What splendid options are now planted in our local garden centers! I recently spent several hours browsing nurseries for the perfect containers for a client. No matter the season, there are superb containers that every Elderyarding® homeowner should consider.
Tip 1: Think BIG!
Rethink your daydreams if you’re thinking about permanent clay, ceramic, concrete or metal plant containers based on the common plastic pots in which plants are sold. Four-inch, quart, or gallon containers set you up visually to think small. And if you’re in the habit of buying a batch of plants in the “thrillers, fillers, spillers” approach, you may be accustomed to seasonal containers 18 to 24 inches tall and wide.
When I say “think big,” I mean REALLY BIG. I saw containers that were 40 inches across and 24 inches high. What an impact a pot that size would make on your patio, or even in the corner of your yard. Big pots can accommodate shrubs or small trees.
In fact, you could even create an entire garden with containers to manage the plants you love while reducing the work needed to dig soil, fertilize, and spread mulch. Add a drip irrigation system that delivers water for each plant’s precise needs, and your garden is both green and environmentally friendly.
Tip 2: Think color!
Containers have changed from the terracotta clay pots you may remember. I saw cobalt blue, three shades of aqua, sage green, pine green, bright red, soft dull red, bright orange, purple, yellow, mustard, shades of gray and cream, and every imaginable brown from rusty to chocolate.
How exciting for an Elderyarding® approach! You could put nothing but shrubs in a mass of containers and rely on the pots themselves to provide all the garden’s color. No worries about training your lawn guy to dig and divide your perennials, no fight at the big box store to find the perfect color of tough annuals to spruce up your porches and patios in spring – and summer – and fall – and winter, too, for some of us.
Tip 3: Think contrast!
I’ve written before about developing visual fascination that keeps your yard appealing when your vision changes or you are housebound due to illness. Containers can be a perfect solution here. Recently I saw a glorious front yard featuring a dark red brick wall fronted by a carefully pruned green and white variegated shrub at the sidewalk.
But why offer this sight just to passersby? Transfer this idea into a similar back yard vision observable from your bedroom window. Start with a dark wall or fence, then add a big low creamy container planted with a small deciduous weeping tree. The container provides contrast to draw your eye year-round, while the tree’s blossoms capture your attention in March, and colorful leaves mark the approach of fall. Or make the container bright yellow and keep the plant a simple well-shaped evergreen.
As for me, I’ve fallen in love with a container like a huge ornamental vase – a five-foot-tall turquoise beauty that’s only 18 inches in diameter. Plant in it? Definitely unrealistic. But oh, my, how glorious it would look as the focal point at the end of the pergola, with “Big Pink” autumn sage in a cloud at its feet. It would change the entire garden corner from “cottagey” to elegant with the same native plants in place.