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I can’t resist summer containers. They provide lots of colour, especially on the patio, and fill gaps in other parts of the garden. Over the years. some have developed into semi-permanent fixtures, which I refresh with a bit of new compost/slow-release plant food – then I pop in a few new annuals.

Here are a few -

This pelargonium stayed outside all winter – it started flowering again in the spring. It’s just one of a tray of bedding plants that I bought two years ago:

This also stayed out all winter, but unlike the other one it has flowered continuously since June 2013. It is also one of the bedding plants I bought two years ago:

I always plant some fibrous begonias. They are so reliable, and one of the few plants that the slugs and snails seem to ignore:

I risked a tray of Busy Lizzies this year, and am pleased that they have survived. I have really missed them for the last two years, but I had lost so many to fungal disease that I did without them. They used to be the mainstay of many of my baskets:

I’m not too sure about the combination of pinks in this basket! When I planted it up, I didn’t know what colour the Busies or the Petunias were, because they hadn’t started flowering. Oh well… :

And I thought this Lobelia was trailing, rather than bush, but I do love the colour. I’ve got quite a few of these dotted around in various combinations and they are very striking – and I did have some trailing ones as well:

I am very pleased with the Antirrhinums – they have grown really tall, which is what I wanted. The Nicotiana is lovely too, but it has no scent, which is a bit disappointing:

These are in a shady corner that never gets any direct sun and shows how useful Busy Lizzies and Begonias are. I do hope the ordinary Busy Lizzies will recover – I think they have more charm than the New Guineas, although I have several of those:

This trough is full of crocus bulbs, which pop up in spring, so I never plant anything which isn’t going to die off when the frost comes. The fern is self-seeded – I’ll see what happens about that. I’ll leave it for now:

This urn is one of a pair which I bought about 25 years ago in Kwiksave. They are plastic, but very convincing, and they were extremely good value. Both are still going strong. They are really quite large – about 24" across, so they hold a lot. The dark plant at the front (sorry – I’m hopeless with names) will soon be covered with small yellow flowers. The pansies, and the ones in the pot in front, have been going since early spring:

I like to group most of my free-standing containers together. I think they look nicer, they are easier to water and the plants are certainly happier that way.
[the last two photos were taken in the evening]

If you haven’t tried growing annuals in containers, I thoroughly recommend it. I almost always lose them to slugs and snails if I plant them out (nearly all my home-grown Cosmos suffered that fate this year) but it is often possible to offer some protection to plants in a pot. Sometimes when they are getting a bit straggly, but they still have a bit of colour, I move them into the borders, where the other plants disguise their shortcomings. That way, I get the very last bit of value out of them. Pots can easily be refreshed with new plants if you want, and they can be moved around, as well. And a big pot of lilies or purple petunias smells lovely!

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How lovely Melchi, they are great. And I did enjoy the little tortoise! I have some plastic urns left over from another era too, but one by one they are going brittle now and the rims are cracking. Good for another year yet though I think.

17 Jul, 2014


Thanks, Steragram. I have a few tortoises - some of them are very realistic! I am lucky that those particular urns have weathered well so far (!)

17 Jul, 2014


Its a great idea to have plants in pots. Because of all the publicity about lily beetles I decided to put some new cheap bulbs I bought in pots, in the hope that if they were harbouring anything suspicious I would see it. They are sitting on my potting bench at the back door. They have grown well and will flower soon I think. They will cheer up the Kniphofia border as those flowers are cut and in the compost bin. Depending on their colour I might plant them in the ground. Your pond is looking very good and is that fish I can see. Your herb pots are great. I do like the fennel. I planted my bay tree in the ground and thought I might lose it because the bark started peeling at the base but it is still growing strongly. I planted bedding begonia corms in my long troughs last year and forgot to take them in over the winter. They are trailing ones and have started growing again. The weather is certainly changing or going through a mild spell which has lasted for a couple of years now.

18 Jul, 2014


love them, they look so bright and cheerful. :O) I especially like your little ladder arrangements, I have always wanted a wooden ladder just finding one that is the right height, shall have to visit a car boot sale me thinks. :O) Well done on the display it looks great. :O)

18 Jul, 2014


You have a lovely selection of pots and plants ... like you I have some Tortoises around the garden ... none of them real though!

