Cottage garden

A colorful miniature cottage garden in a container will thrive throughout the summer.

Tropical movement

Containers are ideal hosts for specimens that you normally wouldn’t plant in a Midwest garden, such as this tropical blood banana paired with trailing geraniums and scaevola.

Splashes of color

This bright and fresh combo exudes charm. Echeveria ‘Perle Von Nurnberg’ pops in its surrounding of the lime-green Plectranthus‘Limelight’. And purple petunias and pink blossoms crown the arrangement with a touch of sweetness.

Triple play

Follow this three-part plan for lush containers. Begin with a “thriller,” an upright star player such as this calla lily. Next, add in one or two complementary “fillers,” which can include foliage or flowering plants like lantana and geraniums. Finish with a “spiller”—in this case livingstone daisy ‘Mezoo Trailing Red’—that cascades over the edge.

Go grassy

Containers with ornamental grasses provide easy-care drama. For greater impact, combine different textures, heights, colors and plumes. These tough plants will still look great at the end of the season. In containers such as this one, the flowers hide the base of the grass and can be switched out as blooms fade.

Hanging around

Short on space? Planters hung from rafters, arbors, eaves or even trees draw eyes up and inject color to your landscape. Here, baskets filled with impatiens hang from a spreading tree.

Made for shade

Give shady areas of your yard bursts of color and texture. This shady container may not need watering as often as your sun pots. Feel the soil or use a monitor before you water so you don’t drown the roots. Water should not stand inside the container. Our pot uses:

— Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata‘Bostoniensis’)
Begonia ‘NonStop Pink’
Fuchsia spp.
Caladium bicolor
— Slipper orchid (Paphiopedilum callosum)
— Bleeding heart (Dicentra spp.)
— Maidenhair fern (Adiantum pedatum)
— Elephant’s ears (Bergenia spp.)
— Labrador violet (Viola labradorica)
— Bird’s-foot violet (Viola pedata)

Attractive trio

Goat’s beard, sweet potato vine ‘Sweetheart Purple’ and Superbells ‘Lemon’ combine for a pretty grouping in a vintage container.

Instant vacation

Flowers provide an instant vacation feel to any setting. Put out pretty containers in your backyard seating areas and grow flowering, fragrant favorites. The container pictured at left has pink begonias, red impatiens, gold-leaf fuchsia and English ivy.

Sunshine garden

Add drama to your yard with plants that happily bask in the sun. Give these plants at least six hours of sunlight every day. Use curly willow twigs or a small, decorative trellis to support the mandevilla. Plant list:

— Vinca vine (Vinca spp.)
— Water hyssop (Bacopa caroliniana)
— Annual phlox (Phlox drummondii’21st Century White’)
— Daisy (Leucanthemum spp.)
— New Guinea impatiens (Impatiens‘Pure Beauty Purple’)
— Bellflower (Campanula ‘Birch Hybrid’)
— White monkey flower (Mimulusspp.)
Lobelia erinus ‘Rosamund’
— Phlox (Phlox spp.)
— Gerbera daisy
— Mandevilla spp. vine (one pink and one white)
Delphinium elatum ‘Magic Fountain’
— Dusty miller (Centaurea cineraria ‘Silver Dust’)
Salvia x sylvestris ‘Blue Queen’
— Morning glory vine (Convolvulus spp.)