Seasonal Container Garden Recipe: Use the Local Landscape as a Point of Reference

Posted by roanne robbins
October 24, 2012 | Container Gardens, New England

Image of the new england landscape via inspiration for container gardens

A quote I think about when creating a container planting.

“You just can’t plant exotics in the countryside. They just jar. But in town, where the are no points of reference, you can get away with all sorts”Jinny Blom, Garden Design Magazine, March 2011

The whole concept of point of reference is interesting to me. Connecting the container planting, a superficial garden, to the overall surroundings just makes sense to me. I love extracting cues from the bigger landscape and bringing it up close into the container where it can reflect nature and change. The essence of seasonality is something I strive for whether working with plants or cut flowers. It brings a sense of richness and honesty to the composition. – Roanne

Cast Concrete container garden inspired by the new england landscape by roanne robbins via

This fall container takes inspiration from the New England landscape and features crunchy veggies and perennials in a cast concrete vessel.plant pallette for a container garden

Plant Palette:

  • Swiss chard – An edible with large leaves and colorful ribs.  Plant this around the edges of the pot.
  • Waldsteinia – (Barren Appalachian Strawberry) – A low creeping groundcover with yellow flowers. Plant where it can spill over the edges of the container.
  • Amsonia – With blue flowers and finely textured leaves, this will add height and flowers to the composition.
  • Lysmachia – Another creeping plant that will spill over the edges, lysmachia has brightly colored chartreuse leaves.
  • Carex – Choose from a huge variety grasses, but choose for height and color in the fall.
  • Panicum – Another grass, if you choose a strictly upright carex, consider a panicum with blades that arch – or vice versa.  The difference in texture is what will make the arrangement more interesting.
  • Boltonia – Often referred to as false aster, the flowers of boltonia strongly resemble native asters.  Use it in where the grasses and other plants can hide it’s uninteresting foliage and the flowers can be highlighted against the backdrop of other plants.


Roanne Robbins is the Author of The Continuous Container Garden.  

Images: John Gruen/ Continuous Container Gardens

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