Hot Trends In Containers

While the interest in gardening is at an all-time high, America’s gardens are getting smaller due to the current trend of building large homes on small lots. But these grand homes call for big statements in tight spaces and container gardens are the perfect solution.

You don’t need to be able to dig in the dirt to create a fabulous garden. Containers, the anywhere gardens, can color up a courtyard, beautify a balcony and doll up a driveway. You can hang them on windows and walls, suspend them from ceilings and arches and build them into retainer walls and walkways.

Today’s homeowners are pressed for time and container gardens rule when it comes to easy care. Once the planting is done, watering and occasional pinching and dead heading to removing of spent blooms is all that’s needed for season-long non-stop color.

When choosing containers, one secret to success is–go big. Plant in a large container and you’re assured the pot you have chosen has enough space to support your plants as they grow throughout the season. And bigger pots hold more water and need watering less often.

Add a balanced slow release fertilizer as you plant and it will continue to feed the plants throughout the season. A quick pick-me up of water-soluble fertilizer before the dog days of summer arrive and another as summer begins to wind down will keep the color coming.

The mantra of the new millennium gardener “if it grows it goes,” allows us to be creative in the use of plant material and place show stopping color accents throughout the landscape.

Bodacious combinations of flowering annuals, herbs, perennials, grasses and shrubs have usurped impatiens and geraniums that once dominated the potted plant scene. Texture and form as well as brilliant color have been added to the mix and the results can be stunning.

The silvery leaves of the perennial Lamium ‘White Nancy, traditionally used as ground cover, adds an elegant sheen to a pot of bright pink petunias and purple trailing verbena

Heucheras, valued in the perennial border for both leaf color and texture have also jumped into the potting mix.

Coloring up shaded areas is a snap with vibrant leafed coleus and luscious double flowering tuberous begonias in bright scarlet and mouth watering sherbet colors of orange, yellow and tangerine. And hosta mixed with the stunning new double flowering impatiens adds grace and style to any shaded corner, walkway or patio.

Whether you choose simple chic route or choose to go over the top, picking colors can be a challenge because there is so much to choose from.

A good rule of thumb to follow when using three or more colors is to let one color dominate in order to prevent a chaotic look.

Mono color plantings, popular at the turn of century, are coming back says Alvin McDonald, garden editor for Better Homes and Gardens magazine. It’s a sophisticated look that evokes a sense of peace and tranquility. An elegant symphony of purple might contain ‘Marine’ heliotrope, Petunia Supertunia ‘Royal Velvet,’ and Strobilanthes ‘Persian Shield.’

Now, for a dash of panache add a shower of chartreuse yellow foliage with Helichrysum petiolare ‘Limelight’.

For more tips on container gardening and recipe guides to help you create winning color and plant combinations check out the following websites:,,

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