Fall container planting inspiration: Pansies and violas


Autumn containers on front porch steps. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

You may recognize these unique, hand-painted containers from a summer gardening project with the girls ~ buckets from The Home Depot, painted and personalized and filled with flowers. Near the end of September, the summer annuals were really past their prime, so I went to my favorite plant places and gathered up some wonderful cold-weather container plants like violas and pansies.

These purple pansies really caught my eye ~ I couldn't let these to go to another home ~

Purple pansies. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

I think violas are the happiest flowers in the garden. Here, they're mixed with variegated ivy, to spill over the edge of the bucket.

Violas and variegated ivy. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books


While I shop for plants, I use my smartphone to take pictures of pleasing arrangements on display. When I get home, I have a visual guide to replicate the design. I liked this combination of baby bok choy and creeping golden jenny. I set if off with violas and some variegated ivy, following the formula "a thriller, a spiller and a filler." The thriller is the focal point, usually giving height, the spiller trails over the edges of the pots, and the filler adds color and texture to the bulk of the container.




Autumn container plants. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books




"Arctic White" flowering cabbages pair well with the variegated creeping fig and purple pansies, adding a cooling element against my red house. The containers are displayed on my front porch steps, so they are viewed from above and head on. As I walk down the steps, they look like giant unfolding roses.




 Text and images copyright 2013, Lucy Mercer.


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