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Show #14/3601
Colorful, Unique Container Combinations

Summary of Show


Pamela Crawford
PAMELA CRAWFORD is a landscape architect who has designed over 1,500 yards but perhaps is best known for the 10 books she has written. The last 4 of those books deal with container gardening. Pamela has been fascinated with containers for years and is happy to welcome Eric and the GardenSMART audience to her home so she can show us what she does with containers.
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Overcoming Fear Of Color
Pamela also wants to address people's FEAR OF COLOR. Eric thinks he's fairly conservative regarding color, some might say he has a fear of color. Pamela wants to show some bold ideas and some easy tips that Eric and others might consider. Pretty much any color one can conceive now days is represented in ceramic, plastic or resin containers. Pamela thinks that is one thing that makes container gardening so much fun, so whimsical.
For More Information Click here

Colorful Containers
One grouping which Pamela calls her CRAYON BOX GARDEN is particularly colorful. It's the 1st time she has mixed all these colors. They are the latest thing. She believes in using your eyes and trusting your taste. When purchasing she puts things next to each other. For example she put the green container down 1st, then the cobalt blue around that. She stood back, liked it, then took the lime green container and put it next to the two, liked that, then tried orange in the grouping, but didn't like that.
For More Information Click here

More Conservative Containers
The very bright and happy, more modern design in the crayon box garden creates one look while the BROWN CONTAINERS provide more of a very old European feel. In order to create different vignettes around your property or in your garden it's an effective tool to use the contrast of bright, attractive containers in one area and the more conservative, rustic pots in another area. They make it feel like a cafe in Italy. Another area has white pots in a line and it is striking. Pamela likes the white and the brown.
For More Information Click here

Container Plants
It's time to look at CONTAINER PLANTS. Pamela has many different ways that we can use plants in containers. Some have strong vertical accents, others are more spilling and she has many combinations in between. When the gardener goes to the garden center they often must wade through thousands of different plants to figure out what they should take home. Pamela believes everyone should start simple.
For More Information Click here

Plants In A Window Box
Pamela has some unusual PLANTS IN A WINDOW BOX. This was a fun container. She used Blue Mohawk Grass and she likes it a lot. What she's doing here is the same principle used elsewhere. She utilized plants with very different shaped leaves. Eric notices a tall skinny leaf next to the big fat leaf of the Coleus.
For More Information Click here

Use Of Color In The Garden
The way we use COLOR IN THE GARDEN has a profound effect on the way we feel and the mood that we set in the garden. Eric feels Pamela has done a great job of putting together a collection of plants that have cool muted colors as opposed to some of the hotter, more lively colors like reds and oranges. One container has a collection of pastels then some dark purple with nice flashes of silver mixed in.
For More Information Click here

Colors, Textures And Height
In addition to different COLORS AND TEXTURES Pamela also utilizes plants that have different heights. The contrast in height with the plants on the ground and the nice vertical accents provide a fun, creative twist. By adding planting containers on posts, it really adds to the effect. Pamela can't imagine this garden without the posts and the baskets on top. The vertical element really adds a lot of impact.
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Globes On Top Of The Pedestal
Eric likes the GLOBES OF COLOR ON TOP OF THE PEDESTAL and is anxious to start planting. He is curious about how Pamela gets the plants to grow all around the planter. It's obviously a multi-tiered system and she plants the entire container. The holes in the sides of the cocoa fiber are flexible so a root ball of a normal plant from a garden center will fit into it nicely. The object is to cover all of the cocoa fiber and to plant the top as well, so it looks like a great big ball of color.
For More Information Click here


Color For Shade
Many of the plants we've looked at thus far are plants that thrive in the sun or mostly sun situations. But Pamela has a fairly large area that is shade yet she still has incredible planters. Eric wants to know what advice Pamela has for gardeners trying to expand their horizons. Plant breeders have been very busy. For a long time it was very difficult to find COLOR FOR SHADE but you can now go to the garden centers and find they're loaded with plants that provide color in shade.
For More Information Click here



LINKS:

Home | Pamela Crawford

Easy Garden Color

Plant List

Tub Trugs



Complete transcript of the show.

With the many innovations, new plant selections and new containers, the possibilities for container gardening are nearly limitless. In this episode we meet with a container gardening expert who shows us how to create wonderful, colorful, unique container combinations.

