Garden Containers with Wow

You have a home with a yard, so why plant garden containers? Alfred Prins, Parkland Nurseries and Garden Centre greenhouse manager, has the answer: “It allows you to do something spectacular in smaller spaces – patios, driveways, porches – with easier maintenance. And you can extend Alberta’s short growing season, as long as your containers are portable to some degree.” He shares three key elements for creating show-stopping containers, and best-bet plants for Alberta gardeners:

Thrillers: Start with tall statement plants placed in the centre of the container, or at the back if it’s against a wall. Thrillers can be tall flowers, prominent foliage or spiky grasses. Prins suggests elephant ears, fountain grass or vertigo grass, a burgundy-coloured plant.

Fillers: These are the medium-size plants – often flowers – that round out your container, surrounding the thrillers and adding pizzazz. Petunias are reliable under almost any conditions, says Prins, and plant breeders are constantly coming out with new and more colourful variations. Velvety black petunias, such as Crazytunias’ Black Mamba variety, have been especially popular in the last few years.

Spillers: These are fine-leaved plants that finish a container and drape over the outside edges. Green twist bamboo, a trailing grass, hangs down a metre or so and works well for larger containers, as do leafy-green vinca vines and creeping Jenny. Common ivies work well for shady containers, while trailing lobelia, a delicate plant with tiny blue flowers, is lovely in smaller containers.


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Photo by Kurtis Kristianson/SPL
Published in Westworld Alberta, Spring 2015

Westworld is the award-winning magazine of the Alberta Motor Association. It offers a mix of travel features, auto trends and special member savings.