As promised, last weekend I banged out all the container planting (save for three small containers on the front steps that I usually plant with whatever I have leftover). 

I like to show the starting point for my containers because they are all a little sparse. I think people who are new to creating container designs are disappointed if they don't look full and lush right from the get-go because that's what they see. But the average gardener doesn't have access to huge annuals. Plants are smaller and may not even have a flower on them yet. I always have to squint a little to imagine what it's going look like in a few weeks.

But that's the joy of annual containers: They start looking great quickly. In fact the challenge with containers is often keeping them from looking junglelike midway through the season (as evidenced by some of my containers in years past). 

Here's how everything turned out. I didn't include the window box in this post as I feel that deserves its own post. I also made a video of how they all came together that you can watch here or at the bottom of the post.


I put less in these containers than in the past and I think that's for the best. Frankly I think I was cramming too much in there and everything was a little hampered in its growth. Everything I've been told about the Cuphea suggests that hummingbirds go nuts for that plant so I thought I'd try to encourage them to come in close. So far no sightings, but it's pretty small still.

Mandevilla Lemon Coral sedum Superbena Dark Blue Cuphea Vermillionaire


This is a close copy of what I did here last year, but I liked it so much I didn't want to change it too much. I did have to replace the clematis as the others didn't make it through the winter. If I lose these again I will rethink using clematis as the climbers in this pot because obviously replacing them every year is not a great option.

Dichondra Silver Falls Infinity White impatiens • Plectranthus Silver Shield


These pots are new this year. You may recall the pots were cheap finds at the Restoration Outlet that I stained over the winter. I'm really happy to report that the stain is holding up great and I'm loving having these. For a long time I've felt that we were missing something near the entrance of the house.

I wanted to keep these simple. Between the circle garden, the annual planting along the house, the window box and everything else going on over there, it's a riot of  color and I thought something a little simpler might be nice.

The centerpiece is a white rose that I planted bare root several weeks ago. It won't get big this year, but I hope we get to see a few blooms at least. In the meantime, the "skirt" of gray and blue around it will be the star this year.

• 'Windermere' rose Licorice plant Lobelia Laguna Compact Blue with Eye


I must be on a gray kick this year because there is a lot of gray foliage showing up in my containers. I loved the 'Elegant Feather' I used in a few containers last year, but I also love cardoons. They get huge (even though they are tiny when planted), so they'll fill up most of this container, but I added in a few Superbells to make a "skirt" and I threw in some Verbena bonareinsis seedlings as well. They are tiny and I don't know how they'll fair but there's no harm in trying. If they grow, they'll get tall and provide some much-needed height there.

• Cardoon • Superbells Blue Moon Punch
• Verbena bonareinsis


The container by the front door (which we made, by the way) got a similar treatment. It's always a big of a leap of faith putting such a small plant as the cardoon in as the centerpiece, but I've had great luck with them before. In fact I worry it may cover the Gaura, but I'll just play it by ear if that happens.

• Cardoon • Dichondra Silver Falls Supertunia Bordeaux Gaura Karalee Petite Pink Ipomoea Sweet Caroline Bewitched After Dark • Verbena seedlings

Here's how they all came together.

You can be sure I'll keep you updated on how everything is looking as the season progresses. In the meantime, how are your container plantings looking?


  1. Thankyou... very helpful!! Look forward to how they progress through the summer!!

  2. I like your choices of plants. Putting a Cardoon in a container is interesting. I will be curious to know how this works out. My containers are very simple. They are doing ok. Can't say they are too colorful. I might do a post about them later.

    1. I did a very similar planting in that front door box a few years ago and it turning out really nice, although I'm now seeing that the Bordeaux Supertunias sort of ate all the other plants! The cardoon was great though but wilted at the idea of underwatering.

  3. We had a windstorm so there was a manager's special on lobelia, similar to yours. It was a Cdn $1 for 6 plant package so I bout 72 of them. Put them in with impatiens and fuchsias to attract the hummingbirds. You would never know the lobelia had suffered. So I have ten hanging pots for $4 each. I cut back on the amount I put in each pot as the plants will fill in anyway. I thought using cuphea for the hummingbirds is very interesting! Your containers are beautiful!

  4. Looking at this I know why I don't really do containers. Lots of thought and worK! The driveway ones are great and a nice addition.


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