Archive for containers for shade

More Annuals for 2014

Posted in annuals, annuals, container gardening, container gardening, containers for shade, How to, landscape design, shade annuals with tags , , , , , , , , on July 14, 2014 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and phone number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

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Since I revisited the boat planting last post (click here to see those photos), I thought I would also pay a repeat visit to the window boxes I raved about last year.  To read my 2013 window box post, click here.  They are located at a little market on Main Street in Yarmouth, Maine.  I am happy to say that they did not disappoint, but you can judge for yourself:

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Although the plant material and the color combinations are not as wonderfully creative as 2013, I would still be happy to have these window boxes at my house.  I hope they have given you some good ideas for your containers. 

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is closed for the summer and will reopen in early September.  You can sign up to receive notification emails by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net. Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

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Row Your Way To Color Revisited Again

Posted in annuals, annuals, container gardening, container gardening, containers for shade, How to, landscape design, organic gardening, product review, shade annuals, sustainable living with tags , , , , , , , on July 9, 2014 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and phone number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

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DSCN4634The dinghy planting this year is a disappointment.

Those of you who follow my blog may remember the posts that I wrote in 2013 and 2012 on the creative use of annuals in a dinghy (small rowboat) at a Maine marina.  You can find those posts here and here.  I used the dinghy planting as an example of how the imaginative and thoughtful use of annuals can produce an elegant and striking result.  Unfortunately, the planting this year is not up to the former standards.  Normally I wouldn’t feature it, but I thought it might be illuminating to think about what went wrong.

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Handy Boat dinghyThe dinghy planting in 2012 was gorgeous.

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Handy Boat dinghy 32013 was not quite as sophisticated but made up for this with its exuberance.

When comparing the three plantings the first thing you notice is that the colors for 2014 are too subtle.  I love chartreuse and purple, but in a container planting you need some plants that cause passers by to stop and look.  But the bigger problem is that there are not enough plants.  As I pointed out before, containers generally last for one season only and need to be filled to bursting from the beginning.  There is no time to let them fill in as you would with perennial plantings in the ground.

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Handy Boat dinghy 22013 packed with plants

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Handy Boat Dinghy 12012

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DSCN4630This year’s planting shows a lot of bare soil.  The photos for all three years were taken in early July.

Another mistake the designer made was to ignore the classic filler-spiller-thriller formula of planting containers.  The heucherella flowers in the back just don’t provide the necessary height that you need, especially in a container this big, and will be done flowering shortly.  The sedum, coleus, and plectranthus (I think that what it is) will not fill in the middle, and the fibre optic grass and the two sweet potato vines are not spilling over the side enough.

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DSCN4633 A close up of 2014.

Despite my negative comments, as you can see from the photo above, the habit and colors of the plants go well together.  They would look great crammed into a smaller container situated for close up viewing.  I also always encourage the use of perennials in containers, like the sedum and heucherella here.  In late fall, you can transfer them into the ground and enjoy them in your perennial garden for years to come. 

Looking closely at this dinghy planting in good years and bad has given me a lot of ideas about my own containers.  In fact, I had never seen fibre optic grass and purchased some for my window boxes.  I hope you too will find inspiration for your own containers.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is closed for the summer and will reopen in early September.  You can sign up to receive notification emails by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net. Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

Colorful Annuals for Shade Part Two

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on August 31, 2012 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and phone number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

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This colorful window box faces east and receives a lot of morning light.

Last August I wrote a post about the annual containers at my family’s home in Maine (click on the link to read it). It turned out to be one of my most popular posts so I thought I would show you the 2012 containers. As I have mentioned before, this is the only gardening that I do around the house because I want to keep the beautiful native plant habitat in tact. I recently removed the existing perennial garden and replaced it with native hydrangeas (click here to read about that project).

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The containers consist of a set of window boxes and a large terra cotta pot by the front door. As you can see in the first of the two photos above, the window boxes are over the new hydrangea bed on the front or street side of the house. The location faces east and receives morning sun—it is not full shade. The second photo shows that the window boxes are directly below what is my kitchen window, which means that the plants have to be lower, no more than 12 to 18 inches. In container parlance that means fillers and spillers but no tall thrillers. The plants are viewed even more from inside so they have to look good from both sides.

