May 13, 2011

Containing the chaos

When I get in a garden center, my sensibilities tend to take flight and leave me wandering around dazed and confused.  I love plants, and all those rows of beautiful blooming bedding plants are as tempting to me as a candy store is to a kid.

I buy plants on a whim - some of these, a few of those.  I have no plan, no list, no vision for how I'm going to use them.  So when I get home, my purchases typically look like this:

But several years of frenetic plant shopping have taught me a few things, like:

1. Buy plants in pairs.   I can at least create symmetrical containers.  (Or in threesomes or foursomes if I'm doing baskets or a trio of planters.)
2.  Consider shapes.  Like people, plants come in all shapes and sizes.  A good mix of tall spiky and trailing stuff will offset all the bushy plants.
3.  Double-check sun/shade requirements.  Neither parched, scorched plants nor lanky, anemic-looking plants are attractive for the long haul of summer.  Fortunately I have lots of both sun and shade.

I tend to gravitate toward purples and oranges (often at the same time), with lots of chartreuse foliage thrown in for good measure, but I know eventually these colors can and will be separated into groupings that won't assault a visitor's senses when they approach our doors.

After a little arranging and rearranging, the chaos starts to shape up into this:

Caladiums, orange Diascia and burgundy spikes

More caladiums, purple shamrocks, lilac ivy geraniums

Plectranthus, Streptocarpellas, fiber optic grass & another Plectranthus

And here they are, all lined up and waiting to be slipped into their containers.

The plants in front are for a trio of deck containers...
And...a few days later, here they are in their new homes:

Trio on the back deck
Two more on the back deck, catching some morning sun

Two new containers flanking the dining room doors

Closeup of one of the two pots next to the front door
Over the next few weeks, with plenty of water and warm temps, they should plump up and fill out their containers.  Chaos is under control once again.

Happy planting,