Containers That Say Welcome

You don't need a large yard, or even any yard at all, to create a landscape with potted plants.

Outdoor pots can be "landscaped" just like the rest of your outdoors. And these planted containers can be worked into your larger landscape to dress up existing plantings. One way to heighten the drama of these two features is to place the containers by the front door.

Plantings such as pink mandevilla skirted in English ivy can be made to complement a border of hardy garden mums and a basket of blooming ivy geranium. Now doesn't that make a fine how-do-you-do?

The husband-and-wife team of Doris and David Leonhard designed these container gardens with an eye toward three distinct kinds of plantings:

1. "Bouquet" containers, which combine three or four plants in one pot to create contrast, color, and grace.

2. "Accent" containers, which feature a prominent, eye-catching plant not usually seen in pots, such as a shrub rose or even an evergreen tree.

3. "Moveable gardens," a collection of different-sized pots and plants that look good on their own, but also complement each other, creating added visual impact.

These gardens-within-a-garden were all placed near entryways at homes of the Leonhards' Boston-area clients. Care was taken in selecting the pots, too -- they are all rather decorative, and they are all rather large. You walk around in a garden.You don't stumble over.

Maybe the most endearing attribute of container planting is its mobility. This feature can be exploited to make you seem to be a better gardener than you actually are.

Pots can be rotated, with showy blooming containers coming to the fore while languishing, transitional plantings are exiled to a restorative site. Groupings can be shuffled around, like rearranging furniture, for altogether new looks. And if company's coming tomorrow and your containers are not just so, it's easy to zip out an underwhelming or underperforming plant and plop in a replacement flower that just happens to be in full glory.

Continued on page 2:  Container Gardening Gallery