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Sense-sational Containers


Spring has sprung in a lot of places and everything about the springtime says that it is a time of renewal. Days are longer, skies are bluer and our senses come out to play in different outfits I guess you can say. SIGHT; SOUND; SMELL; TASTE and TOUCH are easily accommodated in this venture.

Sweep out the old and start again if you need to but whatever you do don’t give up and sink back into a haze of ‘coulda, woulda and shoulda OR wanna, gonna and if onleys.’ Starting now you can plant up containers specifically geared for each of the five senses by using dynamic plant pot recipes given below and you will benefit from the rich beauty that each one offers.

SIGHT:
This is the most immediate of the senses as it gives instant pleasure. Any pretty container can become a riot of colour when you plant it up with multi-coloured, bright flowering plants. Contrasts are good, leaf colours are great and positioning of focals and textures all play roles.

Start at the back with a perennial blue-flowered Salvia farinacea ‘Victoria’ Arctotis and team this up with another all-year-round white flower from Allysum (a delicate spiller too). Next go for another colourful annual provided by Arctotis ‘Red Radiance” and some purple Osteospermum. Moving towards summer, go for the daisyness of Chrysanthemum multicaule and the wonderful yellows and oranges of Marigolds from spring to autumn, Then there’s Scaevola ‘Blue Ice’ which is an evergreen perennial and has a trailing growth style, is a good filler as well as offering such nice contrasting colour; and, in zones from say 6 or so upwards, will bloom almost non-stop for you.

SOUND:
When you tune into this next container you will hear its call! The grass-like leaves of Anthericum saundersiae rustle gently in the breezy wind, and its small white flowers attract the buzzing of bees on their pollinating missions. You can use osteospermum here too for the bees and the all-year-round that will go very well with the pincushion blue flowers of Scabiosa columbaria ‘Butterfly blue’.

The masses of small bright yellow flowers of the wild cineraria Cineraria saxifrage will allow a rustle or two of their own and for a pink flower with a yellow eye to pull it all together, go for the ground cover of Nemesia ‘Elph’ And the type of container? Well anything really but why not try an old tin bucket or galvanised steel tub? You could also hang a tuned wind chime somewhere nearby oh lazy daisy.

SMELL:
Why not use a lined basket for a fragrance container – it will add a dimension of that grassy scent if or when the basket itself gets wet or damp in the rain. And oh boy, what a huge choice of flowers and plants are available for this sense. Which is a favourite that springs to mind straight away? It has to be lavender: Lavendula stoechas ‘Raspberry ruffles’ Its grey green foliage, stand up and see me look and lovely bluey pink flowers can take a central place you can plant around.

Next you could try any of the scented geraniums, I like the camphor one which also has edible red flowers and which of course complement the lavender blue very nicely thank you very much. The purple-pink flowers and pretty variegated green and silver foliage of Lamium maculatum ‘Chequers’ goes with everything so far and the scent is mint (belongs to this family). The dark purple-blue tiny flowers of Lobelia erinus ‘Chrystal palace’ go well with the soft sweet fragrance and gentility of white Alyssum.

TASTE:
I have planted this one up already and I used a standard wide-mouthed terracotta pot on daisy pot feet (cute) and it really looks and will taste good when I go for the harvest!

Again what a choice there is! But here is a pot recipe for you to start with to get your imagination and taste-buds tempted and going. Foeniculum vulgare ‘Rubrum’ or fennel is there for its soft fern-like bronze and green foliage. It is also fragrant by the way (liquorice) and goes so well for subtle flavoured cooking … and then you could go for any of the mint family.

I think Mentha spicata or spearmint and chocolate mint are good choices; to eat and be different add a spinach plant in the middle. Here plant Swiss chard ‘Bright lights’ (coloured stems so pretty); and or lettuce ‘Great lakes’. Then go for piquant nasturtium, Tropaeolum majus which comes in all sorts of colours too, trails and you can also harvest the berries as a replacement for capers as you wish. The bright yellow (useful) flowers of Calendula officinalis offsets a lot and last but not least there is sage with its green and white and pink leaves. Use it fresh or dry you own for your cooking pot.

TOUCH:
I hope you will want to caress and touch these plants which will look good for sure in a squat pot (though any low open container will be fine). Perennial Lamb’s ear, Stachys byzantine, will give you a soft grey-green coloured leaf and planted next to the scratchy leaves of ground cover pink flowered Donalena verbena will offer contrast in feel. The annual swan river daisy, Brachycome iberidifolia has a fine feathery touch, looks really pretty spreads easily and will offset the moss-like dark green Irish moss, Sagina subulata. This plant forms small tufts, has a soft touch and bears cute small white flowers.

For a spikey look-at-me-only if you want to, you could choose Aloe ‘Hedgehog’ with its erect flower and fleshy thorny leaves (even looks nice when not in flower) and goes very well with other fleshy leaved plants like vygies which also come in a dazzling array of colours from deep cerise pinks to sunny yellows to deep oranges. They wow and spread and just look and feel great.

The good thing about these plant-recipes, the annuals can be replaced easily while the perennials will carry on serving; oh and another thing … mix and match is in for all the senses as they all look good and will serve you well for sure.

Thank you very much Mike, my long suffering nurseryman, who gave me the formal names of the plants recommended so that you could go and buy the suggestions easily.

What do you want your container garden to do?
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Content copyright © 2014 by Lestie Mulholland. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Lestie Mulholland. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Lestie Mulholland for details.

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