Container gardening is one of the quickest ways to jump start the growing season. Once the snow has melted and the northerly winds of winter shift slightly to the south, spring is not far behind. Ahead is the rebirth of all that is green and glorious in the garden. Bulbs are bursting with color and Pansies and Primrose are filling the air with their sweet scent of the season.
Tulips, Daffodils, Hyacinths and Pansies are not exclusive to the garden flower bed anymore, nor are they the only cool weather annuals available. This spring try combining flowering bulbs together in pots for instant color. Or, wow your friends with some unique design know-how by grouping different cool weather annuals, perennial, and edible in containers.
When planting any type of container garden begin with a centerpiece or tallest plant in the arrangement. Consider perennial Columbine and Hellebore both have delicate flowers and soft color palette. Another alternative is the little known annual bulb Ranunculus. This beautiful flower has the look of a cabbage rose and continues to bloom throughout the spring. The colors range from bright orange, to the softest yellow and the hottest red.
Osteospermum, commonly known as African Daisy is beautiful bloomer during the spring. These vibrant colored flowers can last through the summer. The ‘Symphony’ series is a great example. The ‘Lemon Symphony’ variety is a soft pale yellow that is the perfect compliment to any color palette you choose. If you want to add a little fragrance to the garden add Stock, an annual with medium size flower stalks and a delicious spicy fragrance. Nemesia, another favorite spring annual, adds a sweet fragrance and delicate texture to any container combination.
Pansies are the perennial favorites with there wide range of colors and faces. Primroses are great for early spring planting. They tolerate the coolest of temps and can be planted later on in the garden. For a softer texture try a pot of Alyssum, an annual that blooms throughout the early summer. Alyssum adds brightness with its white color and sweet fragrance flowing over the container. Even Petunias, Million Bells and lush green English Ivy can make their seasonal debut in the month of April if we are lucky!
Don’t be afraid to add an edible or two. Cool season starter vegetables and herbs are available now at your local garden center and ready to plant. I always add a little red and green lettuce or Swiss Chard to my containers. It adds texture and variety, along with being delicious to eat!
If you are looking for architectural interest consider adding an obelisk or trellis to the large pot, or bunches of cut curly willow, pussy willow, or forced Forsythia branches, these can add new dimension to your display.
Remember spring containers should not remain empty waiting to be filled with summer annuals. Try some of these new ideas to bring your containers to life this spring season.