PAMELA CRAWFORD is a landscape architect who has designed over 1,500 yards but perhaps is best known for the 10 books she has written. The last 4 of those books deal with container gardening. Pamela has been fascinated with containers for years and is happy to welcome Eric and the GardenSMART audience to her home so she can show us what she does with containers. And it's extensive, Pamela tests plants because she wants to actually see them, feel them, touch them and plant them. Along the way she has killed a lot of plants thus writes not only about the survivors but as well the bloopers, the ones that didn't work so well. Her yard is her laboratory. This is where she has learned about plants and containers and Eric feels because of her experiences her books are very useful. Pamela started out as someone that didn't know if something was going to work or not but tried and ultimately figured out what did work. She has been a pioneer in finding new and unique ways to use plants together and has developed some interesting planting systems.

Eric assumes that many visitors could look at these intricate and bold containers and think - You know I don't think I can do that at home. There are obviously a lot of plants that go into these containers and there must be a lot of steps to complete these containers. What we'll do in this Episode is help people understand that it's not as complicated as it might look. There are some basic principles that go into making a great container, a great container. And it is something one can easily do at home. Pamela wants people to be ready when they go to the garden center to cut loose and choose new and different plants and containers . She will tell and show how to make the flower balls, how to make them look good instantly and she will show how to use supports that will enable the huge basket to stay in place. Importantly, Pamela will discuss ideas, that work, for using simple color. And, as far as cost is involved, Pamela has found it to be affordable because there is a wide range of containers that have a wide range in cost. She'll discuss container choices that cost as little as $10, as well as some that might cost hundreds of dollars. The key, from Pamela's point of view, is how to use color. There are many new innovations as far as plant material, which means there is an amazing range of foliage colors as well as new flower colors. All this results in a wide range in plant cost. There are multi packs that make it very inexpensive to dive into container gardening. So, if working on a limited budget one can pick up smaller plants, particularly if you have the benefit of time. If you need something to look great right away use 6 or 8 inch plants. They're more money per plant but the effect is impressive and more immediate.

Pamela also wants to address people's FEAR OF COLOR. Eric thinks he's fairly conservative regarding color, some might say he has a fear of color. Pamela wants to show some bold ideas and some easy tips that Eric and others might consider. Pretty much any color one can conceive now days is represented in ceramic, plastic or resin containers. Pamela thinks that is one thing that makes container gardening so much fun, so whimsical. These colors allow the designer an extensive pallet on which they can express themselves. It's simple to choose containers when you go to the garden center. Pamela looks for several things. She looks for containers she likes, that's most important but additionally containers must be frost proof and the containers must have a hole in the bottom. That's how easy it is. Pamela has a few examples of inexpensive containers and some that are quite expensive. But the Chinese pottery is not as expensive as it was 10 years ago. The alternatives like rubber truggs are great too. They are colorful, recycled rubber and often can be found for around $10. And, they last forever. Regardless of your budget you can find something that will work for you.

Pamela and Eric next talk about using containers together in a design. One grouping which Pamela calls her CRAYON BOX GARDEN is particularly colorful. It's the 1st time she has mixed all these colors. They are the latest thing. She believes in using your eyes and trusting your taste. When purchasing she puts things next to each other. For example she put the green container down 1st, then the cobalt blue around that. She stood back, liked it, then took the lime green container and put it next to the two, liked that, then tried orange in the grouping, but didn't like that. Probably the most unexpected selection was the purple pots. Pamela thought she would never use those but the purples next to the lime greens, works. When using containers together the principles are very similar to the principles of planting in the ground. You will have your focal points and a grouping of threes. The unity of threes ties it all together and the repeated themes throughout is also an important concept to remember when using a large group of containers. They look nice in this format, certainly as opposed to, for example, having them in straight lines or even with no pattern. Pamela likes the busy pattern but a lot of people like it more subdued, more neutral. So they next look at some more neutral designs.

If the crayon box design was too much then settle it down a bit by using something like attractive brown containers. They create a completely different look in the garden. The very bright and happy, more modern design in the crayon box garden creates one look while the BROWN CONTAINERS provide more of a very old European feel. In order to create different vignettes around your property or in your garden it's an effective tool to use the contrast of bright, attractive containers in one area and the more conservative, rustic pots in another area. They make it feel like a cafe in Italy. Another area has white pots in a line and it is striking. Pamela likes the white and the brown. White is a very powerful color to use in design. Pretty much any color of plant one would put with a white pot would work. Something unusual about the brown containers - they're self watering containers. Pamela was surprised because she thought the water reservoirs were too small for the heat in Georgia and was concerned she would need to add water twice a day. But she's been pleasantly surprised to find they use about 1/3 less water than the plants in the crayon box garden. The way these containers work is there is a little thermometer looking gauge with a float in it. When the float is all the way to the top that means it's filled with water, when the float goes to the bottom you lift the plastic lid and fill it with water. That's it. Basically the container is surrounded by a reservoir that allows the water to be soaked up from the bottom. It's a very efficient way of using water. There's much less water loss to evaporation. The water is being delivered to the plant and held in the reservoir so the roots can uptake water when needed. The net effect is considerably less water used.

