Imagine my delight to have had this lovely testimonial forwarded to me straight from the president of the Philadelphia Horticultural Society.
“I am a Philadelphia Horticultural Society member and always look forward to the Philadelphia Flower Show. This year’s show was truly outstanding. I like to preview the Gardener’s Studio presentations online to decide the best day for me to attend the show. A container garden seminar by Deborah Trickett was scheduled for Thursday at 11:00 AM so I made my plans.
I felt compelled to send my first review ever about The Flower Show.
I design garden containers and have attended many container seminars near and far for the past eight years. I am always looking to expand my horizons. Deborah Trickett from Westwood, MA gave the best container presentation I have ever attended. It was a text book perfect Five Star event. Every seat in the Gardener’s Studio was taken and an overflow crowd stood and watched from the outside aisles. More than just prepared and informative, Deborah was witty, engaging and remarkably creative. She started with an out-of-the-ordinary shallow square metal container and steadily filled it with a variety of unusual plants. Everyone payed close attention while Deborah composed a striking garden container. She offered real-world tips with each addition and generously answered many questions along the way. Deborah’s theme of “Jaw Dropping, Traffic Stopping, Get Your Neighbors Talking Containers” was not at all overstated. I highly recommend PHS have Deborah back next year.
This time of year I feel like that kid from the movie The Sixth Sense. Remember the one who saw dead people? That’s me. Only I see dead windowboxes. Containers. Urns.
Ghosts of gardens that were undoubtedly the pride of their owners now left to die.
I can’t help but wonder why the people who delight in designing their summer containers don’t keep the beauty going into fall. After all, fall windowboxes are not difficult to create. The key is planting “pockets”.
Start by planting evergreens in the container to act as the “bones” of the design. Boxwood and dwarf arborvitae are great choices for bones. In between the evergreens, the “pockets”, plant seasonal material. Even if you choose to plant only in summer your evergreen “bones” mean you have a decent looking container during the other three seasons. You can make a great looking fall windowbox without planting a thing, just add simple embellishments. For instance, gather some interesting gourds or seed heads and use branches for height. Just make sure you NEVER use bittersweet vine as it is highly invasive. A simple combination for your fall container could incorporate an ornamental grass, a cabbage or kale, and some pansies. Even though the days are colder don’t forget to water your container. Until the soil freezes the plants still require moisture.
If you are not planting anything in your winter boxes remove fall material before it becomes frozen in place. Cutting off plant material at soil level is a good option if Jack Frost catches you unawares and helps you avoid the “ghosts of containers past” syndrome.
Fall in New England is a beautiful season with spectacular colors and interesting details. It’s the perfect opportunity to plant something in your containers that will take your breath away – before winter does.
This article was originally written for Pine Straw, an apparel and home goods store in Wellesley, MA.