As we emerge from the dull grey tones of a winter in the chilly Northeast we are all looking for a little color and warmth! Spring is finally arriving and there is no better time of year to enhance your living space with outdoor container gardening. Whether you would like to brighten the entrance to your home, or create a colorful and exciting outdoor living space, container gardens of any kind can make it happen. Spring provides us a plethora of opportunity for creating beautiful designs of flowering plants and foliage to mark the new season. Nothing will be more impressive to you or your guests this spring than a splash of living color at home!
As this week has demonstrated, spring weather is fickle which can make planting in-ground gardens risky just yet. Container gardens are an easy solution to changing weather. In case of freezing weather simply cover your containers or bring inside overnight.
Some may think that container design in the spring time is a bit basic and boring, and limited to daffodils and pansies to offer the impressive color we are seeking after a long, cold, drab winter. While we love the bright faces of daffodils and pansies there actually are a wide variety of perennial plants we can integrate into our containers to create a diversity of texture, color, and dimension. Hellebores, Heucharas, Euphorbias, and Sedums are a few favorites that I use to create drama and impact in my designs for Spring. The varying sizes and structures of these plants break up the simplicity of the average spring container garden and are available in many varieties offering even more options. Heuchara, for example, comes in an assortment of colors that range from deep purples to crisp lime greens indulging us with wonderful foliage to soften the outer layers of any container.
Another plant that offers bountiful color options is a spring time classic; the pansy. You can plant them by themselves in a monochromatic pansy bowl, embellish a complex design, or even under-plant your doorstep evergreens to bring color and beauty to your home. Never underestimate the power of the pansy! In addition to keeping an open mind about potential plant selection for container gardening this spring, I would encourage everyone to consider the layout and structure of the design they have in mind. “Do I have enough texture?” “Do I have enough color?” Another question that is prominent in spring is, “Do I have enough height and how do I create the proper scale?” Truth be told, depending on the size and scale of the container, proper height can be hard to come by in spring time. I typically choose to use cut branches from dogwood trees or pussy willow to create the height and depth needed to complete the arrangement.
Remember the importance of the container itself to create a mood. Consider the style of your house, the colors of your plants, and the ambience you are creating and be sure to choose a container that is complimentary. With styles from rustic to modern to whimsical and colors from neutral to bold, you can find the perfect container to hold your plants and flowers. Do remember the importance of drainage for the best health of your garden.
At McArdle’s, we believe in beautiful spaces, and your outdoor container gardens are important to us! We have many beautiful containers made from a variety of materials ranging from ceramic pots to fiber glass and cast stone. We can help you select plants that will best suit your aesthetic and functional needs and we can even design and plant containers for you! Heavy pots and urns are no problem as we offer delivery and pickups! We are ready to help you enrich your home today with our expert container designers!
Stephen Grant, Outdoor Sales Associate, McArdle’s Florist and Garden Center