It's time to look at CONTAINER PLANTS. Pamela has many different ways that we can use plants in containers. Some have strong vertical accents, others are more spilling and she has many combinations in between. When the gardener goes to the garden center they often must wade through thousands of different plants to figure out what they should take home. Pamela believes everyone should start simple. In her books she has 2 things that will help. First she has what she calls her blue ribbon plants. These are plants that Pamela couldn't kill. She thinks that's a good place to start. Secondly she has a chapter in her book that talks about just putting 1 plant in a pot, then go to 2 plants, then go to 3. When you start working with multiples remember that the big plant goes in the middle and the little plants around it. We look at 1 example, Pamela talks us through this container, what she's used and how they work together, how they compliment each other. This is one of the easiest types of combinations to put together. It has a middle, that's Dracaena, then the Wax Begonias, which is more of a mounding plant and surrounding that is Creeping Jenny, which is a trailing plant. Pamela always holds the plants up to the container when working with colorful containers. That was made more complicated because she was working with 3 pots. So she took a picture of the 3 pots with her phone and took that to the garden center. It's an important element when dealing with colorful containers but an important and easy tip. Just take a picture, take it with you and you will have the ability of bringing the container with you when matching plants before taking them home.

Pamela has some unusual PLANTS IN A WINDOW BOX. This was a fun container. She used Blue Mohawk Grass and she likes it a lot. What she's doing here is the same principle used elsewhere. She utilized plants with very different shaped leaves. Eric notices a tall skinny leaf next to the big fat leaf of the Coleus. Then she came in with something new, she is always trying something new. Here she has the Infinity New Guinea Impatiens which are alternated with Oxalis Charmed Wine. And it has trailing plants around the base. She has planted the sides of the pots (more on that shortly) as well as the top of the container. She has done a great job of contrasting texture and color meaning she has everything from bright chartreuse to dark purples. Texture is also emphasized, the big leaves contrast with the more feathery, lighter leaves. It all makes for a very interesting and eye catching design.

The way we use COLOR IN THE GARDEN has a profound effect on the way we feel and the mood that we set in the garden. Eric feels Pamela has done a great job of putting together a collection of plants that have cool muted colors as opposed to some of the hotter, more lively colors like reds and oranges. One container has a collection of pastels then some dark purple with nice flashes of silver mixed in. Silver is a color Pamela has wanted to work with more and has had a great time with it; she used it a lot in containers this year. In one she used Artemisia as a center piece, it is a nice fluffy silver, then the silver Licorice Plant. She is very happy with the way silver mixes with the pastels. There are a lot of interesting textures that come with silver plants especially plants with a light pubescence, the little silvery hairs, on the Silver Falls Dichondra for example. It's nice the way that contrasts against the lighter pinks and purples. The Purple Sage is a nice plant to splash in the mix, it adds some lighter texture. The Diamond Frost Euphorbia is a wonderful annual that Pamela believes should be used more often. Pamela has coordinated the plants on the ground with the containers and the big balls on the containers. Senorita Rosalita is a particularly great plant in this setting.

In addition to different COLORS AND TEXTURES Pamela also utilizes plants that have different heights. The contrast in height with the plants on the ground and the nice vertical accents provide a fun, creative twist. By adding planting containers on posts, it really adds to the effect. Pamela can't imagine this garden without the posts and the baskets on top. The vertical element really adds a lot of impact. When approaching your garden and seeing pots elevated on pedestals it adds a lot of impact. They bring the plants up to eye level. But many are probably wondering how they would go about putting something like this together. Pamela says it's very easy. There are only 2 major pieces, a ring that goes underneath the pot that has a screw coming out of the middle of the bottom. The screw goes through the ring, through the hole in the pot and into the post. The weight of the base of the pot holds the post in place. In this instance it's placed in a relatively lightweight pot so Pamela puts some pea gravel into the container to add stability. This will help stabilize the pot and post with the pot on top, especially during windy conditions. There are a lot of lightweight pots on the market, between fiberglass and resin. But even the Mexican porcelain pots that are hand painted are lighter than the huge Chinese pots so Pamela often uses gravel in the bottom. She doesn't if working with the heavier pots.

