I can’t contain myself (reprise)

the front porch pot, late OctoberBack in June 2008 I wrote, “A mixed container is a challenge. Just like planting a garden with the right plant for the right spot, for a mixed container one must at least consider putting plants with similar needs together.” Then I went on to talk about breaking that rule. (It didn’t work out well. I’m pretty sure I never mentioned those particular pot combos again.)

This past April – the 8th to be exact if I can trust the scrawl in my calendar that reads “k – front porch pot” – I planted a container that I wasn’t sure would make it past Daffodil Days. I was so unsure of it that I didn’t even take a picture after I planted it. But not only did it make it through spring, I just took it off the porch yesterday, looking more beautiful than ever. My temptation is to take zero credit for it and say it was just dumb luck – one of those happy accidents that happens sometimes in the garden. But actually, the plants played very well together and there’s a (remote) possibility that I might have had an inkling when I planted it. The plants I chose could all take the kind of “evenly moist” that is easy to maintain in a glazed pot (watered twice a week); they all appreciate a little morning sun and afternoon shade. And here’s where I really lucked out – they almost all grew just enough to fill the pot without being bullies.

Ferry Road container with longleaf pine, Hakonechloa macra 'All Gold' and kalesThe plants:  Pinus palustris (Longleaf pine) – in any container it’s guaranteed to turn heads. (I planted one in the pot by the road too.) Farfugium japonicum ‘Aureomaculatum’ (Leopard plant) – another stunner, finally blooming now. Hypericum calycinum ‘Brigadoon’ (St. John’s wort), Asparagus densiflorus (asparagus fern) and a couple of tiny Campanula ‘Elizabeth Oliver’. The campanula were the only plants that, after they were done blooming, were overtaken by the rest. It was almost as if I planned it that way.

I know there’s something to be said for redoing containers periodically throughout the season to keep it all interesting – and keep a gardener on her toes. But my goal is always to get it right the first time. (And this was the first time.)

Have you planted a container combination that stood the test of time and maintenance? What worked? (Was it carefully planned or a happy accident – or a combination?)

6 thoughts on “I can’t contain myself (reprise)

  1. Using a sapling in a container!? Never thought of that one. I think you have hit upon a trend, I really do. Save the pic. Enter it into Sunset’s container contest. Win something fabulous. You deserve it.

    Susan, I can’t take any credit for the pine. We got the idea – and the plants – from our very creative friend, Ed who owns Opus Topiarium nursery in Little Compton. And alas, we east coasters aren’t eligible to enter the Sunset contest – but thanks for thinking it coulda been a contender! -kris

  2. I agree! Great idea, that baby conifer. … and one I will remember for next year.
    Now what do you do with it this winter?

    Ginny, We keep them in the greenhouse over the winter. I don’t know how it would do as a houseplant but if you have a chilly room/porch I bet it would be fine. They are very slow growing, at least used this way – we’ve had a couple of them for a couple of years now. -kris

  3. So very cool! Where in heavens are you finding Pinus palustris around here??? Do we think it might be hardy? I’m curious, but then you know me when it comes to that.

    Andrew, just take a guess… and Ed might tell you that it’s “perfectly hardy!” (Dirr lists it as hardy to zone 7 and also says it’s “not a plant for everyday use but intriguing.” Ha! -kris

  4. I figured! If Ed says it’s hardy, I HAVE to try it… Another one that’s native to where I grew up. You should see them in the wild. So distinctive and graceful. You better overwinter those puppies!

    Oh don’t worry – we will! -kris (good luck!)

  5. I have enjoyed that pot each time I have visited you this year. Maybe I even have a picture of it early on. I will check. Good for you.

    oo! Let me know if you come across that picture. Thanks! -kris

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