We were on Spring break last week, and one of the big things on my to-do list was replanting the urns on our front porch. I love lush, colorful container gardens flanking a front door, and ours have been in serious need of a Spring makeover. It’s still a little early here for container gardens, but the warm weather all through March gives me hope that our new, beautiful plants will live a long and happy life.
For my last Style Spotters post, I rounded up a dozen gorgeous pictures of urns, planters, and window boxes filled with cascading blooms and vibrant color, so when I headed off to the local nursery last week, I knew what I was looking for. I’m not always good at improvising, but I’m great at following a recipe. As luck would have it, there’s a tried and true recipe for creating knock-your-socks-off planters and containers for your front porch, and it can be summed up in three little words: thrill, fill, and spill.
First, we start with the “thrill.” That’s the tall plant in the middle of the planter. If you look at those inspiration photos from my last post, you’ll notice the thrill in most of them. Sometimes it’s a little tree, sometimes a tall flowering plant, sometimes a shrub. They key is that it is tall and gives the planter a focal point. I spotted some cute Lemon Cypress at the nursery that would be perfect for the thrill in a planter. They didn’t happen to work with my color scheme, but it was hard to walk away from them! For my urns, I chose a perennial Feather Reed Grass. I’m now wondering if that was a good idea long-term because grasses don’t look great all year. They turn yellow and have to be cut back in the winter, so maybe an evergreen would have been a better idea. Time will tell! I certainly think they look great for now.
We’re going to skip the middle section (the “fill”) for a second and talk about the “spill.” The spill is my favorite part of any good planter: the vines and cascading bits that tumble down the sides and look romantic, lush, and dreamy. They go on the outermost edge of the planter and spill over the sides and down toward the ground. Creeping Jenny and Sweet Potato Vine are two show-stopping spills…which I didn’t end up getting. Creeping Jenny needs some shade (our porch faces South, so that’s a no-go), and it’s too early in the season for Sweet Potato Vines. But I found some really lovely twiners that I’m excited about. Thunbergia is a beautiful vine with long tendrils. I’ve used it before in planters in our old backyard and loved its look. I picked out some deep orange ones and can’t wait to see them blossom! I also used magenta Bacopa, which is a little bushier than Thunbergia. I really like to use lots of different textures to make the containers interesting. Variety is the spice of life, folks!
Now we can go back to the “fill.” The fill is basically all of the stuff between the thrill and the spill. This is the spot for your usual annuals–the things you plant for seasonal color in your garden borders. Geraniums, violets, pansies, etc. Nothing too tall, and nothing viney. I went with Coleus for color and Alyssum for fragrance. The Coleus I chose has beautiful texture, and chartreuse leaves with deep purple veining. It’s really amazing and gives the planters some variety. The Alyssum is also deep purple and should fill in all of the nooks and crannies of the urns quite nicely.
So now you know the secret to beautiful container gardens: thrill, fill, and spill. Go forth and garden! I’m so excited to have these newly-beautified containers flanking my door, and can’t wait to see how they fill in throughout the Spring and Summer!