Do you hanker after the sun-baked Mediterranean landscape with its olive trees and bright Geraniums or the calm simplicity of an oriental garden? You may prefer the quintessentially English garden with its trailing Wisteria and scented blooms. Whatever your personal vision, you can achieve it with a container garden.
Whether you have roof garden, a sheltered courtyard or a sunny terrace, there will be ways of achieving your dream. The beauty of containers is that they are equally effective in a large or small space and the soil and moisture levels can be controlled, allowing for a wider range of planting.
It may seems like a modern trend but pots have been used for centuries by the Moors who invaded Europe, the ancient Romans and 18th Century French and Italian gardeners who recognised the visual impact and the practical benefits.
Not only flowers and shrubs but herbs, fruit and vegetables can be grown very successfully in pots. They can be planted alone or mixed together with flowers to create a display that you can also eat. Try positioning herbs near the back door so that you can have easy access to use them in cooking. If you’ve never used fresh herbs before, you’ll be amazed at how they transform an ordinary dish into something really special.
Scented plants should be positioned near your seating area or it’s a missed opportunity. A dining area or bench near a pergola or trellis which will provide shade and protection as well as a fantastic smell into the evening. Try planting jasmine or honeysuckle in pots for a beautiful display and evening aroma if dining or socialising outdoors.
The range of container styles is huge and will suit any taste or garden. Carefully pick the shape and colours of your pots to complement the type of atmosphere you’re trying to create. They range from very modern, angular and metal containers to rustic and traditional terracotta, so take a bit of time to think about what look you’re trying to achieve and what sort of plants you’d like to put in them to make sure the pots will complement them.
If low maintenance is your priority, stick with striking foliage or evergreen shrubs, rather than annuals. A carefully placed architectural plant can look as dramatic as a colourful display of blooms. Cleverly placed lighting can also add drama and create a focal point in the evening.
One of the real benefits of container planting is that you can have acid loving plants as well as alkaline and plants that thrive in sand alongside bog loving ones. There are no limits. Do be careful not to overdo it though. If you have a vision in mind, stick to it and don’t confuse things with too many ideas.
Whether you love gardening and want to change your plants yearly or stick with perennials and shrubs that will last for years with little maintenance, you can do it with containers. They can be useful for covering up less attractive areas, providing a screen or adding an extra dimension or focal point. Be creative and you’ll be amazed what you can achieve.