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How to: A Container Garden Planting Featuring Verdant Texture

January 27, 2014

It’s January, Are you in planning mode?  Yeah, me too.

I’m planning windbreaks and barriers, berry gardens, possibly some new trees too, and the completion of my patio and arbor.

You might remember this post about black slats from last summer (you know where I was all talk about getting the arbor over the patio done – but then it didn’t get done….well this time I mean it).  I mean it so much I am planning the containers that will sit at the base of all those gorgeous black stained posts and slats (Note: My optimism about the completion of this is overflowing now that we have decided to hire a carpenter to finish the job rather than doing it ourselves – sometimes you just have to be realistic).  

Verdant Texture Planting Plan by
As I plan out the pots and accessories, I am so tempted to add a strong thread of another color, but green and black and white are just so great together that I have decided (at least for this year) I must resist.

I’m big on clusters of pots that go but don’t match; different heights and shapes and one type of plant per pot. Keeping the plants separated from each other – each in its own little manageable world – always seems to work better for me and I can re-arrange much more easily.

What do you think of the mix?  Here is my thinking on each choice:

King Tut (Cyperus papyrus) – I bought one of these for buck on close out at the end of last season.  I wanted to see how we would get along.  We were all fine and good until King Tut got moved to the porch and then he up and turned brown next to a cold window.  But I think if I put him in a bigger pot (lined with plastic garbage bags and filled with more water) and set him outside for the summer we will be friends again (well at least his cousin and I will be friends, original King Tut is sadly deceased).

Ipomea Illusion Emerald Lace  – Face it, potato vine is just about the easiest container plant around….that is why you see it everywhere (everywhere).  I’m sort of partial to this one because it almost looks like one of those really cool little bamboos that I can never find — but you know with all the good qualities of Ipomea (like way cheaper than bamboo and more accessible!).

White Scaevola Whirlwind – I love the profusion of flowers and the rough slightly wild texture and shape – Reminds me of heaths.

Dipt in Wine Coleus – Years ago I used to plant huge corporate beds in the shadow of a large parking structure.  Of all things that I tried in those beds over the years, Coleus was the only thing that never let me down (for the life of me I never understood why people didn’t steal them like they stole other stuff).  They are rock solid and good for a break in the green.

Boxwood and moss and succulents (including my donkey tail sedum) – I’ve got all three of these elsewhere in my garden and I think they are the threads that will tie these container groupings to the rest of the garden.

I can’t decide,  is it missing something or is it good as is?  I’m pondering the addition of a Argyanthemum Molimba but as much as I love those sunny little faces, I wonder if perhaps a more sophisticated plant like White Chiffon Hibiscus or a delicate white clematis might be better.  Thoughts?


Images: courtesy of Proven winners, and

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Proven Winners.  I am not an employee of Proven Winners and all opinions are my own. See the other posts in this series. 


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  1. I think being in planning mode is always the best. You can dream about what your garden is going to look like (without having to go outside into the cold), and still start taking the steps you need to get it accomplished. A lot of gardeners don’t like January, but I think it’s because they haven’t discovered how fun planning can be.

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