March 18, 2009

A Perennial Planter

When I think of container plantings, I envision using seasonal annuals to provide long-blooming color. There are quite a few resources now for "recipes" for container planting success. These container plans include great color combinations, and tell us which, and how many, plants to buy.

I first heard the "thriller, filler, spiller" recipe for success in a special edition magazine from Fine Gardening® magazine. The nursery grower, Proven Winners®, also includes quite a bit of information on their website for creating beautiful container plantings from their plants.

In April 2007, I decided to use a few perennials that like part shade and moist soil to use in a planter on my patio. I've had the copper planter for several years, having brought it along from my previous home.

I used a purple heuchera and a Japanese Painted Fern as the basis for my color scheme and tucked creeping jenny around the edges for highlights.

I filled in with annuals of impatiens, dahlias, calla and a tall, spiky dracaena for height. Then, we had a very long drought (until March 2008) and it reached a point that using water for container plants was difficult, even with our own well.

When the spring of 2008 came, I was reluctant to create any container gardens due to the drought experience. I ignored the planter, except I moved the fern over to the left side to cover the bare spot vacated by the annuals.

To my surprise, the impatiens and dracaena came back! The accidental planting wasn't too bad.

While writing this story, I am looking out the window at the same planter. The heuchera looks fine. The jenny is turning gold. The dracaena is droopy from the weight of a few recent snowfalls. The painted fern is just barely starting to come up.

What will this perennial planter look like in 2009? To be continued...

Story and photos by Freda Cameron
Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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