More Planting

the-play-house.jpgYes, we are in our second week of planting containers and annuals for summer.  Lucky for me that lots of containers to be planted is my idea of a very good time.  The fact that this client prefers a primarily green planting means there is opportunity to explore the more subtle design elements such as texture and mass and shape.  The playhouse planting is a fair distance from the main terrace.  The large white leaves of the June Bride caladiums reads well from a distance, by virtue of both the leaf size and color.  White New Guinea impatiens and lime nicotiana provides those caladiums with some flowering company. The curving bed line is a handsome contrast to the boxy geometry of the playhouse.

continer palntings.jpgThe main terrace is large.  There are a number of containers here, in close proximity to each other.  Most of the plantings on this container feature green plants, but there is a little punctuation provided by mass of white petunias,  and cathedral blue salvia.  New this year, a variegated boxwood sphere planted all around with maidenhair fern.

lavender-and-white.jpgA pair of stone wing walls terminate in a pair of large planters.  This year, cathedral blue salvia and euphorbia diamond frost hold the middle slot.  Hypnotica white dahlias and variegated licorice on both sides add visual weight and volume.  Airy growing plants look all the more delicate, paired with solid and compact plants.

annual-planting-schemes.jpgI don’t usually post pictures of container plantings when I first plant.  It is just about impossible to see what a few months of growth will add.  A small bay tree on standard will have that gawky trunk obscured by the apple mint planted on either side of it.  The idea here?  Plan for the eventual size, not the planting size.  Annuals in 4″ pots tend to be fairly uniform in size when they are ready to plant.  But the natural habit of growth and size will eventually prevail.  It is so important to imagine the overall shape that will be created by a group of plants once they grow in.  Miniature plants are great for small pots.  Big growing plants need to room to grow up and out.

annual-container-plantings.jpgThe triple ball eugenia is one of a pair of topiary plants we have over wintered in a greenhouse for a number of years.  At the base, we planted 4″ Madame Queen begonias.  I like the notion of using a plant that is usually the center of attention as a groundcover.  The Madame Queen is aptly named.  It will not suffer any amount of overwatering.  It requires expert and thoughtful care.  In August, they will wreath this pot with a crown of big ruffled leaves and angular white flower spikes.  The dignified eugenia will have ruffles.

summer-planting.jpgThis spot on the terrace belongs to a collection of English antiques.  A double sided bench with wrought iron deer legs is flanked by a pair of early 20th century faux bois pots on pedestals, and a pair of stone pots with lion feet.  A simple planting does the best justice to this collection.  The boxwood topiaries are underplanted with scotch moss.  The faux bois urns are planted with dwarf white caladiums.

agapanthus.jpgFour painted Belgian boxes have agapanthus planted in the center.  I am not worried that they will go out of bloom in another few weeks.  The strappy low foliage will be attractive all summer long.  The blue veined mini white petunias look a little bedraggled after we soaked the planted box.  We water a new planting until we are blue in the face.  This helps to settle the soil around the plants.  Even and ample moisture is critical for establishing the transplants.

white-mandevillea.jpgThe white mandevillea got stakes late in the day.  Providing a physical support for a vine means that vine will have a shape when it grows out.  A mandevillea grown with no structure makes its own interesting and wild statement.  Choose your look.

container-plantings.jpgThis old topiary Pandorea is coming out of storage at a perfect time-it is beginning to bloom.  The pot on the right-a Chicago fig encircled with dwarf King Tut. The contrast of the big fig leaves with the spidery Tut makes for an interesting visual conversation.  On the left  an elegant feather grass will have a tutu of scaevola and company.  Lots of height will contrast with lots of width.

This pair of white variegated dianella were overwintered as well, and are under planted with white polka dot plant.  The square stone trays have a centerpiece of helicrysum Icicles, and a border of hens and chicks and thyme.  This spot does not get sun all day long, but the plants chosen are tolerant of less than perfect conditions.

shade-annual-planting.jpgThe lead pots on the from porch are planted with Kimberly ferns.  The edge of the pot is planted all around with white polka dot plants.  That green and white will give the container a very finished look.

Venus-dogwoods67 containers, and three in ground plantings makes for an entire day’s work for 10 people.  One of my favorite parts is planting cirrus dusty miller around a circle of boxwood 35 feet in diameter. Several years ago we planted 8 Venus dogwoods inside that circle.  It is a treat to be there at just the right time, to see them blooming.



  1. Beautiful in every way, thank you for sharing, jeanne

  2. I hope you take us back to see the “after” photos of your work for comparison. thank-you for taking the time to share, explain and teach.

  3. It’s a beautiful composition, very subtle, in great taste! Definitely an inspiration. I am just amazed at the number of containers in this garden (67?) and, moreover, it seems that all containers are quite different in shape/size/materials/style. If it was my garden, I’d like to keep it a bit more consistent in terms of all the container shapes. But your company did a great job harmonizing it all! Loved reading it, loved the pictures1

    • Deborah Silver says

      My pictures could be deceptive-you don’t really get an overview. There are 3 very different areas that have pots. Most of them are English is style, new vintage and antique. Thanks for your letter.

  4. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Truly an inspiration and thank you for the little tidbits thrown in your blog. Perfect timing! I live in a Condo and I have containers (all shapes and sizes but appealing) all over my porch, landscape, and deck. Neighbors constantly are in wonderment, “what is Fernando going to do this year?” Just today, neighbor walked by and asked, “You bought more?” My response, “Shhhhhh, wife doesn’t know….” 😀 Today, I am doing mega-container planting (not 67, but I wish), had to come in for a little white wine, cracker w/deli turkey (I know, weird), then back out with zeal, after reading this blog, to finish my mega planting. Please send over your 10 persons (Smile). Thank you! fg

    • Deborah Silver says

      Fernando, your enthusiasm, drive, and skill makes for a very powerful and formidable combination! I admire all of this in you. I am sure your containers will be beautiful. Thanks for writing, Deborah

  5. You certainly got a lot of variety out of a limited color palette. Beautiful!

  6. Love the planter w/ agapanthus! Have a client that adores purple & orange. Used lots of lavender, torrena,puple salvia, w/beautiful Mandarine colored canna for that “pop”. She just informed me of 10 more pot in storage. I’ll be pulling those out this week for more color. Lucky for her, orange is my color this yr., so I think the agapanthus with a few “Bonfire” begonias thrown in w/ a few other annuals for texture. I find that I shy away from using perennials in containers, but w/ the right foliage, they’re perfect. Thanks for the idea!!!

  7. you are such an inspiration! i was considering using white caladiums in front of the yew that flank my front door. i opened your blog, saw that first picture and literally walked out the door, drove to the garden center and bought white caladiums and begonias. it looks great, i am happy!

    thank you deborah!

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