(Editors note: It’s wonderful to hear our lead designer, Brooks, talk about home and outdoor décor he’s designed. The above Bombay® Luxembourg Planter (where he was inspired by French cachepots like the one in this photo.) But when the sketching and designing is all done, everything boils down to a simple question: how does this new planter work out for a gardener? We asked garden artisan Nancy Wallace to try it out. She responded with wonderful planter ideas for creating a stunning container garden. Thriller, filler, spiller… Take it away, Nancy!)
Planter Ideas: First Look
Oh my goodness! Imagine my surprise after I unraveled the meticulous layers of bubble pack protecting this new lion planter from Bombay Outdoors.
The attention to detail is stunning, and the quality of this lightweight planter is enough to please the most particular of clients – and consumers.
We have all seen lion planters that left us wanting for more… Not this time. The new planter from Bombay Outdoors is supported by four beautifully detailed old-world lion claws. Horizontal and vertical ribbing enhance its architectural elegance.
So now it’s up to me: what earthly ingredients should I choose, worthy of such a stylish planter?
Planter Ideas: Shopping
For days the planter sat in my living room, while I studied and assimilated its personality. I trolled the nurseries, waiting for inspiration to strike. It took a couple of weeks, but I finally decided upon a “caramel & confetti” theme garden to play off the lovely brown-sugar finish of the planter.
Now to get started. When shopping for plant combinations, collect a few plants and arrange them in the cart using the traditional method of container garden design: Thriller, Filler, Spiller.
Stroll through the aisles at the garden center and switch plants around until you achieve the right balance of color, texture and height.
Planter Ideas: Thriller, Filler, Spiller
For this project, I chose plants for a part-shade container garden, because I had a specific place in mind for the planter.
I asked one of my clients (who has a fondness for lion motifs) if we could station the planter on her pool deck for the summer, and she graciously agreed, so that’s where we put this together.
The list of ingredients might surprise you: I used all foliage plants, with one exception. Next time you visit a garden center, look around with an eye toward foliage. I find so much diversity in foliage plants, that I often use flowers as an accent, rather than a centerpiece. Here’s the line up:
Cordyline ‘Baueri’ (Bauer’s Dracaena Palm) *Thriller
Fittonia ‘Red Anne’ *Spiller
Muehlenbeckia variegated (wire vine) *Spiller
Begonia ‘Lady Francis’ *Back-up Thriller
Heucherella ‘Sweet Tea’ *Filler
Ruby Red Spikemoss *Filler
Planter Ideas: Putting it Together
When creating a new container garden, start with good quality garden soil. (I use dirt that is made right here in Georgia.)
Always change your soil when starting a new container garden. Your plants will love you for it.
When I fill a container garden, I begin with the largest plants first.
In the first photo here, the Cordyline (the brown “strappy” plant) serves as my “thriller.”
It has a great architectural element and stands tall (make sure your “thriller” is size-appropriate to the container).
Next, I tucked the ‘Lady Francis’ begonias on either side of the Cordyline as “back-up thrillers,” and placed the ‘Sweet Tea’ Heucherella as the “filler focal point,” front-and-center.
I love its big, scalloped leaves and red veins – a nice contrast to the Cordyline.
Before moving onto the spillers, I added soil between the plants to make sure there were no air pockets.
Lastly, I tucked in as many spillers as possible around the outside rim of the planter without compacting the root balls of the plants.
Seasonal container gardens can be planted much more fully than plants in the landscape. The goal is make a big impact in a small space.
Think of container gardens as the diamond earrings that show case an evening gown: they need to be special enough to stand up to their surroundings.
Finishing up: check the soil again and make sure there are no air pockets between the plants and top off the planter with pine bark mini-nuggets.
The bark helps retain moisture in the container when temperatures rise over the summer.
With the proper amount of water, and the occasional fine-tip pinching to keep plants tidy, this container garden will grow and thrive through the middle of November, depending on the arrival of the first frost.
The Bombay® Luxembourg Planter has four lion heads and an aged metal finish. To learn more about it and our other planters and outdoor décor, shop the Bombay® Company Store now. When you click this link, you get an additional 20% off all outdoor items at final checkout!
About the Author:
Nancy Wallace is a horticulturist and garden artisan based in Georgia. Check out her gorgeous garden photos on her Instagram profile. You can follow her there, as well as on her Tumblr site, on Twitter, and her Facebook page!