5 steps to beautiful fall containers | Living the Country Life
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5 steps to beautiful fall containers

Clear the wilting summer flowers from your containers and spruce them up for fall!
  • Dress your yard for fall

    Fall is approaching and you want to inject some life into your containers, pop them up with fall colors and replace plants that may be worn out from summer's heat. Blumen Gardens in Sycamore, Illinois, has some tips for you. Owners Joel and Joan Barczak set up their funky and fun garden center with unusual plantings that lure visitors to stroll through, inspiring them with ideas for their own yards. Pumpkins, gourds, grasses, and plants in all shades of fall colors overflow every corner. Here are five things to consider right now with your fall containers, followed by more beautiful examples of fall containers!

    Date Published: August 23, 2012
    Date Updated: August 23, 2012
  • 1. Follow the structure

     

    The traditional advice for a good looking container is to include thrillers, fillers and spillers. The thriller may be a dramatic bloomer, such as a chrysanthemum, or it may be a tall element, such as a small shrub or tree. The fillers "fill" the space between the thrillers and spillers.  If you plan well, most of your fillers will transition throughout all the seasons. Good plants for this are coral bells, licorice plants, asparagus fern, coleus and dusty miller. Finally, spillers are the vines or trailing plants that fall over the sides of the top of the container and hang down, softening the look. A favorite spiller plant of the Barczaks that transitions well from season to season is creeping Jenny.

    Date Published: August 23, 2012
    Date Updated: August 23, 2012
  • 2. Pull out the old

    If you've planted your container so that you can switch out plants seasonally, doing a makeover isn't too difficult. Some plants will have grown in with lots of roots, but just go in boldly (a soil knife is a great tool for this) and cut through all the tangled roots, leaving a generous hole for the new plants. Be unafraid of hurting neighboring plants because they can lose up to one third of their root structure and still survive. Tease out the roots of the new plants with your fingers before putting them in so that the roots will begin to grow right away. 

    Date Published: August 23, 2012
    Date Updated: August 23, 2012
  • 3. Consider the size

    If your containers are going to be out in a big yard, or need to be seen from far away on a country lot, big is probably better and planting up big containers opens up a lot of possibilities. For instance, shrubs and small trees can be used as thrillers and planted in the yard at the end of the season. Hanging basket plants can be used for spillers, cut in half in if need be to fit along the edges of a large container. The Barczaks also suggest using elephant ear or canna bulbs as thrillers because these bulbs can be saved and used year after year. A large container can use up a lot of plants if you tend to buy small ones, so think of upsizing your purchases to gallon size rather than 4-inch pots.

    Date Published: August 23, 2012
    Date Updated: August 23, 2012
  • 4. Style matters

    If a container is snuggled up next to the house, consider the style of the house and the background for the planters. If you have an old Victorian, you can go a little more whimsical and fancy, putting in blowsy and loose-looking plants. However, if you have a more Georgian or formal style house, you should choose tighter plantings of more traditional plants. If you live in a ranch house, stick to simple modern-looking arrangements.  The style of the containers is important as well. Antiques look good with  informal plantings while modern containers need a more streamlined look. Using a basic simple container gives you the choice of going either way. 

     

    Date Published: August 23, 2012
    Date Updated: August 23, 2012
  • 5. Have some fun

    Don't be afraid to add some seasonal elements, such as dried grass plumes, twigs, gourds, pumpkins, ornamental kale and decorative items. "We don't like to get in a rut," says Joel. "We're always encouraging people to do things in a different way." 

    Date Published: August 23, 2012
    Date Updated: August 23, 2012
  • Victorian elegance

    This blowsy and free-form arrangement perfectly fits the majestic old antique Victorian urn. From top to bottom, plants used include asters and grasses on top, chrysanthemums and asters in the middle, and more grasses and coral bells on the bottom level, along with a trailing sweet potato vine. 

    Date Published: August 23, 2012
    Date Updated: August 23, 2012
  • Repurposed planter

    The size of this antique sink fills the space on a porch well and can be seen from a distance. Fall plantings include tall dramatic grasses, a chrysanthmum for color, ornamental kale for drama, and two types of ferns for fillers and spillers.
     

    Date Published: August 23, 2012
    Date Updated: August 23, 2012
  • Welcome wagon

    Using a well-worn cart as a container makes it easy to change out the plants because they can be set in while still in their pots. From back to front is a Gro-Low sumac shrub and a white aster. Grasses and a pumpkin fill in the middle surrounded on the bottom by a mix of annual leaf lettuce.

    Date Published: August 23, 2012
    Date Updated: August 23, 2012
  • Maple mixer

    Selecting a container that blends with the color of the house leaves room for inspiration in plant choices. Here, since the large container is used right next to a tall door, a tall plant works well, so a Japanese maple tree is used for the thriller, surrounded by tall grasses, and in front a white Japanese anemone is used as an accent. Ornamental kale and a tan pumpkin fill in the middle space while coleus and a perennial stachys soften the bottom edge.
     

    Date Published: August 23, 2012
    Date Updated: August 23, 2012
  • Concrete container

    Fall seasonal colors liven up this concrete and brick six-sided courtyard container. Iridescent chartreuse-colored grass rises up from the center, surrounded by ornamental kale and cabbages in shades of purple and pink. Lime-colored coral bells tie in with the shade of the grass and assorted pumpkins and small gourds fill in to carry out the fall theme.
     

    Date Published: August 23, 2012
    Date Updated: August 23, 2012
  • Visit Blumen Gardens

    The town of Sycamore is known for its annual autumn Pumpkin Festival which takes place the weekend before Halloween. It's pumpkins everywhere, scattered throughout the town, with a parade, pumpkin pie-eating contest and pumpkin run.

    Blumen Gardens
    403 Edward St.
    Sycamore, IL  60178

    815-893-3737

    www.blumengardens.com 

    Date Published: August 23, 2012
    Date Updated: August 23, 2012
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