18 Jul, 2014


Thank you, Scotsgran - there are no fish in the barrel(!) Perhaps it's the oxygenating plants you can see, or - more likely - the brick I've put in there. The bigger birds stand on it when they are bathing, whereas the small ones perch on the weed. The fennel you can see has self-seeded from the huge plant I have in the herb bed. I love it. It doesn't taste quite so good once it has flowered, but I think the flowers look good and, of course, all the herbs seem to attract insects so I leave them. I do save the seeds - they can be ground up and used as a spice, quite mild. I have had so many surprising things last through the winter that I have stopped being surprised, if you know what I mean!

Thanks Barbara! The ladders with the Busies were made by my f-i-l over 50 years ago. We stopped using them years ago as they were so heavy, but they do good duty as a home for pots. The other ladders also belonged to my in-laws. They were unbelievably heavy (we are so used to aluminium now) so OH cut them up. The lower front part is against the shed wall (you can just see the top of them in the 6th pic) and the top bit is the blue painted part. They do make very good display "furniture"!

Thanks, Shirley! We had a tortoise in the garden when I was a little girl. I don't know how my parents expected it to survive, really, but it did, for a few years. It used to hibernate in a straw-filled box in the garage. They are very expensive now, rightly so - they need special conditions. I love the resin varieties, though!

18 Jul, 2014


Your containers are very colourful. I enjoy growing things in containers too.
I like those little step ladders you've got :) They're cute :D

18 Jul, 2014


Thanks, Hywel - I am fond of them.

18 Jul, 2014


We also had a Tortoise when we were small, called Jet of all things! A friend has one called Harley ... silly how we name them with ironic names! :o)

19 Jul, 2014


Yes! Ours was a very unimaginative "Toby"!

We named a clay pirate made by my daughter "Horror" and her toy cat "Tread", but that only makes sense if you know "Pirates of Penzance" (and if you're very, very sad!)

19 Jul, 2014


Your containers all look lovely and very healthy.....great pics. I like to put mine in groups too, looks more natural that way doesn't it.

19 Jul, 2014


So colourful, love your containers!

20 Jul, 2014


It is evident, you can’t resist summer containers :-)

21 Jul, 2014


Thank you, Cosmosjane, I think so.

Hi Louisa - I hope you are well. I'm glad you like the containers. I've just been watering them all - it takes a while, but it's worth it.

Lol, Katarina!

21 Jul, 2014


I'm with you - I love making up containers and have great fun deciding what to put with what!

You have some beautiful displays in your garden and the idea of using annuals is a very good long as I can persuade the little seeds to grow for me !!!

22 Jul, 2014


Thanks, Wildrose.

I buy trays of young plants. I do grow some plants from seed, but it's not my greatest skill!

I grew 40 cosmos from seed this year (not for containers). They were lovely young plants, about 6" high and bushy. I gave some to my neighbour, some to my sister and planted the rest out. All but four of them were eaten down to leafless stems within two days! Ah well. Next year, they'll be huge before I dare to plant them out! It didn't happen last year. The slugs and snails in my garden have been voracious this year. My sister has just sent me photos of the ones I gave her. They are beautiful!

22 Jul, 2014


Lovely blog Melchi, your ferns are fantastic. I like the rustic stepladder being used as a plant stand, Nice Pelargoniums and Snapdragons in other pics. Well done .

29 Jul, 2014


Thank you very much, Outlander :-)

30 Jul, 2014


A gardener after my own heart.I find containers so versatile.I have 40+ with annuals,bulbs,conifers,box,hebes hostas,dahlias,geraniums,primulas,which enable me to have colour in the garden all year round.When one lot go over there is something else ready to take its place, I certainly need my 5 water butts,lovely collection,kerryvw.

25 Aug, 2014


Thank you, Kerry. I would not be without my pots and troughs - so versatile, and so good for providing loads of colour.

26 Aug, 2014


Thank you, Hb!

Sadly, the bluer step ladders have recently fallen to pieces. They finally rotted away. They were pretty old, and not intended for outdoor living! I still have the lower part of the steps leaning against the shed wall, where they are more sheltered from the weather. They did well really.

I agree about the annuals. They brighten everything up, and it's sometimes surprising how many survive for a second year.

25 Sep, 2014

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