Annuals are like the lipstick of plants, lots of color that lasts all season long. They are the final application that ties your landscape together and carries the garden through the season. With the last frost date within sight, let’s put together pots that pop!
Planning and playing with pots for all four seasons is a must. Bulbs, pansies, and spring veggies give us the first flowers of the season. Summer’s annuals are limitless and can be combined with perennials, herbs, succulents, and tropicals. Small trees or shrubs are a great unexpected addition. Fall brings on a change we can see, feel, and smell. Embrace it by pulling fading annuals and replacing them with gourds, grasses and late flowering perennials or fall vegetables. Then of course winter comes, which if we plan for it can be quite beautiful. Evergreens, shrubs with berries, colored stems, or a simple deciduous tree with architectural branching can be breathtaking with an icing of snow.
When considering your four-season pot plantings, think of your outdoor space as an extension of your indoor space, and give them the same consideration you would your interior furnishings and accessories.
Your outdoor room can look like a magazine spread when you know how it’s done. First, put the right pot in the right place. Think about these four principles:
— Does the color coordinate with the exterior of your home? The surface it’s to be placed on? The color and style of your outdoor furniture and cushions?
— Is there contrast in the textures? They don’t all have to match, but they should relate to one another, as well as the surface you place them on and the outdoor room they’re in.
— Do the styles of the pots work with your furnishings and the architecture of your home? A modern home needs pots with clean lines. Conversely, an American farmhouse begs for something other than Asian-themed pots.
— How large or small are your pots in relation to the space, the furniture, and other pots? Step back and look – are they making an impact or do you not notice them? Are they so big you can’t move around them?
Once you have the right pots in the right place, it’s time to plant. Use these same principles when choosing plant material.
— Are you using colors already in your garden and outdoor spaces? You don’t necessarily have to match colors or limit yourself to a particular style of variegation. Instead,coordinate your plant choices to create a natural extension of your interior and exterior design aesthetic.
— Do you have different textures of plant material? Some are fine (euphorbia diamond frost) and some are more coarse (potato vine marguerite). Make sure each pot has a contrasting variety of plants.
— When it comes to scale, you should have tall plants (one and a half times as tall as the pot), filler plants, and trailers. Choose the color and texture of your trailers carefully so they contrast with your pot rather than blend in.
Remember, your pots only last a season, so don’t be afraid to try something new. Planning and planting pots is a chance to experiment, a challange to make this season better than the last. Splurge on that new plant, what have you got to lose?