Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
June, 2013
Regional Report

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Green leaf lettuce, pink diascia, and sweet alyssum fluorish in a springtime container.

Container Themes

Containers are like blank slates, waiting to be filled. But there are so many good choices of plants, it can feel overwhelming when it comes to deciding just what to plant. That's when a theme can help to narrow things down. Remember to start by selecting plants that are suited to the light conditions where your container will sit. Then it's time to have a little fun in whittling down the choices.

Here Comes the Sun (Or Shade)
Whether or not you opt for a specific theme, do make sure your plants are suited to the planting location. If your container sits in full direct sun all day long or in direct sun all afternoon, select plants that like hot sun. If your container is on the darker north side of your house, select plants for shade. If it receives full, direct sun just in the morning, go with plants adaptable to partial shade or sun. For an eastern exposure with just a few hours of gentle, early-morning sun, you can use plants for partial shade or shade. For bright, dappled light all day, go with shade to part-shade plants.

Plant By Color
A color theme is an obvious choice and can be as tasteful or as kaleidoscopic as you like. You can do a monochromatic scheme with, for example, all yellow flowers and golden-foliage plants, or a hot combination of blooms in red, yellow, orange, and bright pink. Or go for a cool, soothing, pastel look in rose, white, and silver.

Inspiration for a color theme can be as varied as your personal interests. How about something in burgundy and gold to match your favorite team colors, or flowers selected to complement the cushions on your deck furniture, or plants to echo your favorite Hawaiian print shirt?

Good Enough to Eat
You could grow a culinary herb garden and go with herbs you like to cook with, along with some edible flowers. Popular herbs that do well in containers include thyme, chives, sage, tarragon, rosemary, and basil. For edible flowers you could include lavender, chives, violas, or nasturtiums.

Sweet Scents
How about a potted parfumerie: roses, sweet alyssum, lavender, nicotiana, and ten-week stock (Matthiola incana). Some scented geraniums and a fragrant lily or two would round out the selection.

Go Wild
Maybe nature is your bag. Try a portable butterfly garden in pots, using plants known to be especially tempting to butterflies, such as lantana, zinnias, and verbena. Add a container of larval food sources, such as parsley and dill, so you can enjoy observing the caterpillars up close, too.

Or how about a container water garden, or a container cactus garden or .... how about one of each!

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