A garden that displays all year-round interest praises a well thought out planting plan. Although the majority of the interest will be in the flower beds, creating planters to position elsewhere in your garden can give each season an extra boost.
Target the senses
Targeting the senses is a good starting point. Think colour, texture, smell and even sound. Grasses swaying in the wind create some of the most soothing sounds. Colour can be completely contrasting such as oranges and blues which creates a striking, eye-catching display. Or, for something less daring but still very stylish, try using plants that flower in varying tones of just one colour. Plants such as purple leaved Heuchera, lilac Tulips and Grape Hyacinth all work well together for tonal planters.
Planting up a patio planter
You cannot go wrong with a patio planter. Selecting plain terracotta pots of varying sizes, creates depth with a traditional feel. There are many options here for what you can plant in them. Some of the best spring plants for spring pots are flowering bulbs.
If you missed the time to plant your own spring bulbs back in the autumn/winter, you can still do so with pre-grown varieties from garden centre or even large supermarkets. Dwarfing daffodils and dark purple violas create a stunning contrast in colour. Try combining them with small evergreens, such as Skimmia, to add structure and texture. The evergreens and perennials can then be planted into the garden borders when the season is over.
Because the display will be so short in comparison to garden plants, rich soil is not required. These types of planters will be changed from one season to another and so will the soil with it. It never hurts to put a little bit of horticultural grit in the bottom of the planter to help with drainage. Place broken crockery over the drainage holes to prevent the gravel falling straight through and fill the compost over the top.
Breaking the rules
Planting in containers goes against very rule you’ve ever read on plant spacing. Because you are not waiting for a display to develop and making sure to leave room for them to grow, it needs to be instant impact. This is the only time where cramming plants together is beneficial. If you have a large container, use a centrepiece plant and smaller plants around it in groups of three. Having three of the same plant creates intensity without overpowering the eye with too many different kinds of textures.
Spring containers do not need as much water as summer ones do. Water the plants well when you have finished planting and then only water when the soil is very dry. It can still be frosty right up to May, and too much water in the soil will freeze, preventing the plants from taking up the vital water.
Use plant pot feet to assist in drainage and prevent water-logging. This also helps prevents those rings that get created from standing planters on patios.