An alternative to new plantings or construction
By Mitch Harper
With spring, you may look forward to the blooms of a favorite Magnolia tree, the vivid gold of forsythia, or the pastel colors of tulips. These welcome colors, textures, and even aromas transport us forward to a time when we will be relaxing in our gardens or entertaining friends on our patios. At this time, many may start thinking of making improvements – such as planting a flowering tree in a nondescript back corner or adding a cutting garden to replace an old shrub bed.
Some might even imagine expanding a patio for entertaining more guests. These all are great ideas, but what if we want to create an impact without making structural changes? A flexible choice, and one that can have a great impact, is the use of flower containers.
Less costly and disruptive than new plantings or construction, containers can be placed almost anywhere you wish to add a splash of color or soften hard features. And since they are planted with annual flowers instead of perennials, you’ll always have a large selection of flowering material from which to choose – not a small consideration if you have a party or event and you need your property looking its best.
Since they are filled with annuals and select perennials, weeding and pruning are not necessary, limiting maintenance to watering and fertilization.
There are a few considerations to keep in mind when selecting containers. You’ll first want to decide where you want to place them. Location will help determine size and color. But that doesn’t mean you must use large containers in spacious areas such as a pool deck.
Many people use two or even three containers of decreasing size in a location that could accommodate one large pot. You may also want to place a window box on an entry landing instead of a round container.
Another item to consider is the container’s style. Many select containers that match the style of their homes. Stone urns and more formal planters that are classic in design and possess clean symmetrical lines complement federal, colonial or Georgian-style homes. If you own a cottage, you may want to consider window boxes, wheelbarrows or even watering cans for a lighter, more whimsical look to accent your home.
More contemporary homes are often adorned by shallow, bowl-shaped pots. Don’t think, however, that you must be limited to any one of these choices. Many people use a mix of these styles to suit their needs. The goal is to create a space that you find pleasing. So select containers that you like and that fit your personality.
Once you’ve decided on the type of container and where you will place it, plant selection can begin. A place to start is by choosing colors that you like, but also remember to consider color combinations. You may love the colors red and yellow individually, but would not want to see them together in a pot. And keep in mind that color can be introduced through plant foliage and not just flower petals. Many plants such as grasses and vines are used in pots for the variety of their foliage and their unique forms. Using material like this of different sizes and shapes creates more contrast and a greater range of texture. And remember that these choices are made for each seasonal rotation. New flowers and plants arrive each month of the season ready provide an immediate and dramatic impact.
There are so many options to consider when installing flower containers that it may seem daunting. These options, however, give containers their versatility and allow them to reflect our individualism and personalities.
Mitch Harper of the Schumacher Companies can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org