New Ways to Feature Your Favorite Plants

Creative gardeners like to display their old favorites in new ways. Perking up summer borders with bulbs and converting a section of sunny lawn into a field of Lavender are ideas we describe here. But containers offer the broadest design opportunities for every plant type -- from annuals, bulbs, and perennials to shrubs and trees.

Flank an entrance with a matching pair of flowering shrubs or evergreens; plant a magnificent urn for a garden focal point; train vines on tuteurs set in big tubs. Window boxes, strawberry pots, and hanging baskets offer versatile solutions that can change with each season. For spur-of-the-moment garden whimsy, plant colorful annuals in oddball containers: a rusted coal scuttle, wheel barrow, rubber boot, doll cradle, colander, old tool tote -- whatever strikes your fancy. Remember, though, that small containers look best in groups of similar materials. Look for more inspirations in the Reading Room of our Gardening Help section.

Growing requirements are typically the same for container plants as those in the ground, except that they will need more frequent watering and feeding. Use a moistened potting mix and give the pot a good soaking after planting, then let the soil dry to the touch before watering again. With shrubs, slower growing species are the best choice for containers; allow enough space to fit the root ball comfortably. Check our Growing Guides for information on specific plant requirements. Enjoy!