I wish I could claim these photos but my little sister is the one with a gift for great containers.  She’s not a pro–but she could be one.   Year after year she makes these fabulous big pots for her entry space that knock my socks off. 

Here are some of her secrets:

  • Think big.  Her pots are  large.  She buys the big fiberglass ones at Costco and adds to her collection every year when they go on clearance.  Because the pots are so big, they make a big impact.
  • Use good potting mix.  Also from Costco she buys the Miracle Grow Potting Mix with fertilizer.  Change your soil every year, she says or your petunias will get a blight.  And she likes petunias, they trail out of pots.
  • Buy lots of plants.  Every May she comes from her home in Ashland, North of Richmond VA, to shop at Big Bloomers down the road from me in Sanford.  And she’s not the only one.  They get a lot of customers from the Richmond area because good nurseries are hard to find.  Big Bloomers has great variety and good prices.  My sister fills up her mini-van and heads home happy. 
  • She doesn’t bring a shopping list but picks plants she likes.  For every pot she selects tall things, trailing things and something for the middle.  She buys mostly annuals.  They grow the fastest and bloom the longest.   And she always buys extra plants.   Experience has taught her that she’ll be sorry if she goes home without them. 
  • She doesn’t expect all the pots to look good all the time.  Some are best in spring, some are just coming into their glory on these 95 degree days.
  • Speaking of heat, she keeps her pots watered–not as hard as you would think since they are all grouped together. 
  • And she tries something new every year.  There’s always a new favorite plant or combo to keep it all fresh. 

Another tip from my sister–never sneer at annuals.  She has a lot of space and a lot of beds.  Cheap, easy annuals keep them full, lively and interesting all summer long.   Her marigolds and zinnias from seed always look stunning because there are so many of them. 

And the final lesson from my sister’s garden–visit all the gardens you can and make friends with the people who tend them.  There’s so much we can learn from each other.

If you’d like to know more about the fabulous plants in my sister’s containers, leave a comment.  And if you have any great container combos, please share.  

Happy gardening.  Stay cool.