Spring Flying By

It seems ridiculous to be talking about spring container plantings when our current 80 degree temperature is expected to soar into the 90’s over the new few days. But better an ephemeral spring than none at all.  April was a very tough month. Scary freezing temperatures and snow hovered over the entire month.  Planting this year’s the spring pots required coats, hats and gloves, but we got them all done by April 20. These Branch Studio boxes pictured above were planted with lavender, rosemary, lavender mix pansies and alyssum, and have grown considerably since our early April plant date. The spring is all about a celebration of the first to emerge, and endure. Simple and satisfying, filling planter boxes early on with chilly soil, and plants that shrug off the cold.

Rob planted lots of pots and baskets for spring.  Most of them are gone now. Who could resist a basket full of lettuce? Cold tolerant vegetables make great container plants. There is something so fresh and juicy about spring green.

I have a number of clients for whom I plant spring pots, and to the last, they all like something different.  This client has a decidedly contemporary point of view. We planted accordingly. Tall and short pussy willow in several distinct layers speak to an architectural arrangement. Taupe dyed eucalyptus all around provides some weight in the midsection. The light and dark pansy mix-sparkly. The contemporary Belgian pot is a beautiful shape, and has a subtly textured surface. The planting features the pot. The selection and arrangement of plants in a container adds the evidence of a point of view. That point of view provides another layer of engagement to the viewer. The color of the pussy willow and eucalyptus echoes the color of the container in a succinct way, and it helps to greatly animate the color of the pansies and violas.

That giant cast iron cauldron at the end of the Detroit Garden Works driveway gets dressed up every season.  We mean it to say hello, and welcome. The previously pictured container would be too tailored and austere for this spot. I like containers in which every element is intended, and has a reason to be. The end of May, these pansies are blooming profusely. A spring container can be enjoyed from the moment it is planted until summer arrives July first.

These citrus mix pansies planted weeks ago have grown in, and are still growing. The centerpieces are fake and fanciful, to my client’s delight. The pot in the background has a sweet pea captured inside a tightly configured ring of pussy willow. Sweet peas are notoriously sloppy growers. The pussy willow will support this lax growing vine. The placement of the sweet pea next to the bench insures that fragrance is part of the enjoyment of the container.

This early spring pansy planting underneath a multi trunked birch is the first breath of spring in this landscape. Comprised primarily of trees, shrubs and ground cover, this under planting of pansies and alyssum previews what is to come in this park like setting. Spring can never come soon enough in our zone. The hellebores in my yard were buried in snow until late April. It seemed like the flowers bloomed and matured in the same breath. Many of the spring flowering trees were very slow to come on this spring, but for the redbuds.  I suspect that as they bloom before they leaf out, the flowers came at their usual time, and lasted for weeks. The crabapples leaf out, and then bloom; they were fleeting in flower. My dogwoods had 6 days of glorious bloom, and then faded fast in the heat of the past few days. I may have missed the lilacs. Who knows what 90 degree weather will do to the spring container plants, but they have been glorious so far.

pale yellow and red violet in a spring garden

Columnar rosemarys inside a quartet of steel obelisks. The cool wave pansy mix “Peaches and cream” has a gracefully trailing habit.

Daffodil mix pansies and romaine lettuce at the end of May

Cut pussy willow branches, cream eucalyptus, and bicolor pansies

4 spring pots with concord eucalyptus and lavender mix pansies.

pussy willow, pansies, and ivy in a shady location

pussy willow, rosemary and pansies framed by a hedge of Ruby Queen oakleaf hydrangeas – this is a very good spring look. I am sorry to report that our spring is rapidly fading. I am happy to have some pictures.

Comments

  1. nella l davis-ray says:

    In early May I planted several pots with a ruffle of white pansies that already seem to be sputtering. Should I trim them back hard and plant another filler that can take the heat right behind them and wait ’til for them to come back strong in the fall or should I just yank them out and re-edge pots with something that can take the heat?

    • Deborah Silver says:

      Dear Nella, I would put them in the ground, and cut them back. Plants your containers with something heat tolerant. With a little care and help from nature, the pansies will be ready to take on the fall. best, Deborah

  2. Jennifer M Olson says:

    Deborah–What is the upright evergreen hedge behind the last photo in this post?

  3. Catherine says:

    This has been a very unusual spring. Or lack of it. Cold April right into 90-100 degrees in May here in Nebraska. Custom Containers reinvented. Thanks for your inspiration!

  4. I can’t believe I never heard the expression, “thriller, filler, spiller” re container plantings. Been gardening 50 years and it’s a first for me. Thanks, Debra, your containers are superb, as always!

  5. just gorgeous! Thanks for all the inspiration!

  6. Judyann says:

    Love the use of Pussy Willows.

  7. Nancy Edwards says:

    I think you should move to Port St. Joe, FL. You’d like it here

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