Container Gardening

Every year my favorite gardening project is planting a container garden for my front porch - just a little something to welcome guests and brides. Last week I was driving home from lunch with Diane (my MIL), and I got the itch to stop in at Bordine Nursery. After an hour of wandering the grounds, surveying everything that was available, I ended up with one "Asao" Clematis, one "Powis Castle" Artemisia, two "Sweet Caroline" sweet potato vines, six little dusty miller, and a tray of "Goldilocks" Lysimachia. For the front porch I whipped together this design. I stuffed a fiberglass urn with the Artemisia, one sweet potato vine, four dusty miller and a third of the Lysimachia. I'm hoping that the Artemisia will get large enough to shade the "Goldilocks" Lysimachia, because my south-facing porch gets really hot in the summer. Even though green is my favorite color, I am inexorably drawn to silvery-blue and chartreuse foliage. Also, I never seem to do flowers up on the porch. I don't know why, but I tend to leave those for the mulched beds around the house.

'Powis Castle' Artemisia, 'Sweet Caroline' sweet potato vine, dusty miller, and 'Goldilocks' Lysimachia in a fiberglass urn

This is the first year I have also put together a planter for the back porch. Here I've used the "Asao" Clematis (Woo-hoo! A flowering plant!), the other sweet potato vine, two dusty miller and another third of the "Goldilocks" Lysimachia. It looks like I already need to build a larger trellis for the Clematis!

'Asao' Clematis, 'Sweet Caroline' sweet potato vine, dusty miller, and 'Goldilocks' Lysimachia in a cast-iron urn

This "Asao" variety of Clematis is definitely a show stopper, with each bloom measuring six inches across! I would like to use a couple of blossoms in a bridal bouquet for one of my June brides. (What do you think Heather?) Hopefully it is still blooming in Mid-June.

'Asao' Clematis blossom - an amazing six inches across

Not surprisingly, Clematis is closely related to a few of my other favorite flowers - ranunculus, anemones, helleborus, columbine, nigella and delphinium are all in the same Family. And it is a bit more distantly related to poppies and bleeding hearts, which are in the same Order.

It would be a blast to put together some mini container gardens for wedding centerpieces. They could be planted ahead of time, and enjoyed after the wedding for the rest of the growing season. If there is an interested bride out there, shoot me an email, I'd love to design some miniature gardens for your wedding!

Overall, I think it was a successful container gardening year for me. I made an effort to pack as many plants into each urn as I could. I think that this will give me an "œovergrown" look a lot faster than my previous years. What are your favorite plant combinations and techniques for container gardening?