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Central Midwest Gardening: Container Garden Recipes

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

It's easy to get great-looking spring containers, starting with the colorful plants already in bloom at garden shops.

Pretty flower pots, ready for a party.

You don't need a fancy recipe to cook up great-looking flowerpots. I like to start with a list of ingredients, but I never really know what I'm going to plant until I check out the inventory at local garden shops.


Aztecâ violet verbena blooms all summer long.

Pots: Take a good look around at your pots and planters before you go shopping. Classic terra-cotta pots are my favorites. Most of my inventory spend the winter in a frost-free basement, but even so, terra-cotta pots don't last forever, and I'm always looking for new ones. In my garden the style is strictly informal, so I can get away with pots of many sizes, styles and colors. They move around the garden a lot; every year is different.

Violas and lettuce are good companions.

Soil Mix: It's always a good idea to have a fresh bag of potting mix on hand; I use it to fill new pots and top off the mix in the pots I already have.

Plants: This year I'm looking for some interesting small shrubs for my summer flowerpots, but for spring I fill my pots with the brightest flowers I can find. I like to include lots of lettuce and a few herbs in pots, and I find little, bright-faced violas irresistible.

These pink dahlias cost just $2 each.

For a spring party I just try to create cheerful pots, not long-lasting arrangements. I buy small plants to put in 4- and 6-inch terra-cotta pots, which quickly find their places on the patio; and on walls, steps and garden tables. These plants can stay in their pots for two days or two weeks, but then I'll need to transplant them into larger pots or garden beds.

Foliage is beautiful too: I love hostas and ferns in pots, and find they need no further adornment.

Flowerpots are versatile accessories everywhere in a garden. It's never too early or too late to add a few pots full of colorful flowers, or to tuck a few new plants among the flowers already in pots. That's what's great about a garden: it's never static, never finished, so there's always something out there to look forward to seeing or doing.

What are you planting in your flowerpots this year? Check out my video and see how easy it is to plant a few pots for a party. Got any other ideas?


See more Midwest gardening articles.