Behind the Private Gates, Design, In the Garden, The Parterre Bench

Planted Containers: Horticultural Delights for an August Garden

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It’s about this time of the summer that planters are “strutting their stuff,” full and bounteous with mature horticultural offerings.




From breathtaking and dramatic (repeating the planting around the gates for a gorgeous Newport estate)…


To flopsy and charming in front of an old potting shed at a Newport converted gardener’s cottage…


And as its own centerpiece in a feminine garden setting.


Beautiful on their own, planted containers show off another asset at this time as “fillers” for empty spots that pop up in an August garden. You’ll welcome them especially now!


In the shade…



Or in full sun, containers are a prized fixture of any garden.


Don’t be shy — try something new. Here at Parterre we love pushing-the-envelope with unusual green plant material that focuses on shape, texture and shades.


We couldn’t resist this collection of mini hostas.


Or shades of silver, crimson and “ghostly green” that make clustering individual begonia cultivars their own statement; a trick we like to use atop the Parterre Bench to add a spot of color in an otherwise all-green winter garden.


Containers need not be over-packed. Just three botanical selections, chosen very carefully, bring simple grace to a pair at a front door. The Sambucus (or Elderberry) with its graceful, simple curves steals the show.


You’re not alone if you’ve toyed with the idea of maybe, just maybe, letting your container collection double as a “planted garden.” One of the most handsome and memorable gardens I have ever seen belongs to dear friends in Montecito, California. You don’t realize at first glance that the lush well-chosen plant material is all potted. For those with small gardens, this is definitely a to-be-considered option. Isn’t this inspiring?

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To close…a bit of humor highlighted the Newport Flower Show this summer, giving new meaning to “potted”…a living mime performed in her own container.


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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".

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