By Mary Glazer
Container gardens are as easy as 1, 2, 3. All I need is a pot, soil, and a plant. My containers vary from plastic, terra cotta, and lightweight faux cement, to glazed ceramic.
Almost any outdoor item works, as long as there is adequate drainage. After repeatedly patching cracks in a beloved old cement birdbath, it finally occurred to me to repurpose the item and grow sedum instead. It was a perfect match of a pot with good drainage and a plant with shallow roots.
Today’s potting soil is available with added benefits for a container garden, including moisture control and slow-release fertilizers. My plants range from herbs, flowers, foliage vines, and succulents, to a ponytail palm. It doesn’t have to be complicated. One or two plants per container can have a lot of eye appeal, especially when you’re creative with their placement.
The simple dark-green foliage of herbs, set against a white trellis, not only is aesthetically pleasing but also conveniently located when I grab some chocolate-mint leaves for ice tea brewing in the kitchen. Monochromatic color combinations, where the container and plant are of similar color, add an elegant touch.
A simple begonia brightens up a dreary area on my patio. Repeatable features, whether a specific plant, color, or dimension, pull everything together. Nearby I use more begonias along with the dark burgundy of a sweet potato vine. Two identical plantings, placed on a double shelf, add a vertical dimension. To further balance this vertical element, I use a ponytail palm on the other side of the patio.
Container gardens provide me an opportunity for creative expression and a way to dress up a patio or similar space. I always keep one container reserved for annuals near my front door, switching them out with the seasons. From groupings of pots with one species, to multiple plant combinations, the options are almost endless.