Add interest to your garden

Planting up containers and pots for seasonal or permanent displays is a great way to add colour, fragrance and an ever changing look to your garden, window box or patio.

Flood your garden with blooms, scent and architecture throughout the year.

My courtyard garden in Hastings plays host to a mix of containers and plants of varying shapes, sizes and materials. From the tiniest bonsai tree to a rather large olive and all sizes in between. My plants grow in hand-made, found, new and repurposed planters. Personally, I like to use a mix of oak, painted wood, vintage galvanised tubs and terracotta.

Double duty

My courtyard is small and its primary function is as an outdoor dinning room. It’s also my laboratory. As a professional gardener and garden designer it’s important for me to trial and experiment with lots of different plants. It’s also a great excuse to justify buying those must have beauties from the garden centre!

I can be creative with a small space but also, and, more importantly, see first hand how well the plants perform in pots and containers. Vital information when creating beautiful displays for my clients.

Mix and match

All different shapes, sizes and materials can drafted in for use in the garden. I take a mix and match approach when choosing pots and containers for informal displays. More formal displays require symmetry and similarity – think Versailles!

Choose materials that complement each other but be selective, choosing no more than two or three to start with.

Think vertically:

Walls make fantastic growing spaces too by adding vertical height to our planting plans. Hanging baskets and display shelves can all help add drama in the garden. One of my favourites is making my own Auricula Theatres to display my plant collections.

Can I grow a tree in a container?

Myth buster: Yes, a tree can grow happily in a container for many years! I’ve planted numerous trees in containers that continue to thrive happily in them. They just need a bit of extra care. The key to a happy tree and successful planting is choosing the appropriate variety and choosing the correct container size.

Moving around, moveable feast

The beauty of using pots and containers is that by their very nature they’re portable. Moving them into the spotlight when at their best and tucking them out of the way when not. Or using them for permanent displays makes them very versatile.

Our plant choices should be beautiful to look at but they can also be productive. There’s a raft of fruits trees and vegetables on the market suitable for growing in containers. Growing fruit and veg in this way works well on a balcony or used in a large veg garden or potager.

Local places to visit for inspiration and picking up those hard to find plants.

Great Dixter (usually open April to November)
Perch Hill (Sarah Raven)
Sissinghurst Castle (book in advance)

Image Credits: Gary Baverstock .

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