Saturday, June 14, 2008

Tickled Pink

The pink and yellow foliage of the Magilla Perilla Purple is what jumped out at me at the nursery and thus began my afternoon's obsession with filling yet another container. I had not originally intended to go all pink, it just happened that way and I'm really hoping this combination works out. This arrangement will be planted in a wide, squat terra cotta pot that's about sixteen inches in diameter. In it I am planting the following: Creeping Jenny (2); New Guinea Impatiens Sonic Bright Pink (1); Verbena Quartz Rose (2); Veronica Red Fox (2); and Perilla Magilla Purple (1). The Creeping Jenny and the Veronica are both perennial so I will have to make a plan for those over the winter. Because the pot is terra cotta, I will not be able to leave it out all winter without risk of cracking. So what I might do is remove those two plants and transplant them into any one of my non-clay pots that might have some room at the end of the season and have them remain there as a holding place throughout the winter.

What I think makes this an attractive arrangement, aside from the uniform color theme, is the variation on plant heights and bloom shapes. There is vertical interest (Veronica and Perilla), there will be something tumbling over the edge of the pot (Creeping Jenny), and in the spaces in between, I'll have the Impatiens and the Verbena. For the most part, it conforms to the "recipe" I learned about from reading an article in Fine Gardening magazine a while back. The recipe brilliantly but succinctly captures what many successful container gardeners have put into practice for quite some time and that is the concept of "Thriller, Filler and Spiller". Think about it: you want one plant that has vertical interest and is the focal point providing drama to the entire arrangement. Then you want to plant some spilling and trailing plants to soften the edges of the container. Finally, you'll need to fill in the remaining spaces with plants that will serve as sort of the supporting cast of the mixed planting, giving it depth and dimension.

This little tip was well worth the price of a full year's subscription as far as I'm concerned because I think about it and put it to use every time I plant a new container.

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