard against thunderbolts, storms and sorcery. This basket would make a great house present.Continue to 23 of 27 below.
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Million Bells Container Garden in Zinc Pot
A single plant can make a beautiful statement if it's in the right container. The contrast of the pink million bells with the dark gray of the zinc pot makes a great looking container garden.Continue to 24 of 27 below.
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Pansy Bowl Container Garden
This container garden couldn't be simpler -- a bowl with pansies. This is a good example of an easy, almost instant container garden that is just plain lovely.Continue to 25 of 27 below.
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Red Hot Container Garden
I'm a big fan of self-watering garden pots and this is my favorite by far. It's a Lechuza Cararo - and I have to say it is the Ferrari of garden pots, self-watering or not. I have filled it with Persian Shield, creeping Jenny, coleus and, 'Sweet Caroline Sweetheart Purple,' sweet potato vine. Review of Lechuza Self Watering ContainersContinue to 26 of 27 below.
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Great Container Idea by P. Allen Smith
I saw this pot at P. Allen Smith's farm in Arkansas and loved the idea. It works well with strawberries, but it would work well with almost any plants, though on the bottom tier or tiers I would include some plants that drape over the sides, which strawberries do so well. You could mix strawberries and mint, or use a mix of calibrachoa, petunias, creeping Jenny or wirevine.
You could also make a tower stacking four, even five pots up. Just make sure that the tower is stable enough so that a stiff wind wouldn't blow the whole thing over.
To construct the pot within a pot tower:
Continue to 27 of 27 below.
- Choose pots of graduated size, making sure there is enough of difference in the diameters, so that there will be plenty of room to plant in the space between the pots
- Fill bottom pot with potting soil up to 2 inches below the rim
- Hollow out a small indentation in the center of the soil (you can also put the pot off-center if you prefer)
- Set second pot inside the indentation you made in the soil in the first pot and pat soil around the second pot to give it stability
- Fill second pot with soil and repeat above instructions if you are adding more pots
- Plant your pots and water well
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Container Garden in a Metal Basket
When I saw this large metal basket on sale at T.J. Maxx, I thought it would be perfect for a container garden. I brought it home and lined it with a plastic bag, with a large hole cut into the bottom for drainage. I then filled it with potting soil, mixed with an organic, all-purpose fertilizer.
I then planted:
- White Superbells® Trailing White Calibrachoa hybrid
- Lobelia, Laguna™ Heavenly Lilac
- Lobelia, Laguna™ Sky Blue
- White zonal geranium, Daredevil® Snow