I love summer bedding containers as much as the next person – the cheerful sight of petunias and busy lizzies brightening up the patio is a sight for sore eyes – but often it’s nice to create a beautiful, more unusual summer container.
A well-thought out mix of annuals or perennials and perhaps some shrubs, will be long-lasting, just as cheerful and more memorable.
I’ve themed my pot, aiming for a mini ‘prairie’ planted container to bring a little style and contemporary design to my sunny patio. Themed pots are always a talking point!
To achieve the prairie look, choose pink-purple, white and yellow wildflowers and daisy-like blooms, taller at the back than the front. A key component is using fluffy grasses to intersperse bright blooms with.
Choose an attractive, large sturdy pot, cover the bottom with a small layer of stones or broken crocks for good drainage, and then use a John Innes no.3 or a good quality multi-purpose compost. Remember to feed your pot with a general purpose liquid feed through summer every week or so, and keep its moisture levels topped up.
Top planting tips
1) Use evergreens
These create a base, structure and longevity to your displays, making them interesting for longer. Here I’ve used euphorbia ‘Craigieburn’ with fiery red foliage and lime flowers, santolina ‘Lemon Fizz’, a spreading zingy evergreen, and wallflower ‘Walberton’s Fragrant Sunshine’.
2) Colour clash and contrast
Use different tones of the same colour, as with the lilac scabious and vivid purple-tipped Senetti used here. Also clash with colours, as shown with this yellow wallflower and opposing purple blooms.
3) Use small and tall plants
Tall, arching plants at the back of the pot are always complemented by small or low-growing front of pot plants, such as santolina ‘Lemon Fizz’ and creeping sedum ‘Weihenstephaner Gold’ shown here.
GN Recommends – More potted picks
An exotic-looking annual to add pops of summer colour to a pot. Easy to grow in a sunny spot, it’s often known as cockscomb. Height 30cm.
It’s hard not to keep touching this fluffy grass! A deciduous perennial that ripples in the breeze and grows to around 60cm.
Sedum ‘Weihenstephaner Gold’
Thrives in any well-drained soil, with foliage that turns red in autumn. Bees and hoverflies love its yellow flowers. Height: 12cm.