Every garden-maker should be an artist along his own lines. That is the only possible way to create a garden, irrespective of size or wealth.
(Vita Sackville-West)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Container Garden Idea: Creating Height

Container Trellis
Full Sun

1 Marguerite sweet potato vine

2 lavender trailing verbena
1 white bacopa*

*The picture shows two bacopa but on subsequent plantings I used just one to give all plants maximum growth space for the season.

I love the colors in this combination! And it is a combination that looks great from planting through fall. Each of the plants is a vigorous grower so does very well together. It’s also a good example of how to use an accessory in a container.

As you can see, I had a rock wall to contend with. I didn’t want the wall covered but any container I put in that area seemed too short for the space. I needed height for a good proportion. Small trellises seemed like a good solution.

But what to grow up the trellis? I tried morning glory and moon flower originally and found they didn’t do well because of the heat and sun exposure in this location. It’s on the west side on a concrete sidewalk against a rock wall, a less than ideal growing condition. I couldn’t keep those plants watered well enough to get them established. Ipomoea vines generally don’t like to be transplanted. Other vigorous vines were the just the wrong color and I am picky about color.

My original design started with the lavender verbena and the Marguerite sweet potato vine. I love chartreuse and purple shades together. I couldn’t find a vine to fit in with my scheme when someone suggested growing the sweet potato vine up the trellis rather than using it as my trailing element. Perfect solution. Marguerite is the most vigorous of the sweet potato vines and while it’s not a traditional trellis plant, it will grow upwards easily enough with just a few garden ties.

Choosing a replacement trailing plant proved much easier than finding a vine for the focal point. White bacopa is another vigorous grower that holds its own with both the verbena and the sweet potato vine. The color scheme is fairly simple with just lavender and white flowers and chartreuse foliage but I think the effect is quite stunning.

Because these three plants are such vigorous growers, they will need a larger container in order to grow well. I recommend 18" or larger. This combination also held up quite well in the extreme heat and sun conditions. In case of drought (common in my gardening style), all of these plants rebounded very well. The verbena will bloom profusely throughout the summer if deadheaded occasionally. I always took the opportunity to pinch off a few spent blooms while watering and was rewarded handsomely for this minimal effort.

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