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I like the crammed look for containers so mine always have lots of plants in them. Spilling out the sides of the two boxes are ‘Callie Orange’ million bells while white annual lobelia and ‘Midnight Lace’ sweet potato vine cascade out the middle. The fillers, which I also find thrilling, are the lime green coleus ‘Wasabi’ and the purple coleus ‘Spitfire’, two shorter varieties. Filling in between the coleus and the spillers are a medium purple petunia and a very dark purple verbena. Although the verbena is not visible in the photo because it was taking a break, it so beautiful that it is worth putting up with its intermittent bloom.

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The above two photos are of the large container by the front door also facing east and getting morning sun, although a little less because of the rhododendron. I usually use a color scheme in this container to compliment the eggplant-colored front door, and my go to plant for height is often purple fountain grass (see last year). This year I decided to use variegated shell ginger, Alpinia zerumbet ‘Variegata’, which I got as a member dividend from the Scott Arboretum. It has two foot long, feather like, yellow-streaked leaves and reaches six to eight feet. Unfortunately, though very healthy, it refused to grow higher than a foot and is plugging along happily behind the coleus. So no tall thriller here either!

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20120831-114216.jpgA close up of my new favorite coleus, the lovely and cleverly named ‘Fishnet Stockings’.

20120831-114722.jpgThis beautiful coleus called ‘Sedona’ does have the gorgeous orange red color of the Sedona area, but the iPad camera refused to capture it no matter what time of day, light conditions, or angle I chose.

I try to have the window boxes and the large pot echo each other so I use some of the same or similar plants. This larger container has a frilly underskirt of ‘Callie Orange’ million bells with a froth of ‘Midnight Lace’ sweet potato vine above it. I could choose taller coleus for this container so I used the intriguing ‘Fishnet Stockings’ and the colorful ‘Sedona’.

Perhaps I have given you some ideas for your own container plantings in 2013. I am sure some of these plants would work in shadier sites, but I am hesitant to recommend a plant for a condition in which I have not tried it.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: The nursery is closed until the fall and should be opening soon. If you are on my customer list, look for an email. Thanks for a great spring season!

If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net. Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

Colorful Annuals for Shade

Posted in containers for shade, shade annuals with tags , on August 24, 2011 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and phone number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

Colorful container for part shade

Every year I  design the window boxes and main container at my family’s camp  in Maine.  Someday I want to write an article on all the combinations I have used, but right  now this summer’s offering is all I can handle.  I really enjoy the process of putting together the plantings because, at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, I don’t get the chance to work with annuals (although I also use perennials in the containers).  The process of designing containers is like creating a temporary work of art.  Cramming all the colors, textures, habits, and heights into one pot to be viewed just for the season is fun.

The container and the window boxes are by the front door, which faces the path coming down from the road.  It is a part shade site, but it gets a lot of morning sun, making almost any plant suitable.  I have used plants that take full to part sun and also plants that require part to full shade, and all have thrived.   Over the years, my plant choices have become taller and more dramatic, with 2011 being my most colorful design yet.  The house is stained driftwood gray, and the only color limitation is the front door, which is eggplant colored.

Just in case you want to use some of these plants in your own containers, here are the details.  In the pot above, height, interesting texture, and color is provided by the annual red fountain grass, Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’.  I  use this grass a lot in containers because it is very reliable and only gets better as the season progresses.  The middle of the containers is filled with purple ‘Dark Star’ and orangey pink ‘Sedona’ coleus, both reliable workhorses. The star of the mid level is a new plant to me, perennial golden aralia, A. cordata ‘Sun King’.  It grows in part to full shade and matures at 3′ by 3′.  Lower down is the tuberous begonia ‘Nonstop Apricot’ and spilling out the front are purple-leafed sweet potato vine ‘Midnight Lace’ and orange million bells ‘Aloha Orange’.

The window boxes are a few feet away from the front door so I use many of the same plants and colors.  However, my choices are limited to lower growing plants because I  don’t want to block the kitchen windows.  I  also like to choose plants, like the coleus, that look beautiful from the back when viewed from inside the house.  In addition to the purple sweet potato vine, million bells, coleus, and begonia found in the pot, I  have added the chartreuse sweet potato vine ‘Emerald Lace’.

We enjoy this planting from inside and out.

Carolyn

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information.  If you want to return to my website’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.), just click here.

Nursery Happenings: The nursery is closed until it cools off in the fall around the middle of September.  If you are on my customer email list, look for an email.  If not, sign up by sending an email to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net with your name and phone number.

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