Designing Your Own Dramatic Annual Container Garden

By: Anna Campomanes

There’s a wise old saying in Kentucky that goes, “Don’t plant your annuals/tomatoes/peppers until after Derby” which, in our experience, is true.  By the time the first Saturday in May rolls around the soil is warm and the risk of a frost is very low, perfect conditions for tender annuals to thrive.  So, when I hear that Kentucky Derby bugle call the horses to post, I’m ready with my trowel and apron, ready to design!

There are four elements in a successful, well designed container garden, and the first three are easy to remember because they rhyme: the Thriller, the Spiller and the Filler.  

The Thriller is the tallest, most dramatic element that gives the planter an architectural presence and make it feel more airy and whimsical.  We at Michler’s really like using the Bronze Cordyline, Elephant Ears, and Curly Willow. These choices are pretty flexible in areas of both sun and shade.

The Spiller is the plant that spills over and down the edge of a pot and covers up hard lines on the rim, creating a more naturalistic and established look.  Think of it as the train of a wedding gown that adds a touch of elegance. Silver Falls Dichondra, Creeping Jenny and Petunias are all great choices that we have here at Michler’s.

The Filler is what ties and anchors all the other plant elements together.  It adds the body and weight to a planter and often has the most colorful options - so here is where your inner artist can really come out and play.  For bright color we love Zinnias, Salvias and Ageratum. If you’re looking for a more classic look, you really can’t go wrong with Rocky Mountain White Geraniums.

The last element is to plant what you love!  You really can’t go wrong with a design that says, “This is what I love”.  If you’re still nervous about doing it on your own, come to Michler’s and we would be happy to help you with your selections.

May 07, 2019 — Holli Friley