Simple Summer Pots

A huge blue pot and Heuchera
A huge pot plus a large-leaved Heuchera makes a striking statement in Linda Hostetler's Viginian garden

I've always been struck by the bold use of pots at the gardens visited on previous Garden Bloggers' Flings and this year was another visual feast. The planting combinations are varied and exceptional, often using plants - such as coleus - I've dismissed previously as not my 'thing'.

Unlike some Fling bloggers*, I have only a few photos to show what I've liked and learned from this year's trip. Instead, I've realised sights like the one above have influenced the simple summer pots I've put together since I got back.

Large trough with three coleus

I've started on a makeover of my front garden and one of the tiny baby steps along that path is to replace the multitude of small pots on the ugly telephone junction box at the very front. I don't usually go for plastic with my pots, but I found this one more attractive to usual. Besides, I need to keep things relatively light in case the telephone engineers need access.

I've planted 3 coleus plectranthus which will fill out and engulf the pot in a few weeks time. I thought about using just one colourway, but I liked the contrast of the middle plant when I put it with the others at the garden centre. I hope these will flower like those I saw in the States, as the spikes also look attractive.

Alpine planter filled with around 100 allium seed heads

This arrangement came together by accident when I was tidying up the garden at the weekend. I was cutting back some of my spent alliums ready for shredding and needed to put the flower heads into something as I worked so they didn't seed themselves everywhere. The pictured pot was to hand, and I liked the look of the few heads in there so much, I decided to put in the whole lot to make a temporary display. There are around 100 of them in there.

I love the way the individual stalks of the flower heads tremble in the breeze a bit like some deely boppers do, which adds another dimension to this pot. What do you think?

My final example is the hanging basket by the front door. I usually stuff this with scented petunias like the striking 'Night Sky' I trialled last year. Sadly, my seedlings got some kind of rot and then I couldn't resist the pictured trailing begonia instead when I went to buy their replacements (full name = Begonia boliviensis 'Bossa Nova White').

This is another planter which has still to reach its full potential. Watch this space for a progress report...

I'm sure huge pots with lots of bold plants - even an obelisk or two - like these I found in downtown Charlottesville - will feature in my garden's future in some way. Until then, I'm enjoying the simple summer pots I've put together for this year.

You may also like

Disclosure: I was given the two planters featured in this post by Stewart. They're not being used in the way I'd originally envisaged, but I'm glad they're doing the job I eventually gave them.


  1. Pretty coleus combination, and the hanging basket begonias are beautiful!
    Hope you are having a great week!

  2. I love your creativity with the seedheads! I've used dried agapanthus spikes as accents in a pot on occasion. It was great to see you recently and I am looking forward to your visit to Texas next year!

    1. That's an excellent idea Cindy, now I have to get my agapanthus blooming again! I'm so looking forward to seeing you in Texas next year :)

  3. I grew coleus last year after not having grown them for a while. I had intended growing some this year but I forgot to buy seeds.

    1. I don't have a greenhouse, so there's no room for raising coleus from seed as stuff like tomatoes and courgettes takes up all my window space. Luckily my local garden centre had a special offer which included these coleus, so it's worked out quite a cost effective planter.

  4. My pots tend to get planted and forgotten. Can definitely do better!

    1. Mine often are as well Diana. I guess our climate means I have more chance than you of getting away with it!

  5. Oh Linda's pot is just fabulous VP - planter and container look as if they are made for each other. I think that coleus are a most striking foliage plant and your pot should look great when the occupants take off. The pot doesn't look plastic from a distance. I like the temporary allium container but can't help wondering what will happen if the wind really gets up :)

    1. It's on a table next to the house Anna, so it's quite sheltered there. It seems to have survived the summer winds so far, even without the alliums, but point taken for later in the year and I'll see about planting some succulents in there :)


Post a Comment

I love hearing from you and welcome thoughtful conversations :)

Comments aiming to link back and give credence to commercial websites will be composted!

Your essential reads

Garden Bloggers' Blooms Day: 'Just Add Cream'

Salad Days: Mastering Lettuce

Merry Christmas!

Jack Go To Bed At Noon

Happy New Year!

Please read if you follow this blog by email

Happy Easter!

Chelsea Fringe 2014: Shows of Hands - Episode I

Seasonal Recipe: Nasturtium 'Capers'