Behind the Private Gates, Design, In the Garden

5 Scrumptious Containers that Prove You Can Still Garden into November

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Receiving a text the other day from a creative savant and major plantsman, Kent Russell, (aka the Garden Guru), I hurried over to the Merrillton estate to see his newly planted large containers. Newly planted? Mon Dieu, it’s nearly November! Understanding that many of us might already have put away our garden planters, I’m writing to offer good news. Indeed, your outdoor containers can have life after October. The mandate from Kent’s clients here was for color, texture, foliage and interest lasting from fall into the winter months. Then, most of the plant material will be re-purposed in the spring and planted throughout the 6 acres to “live on for years to come.”

With each container, I’ve included the material — some old favorites that are reliable anytime (ivy) and some that are truly seasonal (cimicifuga). Take notes and make a statement! Just one of these will bring a smile to your face.

The drama of this first grouping starts with  Salvia leucantha ‘All Purple’ (Mexican Bush Sage), fanning upward and out as a backdrop for Kale ‘Redbor,’ Acorus ‘Oborozuki’ (Japanese Sweet Flag), Heucherella ‘Blue Ridge,” variegated Ajuga ‘Pink Lightning’, and finishing with a spill of chartreuse Creeping Jenny.

Arborvitae ‘Emerald Green’ is the centerpiece here accented with tall spikes of Cimicifuga ‘Pink Spike’ and surrounded by purple Kale ‘ Peacock,’ Heuchera ‘Obsidian,’ Ajuga ‘Pink Lightning,’ and Festuca ‘Elijah Blue’… and, of course, ivy.

Golden Arborvitae ‘Sparkie’s Gold’ shows off particularly well in front of a brick wall, accompanied by shiny-leafed Coprosma grandiflora ‘Green Gold’ on either side. The other fillers are Heuchera ‘Black Pearl,’ silver Dusty Miller, Heuchera ‘Black Pearl’, and Kale ‘Purple Peacock’ … and that great spiller, ivy. Quite a lot going on in a 16″ pot.

This container is really loaded with bounty…Leyland Cypress leads off with its height and encircling it are Coprosma grandiflora ‘Green Gold,’ Heuchera ‘Black Pearl’, Tassel Fern, Jacob’s Ladder ‘Stairway to Heaven,’ ivy and Juniper sabina arcadia. Carex morrowii is the variegated Japanese sedge grass spilling fountain-like at the front of the container.

Summer transitioning beautifully into fall…the white lantana and mandavilla are still entwining happy companions, but he white hydrangeas that graced the top for the family’s July wedding have now been replaced with purple kale and cabbage, pepper plants and a spray of fountain grass.

Speaking of containers…Happy Halloween! And be on the lookout next week for some easy and refreshing ideas on decorating pumpkins as centerpieces for your Thanksgiving table.

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Bettie Bearden Pardee

About Bettie Bearden Pardee

Author of Private Newport and Living Newport, garden furniture designer (The Parterre Bench), national lecturer, and entertaining expert. An honoree for the second year on "The Salonniere 100 America's Best Party Hosts", she was also the host and creative producer of "The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House".

One thought on “5 Scrumptious Containers that Prove You Can Still Garden into November

  1. Kent Russell is a genius…I love how he pays so much attention to color combinations as well as leaf textures. Using a mandevilla as a hanging plant rather than a climber in one of these planters is outstanding! Imagine some of the annuals mixed in with the perennials are still going strong and it’s nearly November… Evelyn Pizzi

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