“The earth laughs in flowers”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Gardening is both constant and constantly changing. The rules of how to keep our beloved plants alive are steady year to year, but with constantly revolving seasons, we also have changes in gardening trends.
Container gardening is the ideal way to explore new gardening trends each year. Our containers are incredibly adaptable to fit a variety of plant life, and we can use them to make living designs. With the summer season inevitably cooling into the fall though, container gardens are very non-committal and open new opportunities to explore new things each year. Some of the dominant trends this year promise new and exciting ways to approach containers in your yard this summer.
The Color of the Year:
Every year, Pantone releases their color of the year. As a leading design and color authority, their decisions affect trends everywhere imaginable, even the gardening world. Although their past few year’s selections have been a little underwhelming, the choice for 2018 is something to get really excited about. Ultraviolet (Pantone color 18-3838 to be exact) opens tons of new opportunities in our container gardens.
Ultraviolet is one of the most fascinating colors on the spectrum. It’s very complex and can go from vibrant and exciting to downright moody in different lighting. The color itself sits on the very edge of our visible spectrum, so the hue that we see is actually half real and half fabricated by our brains as they try to make sense of the wavelengths of light. While some insects, like bees, can see the whole color, our experience with this shade of purple can vary immensely, which adds a unique touch to the garden. Here’s how to use the science of visible light and color in your own garden to use Pantone’s choice of colors this year:
• Violet contrasts sharply with yellow. By adding a simple and sunny yellow next to your complex ultraviolet will make both colors pop even more.
• Ultraviolet is a deep and intense color, but it can easily get lost in shade or the shadows. Pairing it with a brighter companion, like light foliage, will give it more life.
• Violet looks amazing into the fall. As the sun sits lower in the sky, the new light angles will bring our new vibrant shades that you didn’t get to see all summer.
Water Garden Containers:
This trend is for anyone that has a fondness for the idea of pond gardens but doesn’t want the commitment or landscaping hassle. You can simply transform any container into a miniature pond that you can keep for just a season, or even move around your yard! The logistics of a container pond are similar, but simpler than a permanent yard fixture. Select a container that you like, preferably without any drainage. Utilize some heavy clay soil and water-garden-specific plants and you’ll be ready to go.
Your water plants will bloom best with at least 6 hours of sunlight a day, so make sure you place your container somewhere with good exposure. You can also add the calming sounds to a water feature with a small pump – which will have the added benefit of reducing mosquitoes and increasing humidity. Your yard will be a tranquil oasis, and your other annuals will enjoy the humidity boost.
Some tips and hints as you build your own container pond:
• You’ll need to add more water as it evaporates. The chlorine in most tap water can be harmful to plants and fish, so leave your water out for a day or two to allow the chlorine to evaporate off first.
• When selecting containers, avoid half-whiskey barrels as they can have chemicals that end up in your water and will harm your plants or fish. Choose containers that are made of safe materials for good results.
• Your container will eventually grow algae and need some cleaning. You will need to scrape away algae every few months – or more often if you have fish.
• If a pump isn’t doing the trick to discourage mosquitoes, some organic larvicide is a safe way to keep them out of your yard.
Succulents have been one of the most popular plants for years, and their reign of popularity shows no signs of slowing! They are the perfect plant for many people, as they combine ease-of-care with a beautiful, contemporary aesthetic. As such a popular plant, it’s hardly surprising that they find their way into container trends as well.
Find a shallow container with lots of drainage and start choosing your favorites for your succulent garden. It’s as simple as that! A blend of shapes and colors will result in the most stunning garden, so even if you have a clear favorite, you’ll want to choose some other plants to pair with them. If you are feeling ambitious and trendy, consider shopping for antiques to find a unique container for your succulents – popular choices in the past have included bird cages, teacups, and even shoes!
A few tips on making the most out of your succulent garden:
• Pick a few favorite succulents to bring inside in the fall. If you plant these in their own containers in your summer garden, and provide ample light in the winter after bringing them inside, you’ll eventually have an impressive specimen as the years pass.
• Consider blending your succulents with less expensive bedding plants to save money. Avoid expensive designer annuals, whose aggressive growth will devour your succulents. Instead opt for sun-lovers like marigolds, zinnias, or portulaca as container partners that have similar growing needs. These will provide a cute contrast to your succulents.
• If you have room, you could bring your whole container indoors in the winter. Be sure to spray for pests before bringing your container inside.
Containers are a great opportunity to get creative and stay on top of the latest trends. These projects are all fun ways to do something new and creative with the containers that you love. Let’s experiment with new ways to have a stunning garden all year long!