21 Mar 2014

Inspiration: Pot plants

I'm noticing pots and containers filled with plants a lot recently.  It's a part of garden design training that we're taught to appropriately plant up containers to fill gaps and provide seasonal interest so, as I walked through the Capel grounds on my way back to my library studies last Friday, I couldn't help but notice this pot which I thought was rather beautiful.



It stands about a metre high next to a bench and is one of an identical pair.  At the moment it's planted up with pink hellebores, vinca (trailing over the sides), euphorbia and griselinia (the tall rounded leaves at the back).  Perhaps my photo doesn't do it justice but I think, when viewed within the garden surroundings, it has real visual impact and really adds to the overall scheme yet still blends in.  I like that the smaller pot seen on the left, below, leads the eye up to the larger pot and bench and both pots echo the shapes of the surrounding planting in the border behind.



A pot can group plants together to be viewed in a way that couldn't be done in a border.  The pot can be moved to a different spot if needed and if any of the plants look tired, they can be quickly replaced later in the year.  The downside is that they need vigilant watering to ensure the soil doesn't dry out; plastic pots, although not as pretty as terracotta, are better at retaining moisture in the soil.  For now though, this pot invites the walker to stop awhile and sit in the sunshine on this handy bench.

In my own garden, so to speak, I have large pots planted up with herbs: sage, surrounded by thyme and violas (edible flowers) and a spring pot of pompom daisies (bellis perennis), violas, ivy trailing over the sides and pansies in the middle. Lilies are buried deep within this pot and will come up among the spring flowers; mini calendula and nasturtiums are also good flowers for pots.  All of these, apart from ivy, have edible flowers. The herbs, of course, are completely edible.

22 comments:

  1. I'm not a trained Garden Designer, but I have a keen appreciation of the value of pot plants. Recently I have been branching out more into flowers as opposed to veg, and I have paid more attention to ornamental rather than functional containers. It's hard for me to restrain myself whenever I visit a garden centre!

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    1. I saw some gorgeous pots at the local garden centre last weekend, Mark, but the prices!! I think ornamental pots must be considered an investment and thing of beauty for the garden, as well as functional ... and it's always good to introduce more flowers into a garden, the bees they attract can only be good for your veg!!

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  2. Must admit I don't really create display pot maybe one by the front door this year. I tend to use annuals and bulbs though as i never know what to do with the perennials when they are not 'in season'

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    1. As my bulbs go over, I'm wishing I'd put the daffodils into pots so I could relocate them and still give the leaves time to die back without having to actually look at them! My perennials just stay in the pots and pop up again in spring, or they're pruned a bit and mulched and off they go again.

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  3. I like plants in pots, such as that first picture, and they can be really effective just about anywhere. I keep meaning to do more of them on the plot. Flighty xx

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    1. Yes, I agree Flighty, I think pots are well worth the effort - you can move them around so show them off or hide them as needed! Pots for the plot probably need to be recycled or cheap ones so they don't get pinched (I can't believe how expensive pots are now!) but a lovely idea to add some more in.

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  4. I have lasagne layers of bulbs in my pots topped with pansies - maybe I should be a little more adventurous - I like to see winter/spring pots, they are a bit of colour when there is nothing about.

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    1. I'll be doing a lot more spring pots next year Elaine; I have muscari growing in the window box on my balcony and just as they're about to flower, I need the space for other things! They'll be relocated into pots after flowering and moved out of the way until needed next winter! I love the idea of layered bulbs and having waves of flowers coming through.

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  5. I don't really have any beds for plants at home, other than the ones I use for vegetables, so I have lots of pots. It's a great idea to have big ones and put a mixture of plants in there. The ones in your picture are really effective.

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    1. Thanks CJ; As you wrote of your pots, I thought of your boys playing football in the back garden! I think having a range of pot sizes works well. I've seen big and small mixed in a display at Great Dixter - they do pots really well there, even though they have masses of garden space for plants!

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  6. The pot plant look so inspiring. I want to try this one. Thanks for sharing

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    1. You have such wonderful looking plants, Endah, I don't think it would be hard to come up with a winning edible combination! Would love to see what you achieve!

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  7. I'm not very good with pots, I have one large one by the front door and 3 by the back door, but looking at them now, I could do better and must really try harder!

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    1. I think the trick is to be inspired be plant combinations and then to be able to get hold of those plants!! As with designing a garden, a range of textures, shapes and sizes, perhaps with a unifying colour scheme, works very well and creates interest. But I'm sure you knew that already! ;)

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  8. I suppose one of the challenges is where to put your pots when you're not using them. And the wind knocking them over. But the example you show works perfectly.

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    1. Good point, Lucy! My empty pots (cheap black plastic) get emptied, cleaned and stored in our caretaker's hut. Before that they were stacked and tucked away but someone said they looked too messy so I had to move them!! Once stacked together, they can be quite heavy and I've never had a problem with them blowing away. You could always weight them with bricks ... :)

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  9. I love seeing plants growing in containers and have lots in my own garden. I'm particularly fond of containers grouped together, I think a fabulous display can be created this way.

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    1. Having lots of pots makes your garden sound really lovely, I like the sound of your containers grouped together - this would also save on the watering chores as you could get several pots watered in one hit! Good thinking!

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  10. I like the sound of your own pot Caro, nice mix of plants with some succession interest too. Do show us a pic of it when you get the chance :)

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    1. Thanks, guys! I was going to include a snap with this post but it started raining as I typed! Decided to stay snug indoors. May well bring the subject back up again in a future post...

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  11. That's a stunner Caro. I like pots but not the watering or leaving them to fend for themselves if away from home so have reached a compromise. Tend to stick with pots planted for spring interest and pots that I can move into the cold frame if away, where himself has rigged up an automatic watering device. This year I would like to expand on pots containing foliage plants in the area in front of the house. Hope that you return to the subject.

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    1. I'm very impressed that you've got an automatic watering device, Anna - and quite envious too! I started planting up pots as I always have too little space for what I want to grow! At the moment I'm fascinated by the huge range of plants that can be grown quite happily in pots so I'll definitely be coming back to this again!

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Caro x

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