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.