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Friday, March 31, 2023
Growing Together: Five ways to take containers beyond the patio
Get creative: Use pots to separate garden areas. It’s a bonus if the colour of the pot matches what will eventually be blooming. And you can always add a little extra. Joanne Young

Many of us will use container plantings to provide an accent of colour at our front doors or on our decks and patios. 

These pots will often be used for seasonal plantings – bulbs in spring, annuals in summer etc. 

But there are other ways to use decorative pots, vessels and jars to accomplish different goals in the garden.

1. Use a single vessel as a focal point in the landscape.  A wellplaced pot or vessel among plantings can be just the thing to draw the eye out into the landscape.   Sometimes you need an item in the garden to be an accent. It could be an area where you need something different than another plant for it to stand out from its surroundings. Select a large vessel for extra drama and impact.  A bold colour, such as cobalt blue will also make it stand out. Keep in mind your style of garden and the overall feeling that you are wanting to create when choosing your container.

2. Cluster pots in a planting bed. For larger garden areas you may want to select a series of pots with similar shapes, colour schemes or surfaces to create a lively grouping that breaks up a planted bed. The surface of the pots — whether smooth, rough or shiny — not only will provide interest in a planted bed but will also give the eye a place to rest. The pots don’t all have to match, but at least one of the elements listed here should tie them all together. Depending on the height of the surrounding plantings you might have to elevate the pots to have them stand out. Varying heights of pots are most effective in a cluster.

3. Accent or screen an awkward or overlooked spot. Adding a single pot or a group or pots can be a perfect way to fill an empty corner where a plant would just not work. Also, we will often have a large blank wall area below overhangs, which can be notoriously difficult for plants. These are ideal places for decorative containers with or without plants placed in them. Other places to use a pot or pot grouping include in front of an air conditioning unit, a generator or a utility box.

4. Mark a garden boundary. Use pots to delineate a transition from one garden space to another. We hear more and more now about creating “garden rooms.” A simple row of pots can make an area feel enclosed and separate from the next area.  

5. Anchor opposite sides of a gate. Placing a pair of pots on either side of a gate serves two purposes. First, they can be an easy way to interest to the entrance. They can add prominence to the gate and match the colour of the sculpture and gate frame. Secondly. as soon as you place a pair of any item, spaced apart from each other, we have been programmed that you must enter the new area by going in between the two items. This is a great way of directing your guests to go the way you want them to. It seems to draw the eye in and makes it more inviting to visitors.

So, as you are sitting inside, anticipating the coming spring, think about how you could be using decorative containers to enhance your garden.

Joanne Young is a Niagara-on-the-Lake garden expert and coach. See her website at joanneyoung.ca.

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