Archive for papyrus

Row Your Way to Color with Annuals

Posted in annuals, container gardening with tags , , , , , , , , on July 14, 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  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.


When considering containers for colorful annuals, you have an ocean of choices. Sure elegantly glazed ceramic bowls or terra cotta pots straight from Crete are wonderful, but the palette available is much, much wider as the photo shows. Any vessel that will hold soil and provide adequate drainage is fair game. Although I am not fond of used bathroom fixtures, I have been known to grab other people’s trash off the side of the road. Two of my favorites for use at my family’s house in Maine are discarded granite ware clam steamers and old wooden lobster traps.


I found this very creative planting in a dinghy at Handy Boat Marina in Falmouth Foreside, Maine. Everything about it shows careful thought by a skilled designer: the plant selection, the container, the plant arrangement, and the setting. The window color is carefully incorporated, and the wall color, oars, and gravel all add to the charm.



One design trick that really makes this planting work is cramming a lot of annuals into the available space. The season for annuals in the northeast is short, especially in Maine. You don’t want to waste time looking at a half-filled container while the planting “fills in”. Spending the extra money on additional annuals to make the container ornamental from the start is worth it. Or better yet, grow your own from seed.


The designer has also used the classic “spillers, fillers, and thrillers” method of filling containers. Spilling out the front are purple, chartreuse, and tricolor sweet potato vines and silvery licorice plant. Filling out the body of the boat are orange million bells, purple and white petunias, annual begonias, angelonia, and white daisies. In the back are purple fountain grass and papyrus.

You can get great ideas by keeping your eyes open for creative containers whenever you are out cruising around. You may not have a spare dinghy available, but I am sure there is something suitable in your attic.

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This post is another experiment with my recently acquired “new” iPad, this time attempting to post on my blog directly from the iPad. I discovered that you can’t upload photos to a post using the WordPress site like you would when using a computer. The only way to do it is to download the WordPress app and use it to post from the iPad. However, so far, I have found that this app is not very user friendly. Since there are supposedly six new blogs being started every five minutes, I suggest that WordPress and Apple get on the ball to make blogging easier from an iPad. In the meantime, I won’t know what this post will look like until I hit the publish button.


Nursery Happenings: The nursery is closed until the fall. Thanks for a great spring season!

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