Mid-Summer Tips - The Better-Late-Than-Never Garden
There are two types of gardeners: those who call plants by their Latin names and pore over seed catalogs, and those who think a garden is best enjoyed from beneath a shady tree with a book and a glass of lemonade. If you're the latter, take heart: a beautiful garden doesn't have to mean manicure-spoiling weekends spent digging, mulching and staking. In fact, even if you haven't planted a single flower this summer, it's not too late to create a colorful backyard oasis. A group of decorative containers with lush plants can give you a high-impact, low-effort garden in a single afternoon. Cluster pots of different sizes and heights to instantly dress up a bare corner of the yard or create drama with large-scale planters strategically placed around a patio or poolside.
There are as many styles of pots, urns and planters as there are plants to put in them. Visit your local garden or home-improvement center to find containers that match your backyard decor-from traditional iron urns and classic terra-cotta to Moroccan-inspired glazed pots, light-weight fiberglass and sleek, modern zinc planters. Many shrubs and flowers thrive in containers, and if you choose carefully your planters can offer color and interest all year.
Designing a Beautiful Container
Work from the center of the pot out, surrounding the tallest or largest plant with shorter, fuller and trailing ones. Evergreen shrubs or small trees can anchor the container and provide structure and year-round interest, while cascading vines and flowering annuals add color and fullness. The following plants all thrive in containers, but check with your garden center for what works best in your growing area. Just remember that containers dry out more quickly than garden beds, so you'll need to water daily and fertilize regularly to get the best show.
- Trees: hibiscus, bougainvillea, Japanese Maple, dwarf pine or spruce
- Shrubs: boxwood, yew, juniper
- Perennials: coral bells, geranium, feather reed grass, creeping thyme
- Bold and colorful annuals: million bells, begonia, dahlia, nicotiana
- Trailing: creeping Jenny, sweet potato vine, ivy, cotoneaster