Back in April I did a post on container gardening basics … Container Gardening 101. Since today is the first day of fall…I thought I’d give you a bit more container gardening goodie…but this time I’ll put a fall twist to it. Like I did last spring, I’ve enlisted the help of the container gardening guru herself – Helen Weis with Unique by Design. If you check out the pics of her container garden creations on her Facebook or Houzz pages you’ll see why she is considered the expert in container gardening and why she is a highly sought after contributor to magazines like Fine Gardening.
So on to my interview with Helen…
RYG: What’s so special about the fall?
Helen: Fall is one of my favorite seasons, full of beginnings and endings. The beginning of a whole new season filled with pleasing temperatures and a whole new set of cool weather plants to work with. Along with it comes the end of Summer and one of nature’s most glorious displays. Each falling leaf holds the remains of Summer, the glory of Autumn, and the promise of Spring.
RYG: Do you have any plant recommendations for fall container gardening?
Helen: I believe there are so many choices of plants to pick from for Fall…so long as you’re willing to broaden your horizon. Almost any ornamental or fountain grass is a great staple for a Fall container centerpiece. You can surround-plant it with anything from coral bells to violas to mini pumpkins. If you want a double play, you can get a head start on Winter by using an evergreen as your centerpiece and surrounding it with a display of Fall showing plants. Once Fall has passed you can spruce up your pot with pine cones and other winter wonders. Either way, the concept is the same – always use a centerpiece plant (thriller), followed by fillers and spillers. It’s an easy concept that is applicable in every season.
RYG: Do you use different materials or objects in your fall container garden designs?
Helen: I love using pumpkins and gourds in Fall displays. Is there a better way to bring in the season? Don’t limit yourself to the front door entryway. Any place can display Fall’s grace…. I am forever sticking pumpkins in pots, baskets, nooks and crannies. Pumpkin displays in pots or the garden create a whole other layer of interest.
RYG: What should someone do to best maintain their potentially dormant or previously planted spring/summer container garden?
Helen: If I know a container is going to be over-wintered for a fresh start come Spring, I will always plant accordingly beforehand in the Fall. I do this by using evergreens, ornamental cabbage and kale mixed in with pansies and violas. These will all come back offering up its glory once again. If the container is thick enough to insulate the roots from frost, there should not be a problem with overwintering. Even if the plants harden off, they will come back in the same fashion as they do in the ground.
RYG: Tying container gardening into RYG’s hope to get people outside more to connect with family, friends and nature…how have you personally seen container gardening do that?
Helen: Gosh Doug, I can’t begin to tell you how gardening, pots and my design company have brought and kept my daughter and me so very close together. It’s too much to go into here, but trust me when I say that gardening…and how it has wrapped itself around our story…is something that is very special to us and something that we will always share.
Beyond that…as for container gardening in general – containers are just so easy, movable, and doable that it is a great way to bring people together. Whether doing it with friends, family, kiddos, groups or even just for yourself, it is the coming together and the creation of something beautiful that brings enjoyment that makes it all worth the while. Sometimes it isn’t the goal that brings people together…it’s the process. Containers are so versatile that you can do them anywhere, for any occasion and easily change them with the seasons. Whether they are big or whether they are small, the sentiment and joy is always the same.
Thanks again Helen for helping me on this post. Your practical insight into and your heart for container gardening is both helpful and inspiring. Your creations speak for themselves! Thanks friend.
Now off to do some fall containers of my own!
Take care all,
- Container Gardening 101…a la Helen Weis
- The Window Box at My Back Porch…Before and During
- Best Fall Annuals…Bringing Life to Your Outdoor Spaces