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 either. This spring try combining flowering bulbs together in pots for instant color. Wow your friends with some unique design know-how by grouping different cool weather annuals and perennials in individual pots know as mono cultured pots.
A mono – cultured pot is a single plant in a single pot. These pots can be grouped together on the patio or entry way of the home to create layers of color and texture much like your garden beds. Start with three pots in small, medium and large, you can add more if your space allows. I always design in threes or odd numbers to create layers of texture and color to add visual interest. When planting any type of container garden begin with a centerpiece or tallest plant in the arrangement. Consider perennial Columbine with its delicate flowers and soft color palette. Another alternative is the little known annual bulb Ranunculus, the flower has looks like a cabbage rose and continues to bloom throughout the spring. The colors range from bright orange, to the softest yellow and the hottest red. If you are looking for architectural interest consider adding an obelisk or trellis to the large pot, or bunches of cut curly willow or pussy willow branches, these can add new dimension to your display.
Continue next with the medium sized container planted with bright colored Osteospermum, commonly known as African Daisy. The watercolored flowers last through the summer since certain varieties have been bred to withstand the heat of 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 fragrant spring annual, adds delicate texture to any container combination.
Complete the arrangement with the third, small container filled with low growing annuals or perennials. 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 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 and possibly late March if we are lucky!
Once you have your pots planted begin arranging them according to size. Place the largest and tallest pot towards the back, then place the medium size pot off to one side toward the front and the smallest place on the opposite side toward the front as well. Think of a triangular pattern, or whatever is visually pleasing to your eye.
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.