Eric likes the GLOBES OF COLOR ON TOP OF THE PEDESTAL and is anxious to start planting. He is curious about how Pamela gets the plants to grow all around the planter. It's obviously a multi-tiered system and she plants the entire container. The holes in the sides of the cocoa fiber are flexible so a root ball of a normal plant from a garden center will fit into it nicely. The object is to cover all of the cocoa fiber and to plant the top as well, so it looks like a great big ball of color. How fast it takes to fill in the cocoa fiber area depends on the size of plants you use. If you use big plants it will fill very quickly, if you use multi-packs it may take a week or two before you don't see any more fiber or steel. The first thing when planting is choose plants at the garden center. Pamela tends to alternate plants, 3 or 4 sometimes 5 plants, in this case she's using 3. She is going for bright colors to match what is in the pot below. Pamela uses Yellow Lantana, gorgeous Orange SunPatiens, which is a new impatiens for sun, and a Sun Coleus. Pamela dips the plants in water so they slide easily through the holes in the sides. The next thing is to take the plant, squeeze out the water and slide it through the hole in the side. She adjusts the fiber a little, but the thing that's most important is that you get the roots and the potting mix inside the pot and the plant on the outside with the little cocoa fiber flap in the middle. It is a great design. In the past for someone to be able to have these kind of plantings they either needed to seed into the side of the container or figure out a way to attach a plant. It's wonderful to be able to have holes pre-cut. The cocoa fiber does a great job of holding the soil in, it creates a very stable system. Pamela designed this system, it took her years and in that time planted 10,000 plants in the side in order to learn which ones worked. She's very happy with the results. They look at the basket once finished and the plants have been planted. It looks great and will fill in very quickly, every square inch will soon be filled. Of course using larger plants provides an instant effect. Pamela did keep to her succession - 1, 2, 3, all around the sides of the pot. Keep in mind you will need some plants that are trailing, some bunching. Utilize different variations in leaf size, color and of course different bloom power. And know there will be all different kinds of heights as it hangs down from the globe, then others that fill in deep places. But Pamela has a very nice selection of plants. They have 2 steps to finish. They put a big plant in the center, she uses a nice Black-Eyed Susan, and she then tucks some of the same plants along the edge of the container that she used on the side in the holes. And she uses the same 1, 2, 3 succession. It has a great look and Eric is amazed at the ease of installation. She basically has a clip system that sits on top of the column that the basket rests on and when twisted into position locks the basket into the column. It's super easy to set up and to take down. Pamela thanks Eric for the compliment but knows it will only continue to look better as it grows and fills in even more. Then the Lantana will come down, the Black-Eyed Susan's will come up and the impatiens will also come up. It will be even more beautiful, with more color but she is very happy with the end result. Pamela does think it's good they're talking about color. She thinks it important to show the audience the right way to do this. They blasted out with a colorful pot and really colorful plants. Eric likes the fact they've matched the colors of the containers and the plants. Pamela would call this the fiesta bowl.

Many of the plants we've looked at thus far are plants that thrive in the sun or mostly sun situations. But Pamela has a fairly large area that is shade yet she still has incredible planters. Eric wants to know what advice Pamela has for gardeners trying to expand their horizons. Plant breeders have been very busy. For a long time it was very difficult to find COLOR FOR SHADE but you can now go to the garden centers and find they're loaded with plants that provide color in shade. Eric likes gardening in shade because it requires a lot less water. Foliage is a great way to get color in shade and colorful foliage will last for the better part of the year, even when plants aren't in bloom you will still have interest. Pamela has some beautiful examples. Coleus and Caladium are both excellent shade plants. Especially in the world of Coleus one can find almost any texture or color. It's a versatile plant and an excellent shade plant. Pamela calls it her throw pillow of containers because it's just like getting a throw pillow and using it to then pick other pieces of furniture to add to your living room. She will take a Coleus and walk around the garden center looking for other plants that go with it. Another plant Pamela particularly likes for shade is the Dragon Wing Begonia.

Before we leave Eric wonders if Pamela has any final thoughts for our audience. She does. Pamela wants gardeners to have a good time putting containers together. It can be a lot of fun and as we've seen in this show a beautiful experience.

Eric thanks Pamela for the tour of her container garden. We have learned a lot and have been introduced to some great container ideas and accessories. Thanks Pamela.

 

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LINKS:

Home | Pamela Crawford

Easy Garden Color

Plant List

Tub Trugs


   
   
 
   
   
   
   
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