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Fall Container Update on a Budget

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How to give summer container plantings a budget update for fall.
Most of my container plantings have gone the distance and are still looking good as we head into fall, but the concrete urn at the entrance to the back garden is in desperate need of an update. Back in June, the urn looked rather pretty.
Filled with sweet potato vine, pansies and sky-blue lobelia it continued to look good well into July. Then the scorching heat and dry conditions began to take its toll. The pansies got leggy and thin despite regular deadheading and watering.
The lobelia however, managed to tough it out, and the sweet potato vine began to spill nicely over the edge of the urn. So here we are at the end of August: the front of the container still looks good, but the pansies definitely need to be replaced.
Though this part of southern Ontario has felt downright tropical this summer, the fact that this is Canada is foremost among my considerations. There are maybe four or six weeks before we get the first fall frost. Any annuals I may plant are bound to parish in the first real cold snap sometime in October. I refuse to spend a fortune to see me through a matter of a few weeks. A short season determines that this is going to be an container update on a limited budget!
Adding to this makeover challenge is the fact that the plants in the urn that survived are sky blue and lime green. Hardly the beginnings of a traditional fall color scheme!
So I went looking for a little inspiration at a local nursery.
Who says a fall color scheme has to be orange, red and yellow anyway? This mauve and purple color scheme is really rather nice.
The mums are familiar plant choice, but the ornamental peppers and the Celosia are a bit more novel. Celosia is a fairly versatile choice as it comes in a variety of red shades- everything from hot pink to lipstick red.
Investing Longterm:
If you are tired of using Mums to make up your fall container plantings, Sedum might be a nice alternative. It is a bigger investment in the short term, but you can always lift the sedum from the container after the first frost, and plant it out in the garden, making it a good longterm investment.
As well as Sedum, there are a few other types of perennials that you can plant out in the garden once your fall container has done its job. For instance, Heuchera offers a wide selection cultivars that come in terrific fall colors.
Heuchera 'Marmalade' on the left and Heuchera 'Crimson Curls' on the right
Bring the Indoors Out:
You can use houseplants outdoors to great effect in a fall scheme. This Croton (seen above) looks great paired with mums, tangerine coloured pansies and a tall Cordyline (see below).
All this inspiration was great but, I really wanted to come up with a last minute budget option that anyone could use to makeover a summer container.
So I bought 4 plants.
I also splurged on a Red Fountain Grass (annual here) that was $6.99. Here is how they all fit in to my urn:
Once I had my placement done, I removed everything from its pot and planted them into the urn.
I placed the fountain grass just slightly off-centre. I squeezed one of the cabbages down into the front and fit the other into a gap toward the back. The Celosia fit nicely in between the two cabbages.
Even my rusty robin looks great with the soft Fountain Grass. For even more ideas, please see my blog post.

To see more: http://threedogsinagarden.blogspot.ca/2016/09/fall-container-update-on-budget.html

Ask the creator about this project

  • Weedinwoman54
    Weedinwoman54 Smyrna, TN
    on Oct 1, 2016

    Nice color combo. Beautifully done.

  • Lynne
    Lynne Detroit, MI
    on Oct 1, 2016

    thanks for all the beautiful ideas

  • Naomie Moore aka baileyanddaisey
    Naomie Moore aka baileyanddaisey Castaic, CA
    on Oct 1, 2016

    You have excellent taste! This looks like a magazine. Sooo pretty and your plant suggestions are excellent. Thanks for sharing!

  • Kathy
    Kathy Puyallup, WA
    on Oct 1, 2016

    photos look like they were taken in a retail nursery.....hmmmm. See the green house roof??

  • Caroline
    Caroline Arlington, WA
    on Oct 1, 2016

    I love that were willing to stray the typical fall color scheme of red, orange, yellow- and that used something other than mums for lol! Its funny- I'm using green, a mauve color and lots of white pumpkins this year, ashewing the typical fall colors too! Great minds think alike! Great job and love the inspirational photos- I'm going to file that idea away for later, using local nurseries for ideas is something never thought but am definitely going to use from now on!

    • Three Dogs in a Garden
      Three Dogs in a Garden Canada
      on Oct 2, 2016

      I love those little white pumpkins! Green and mauve will be a nice combination with the pumpkins. Not all nurseries have displays, but the good ones do. Some even have display gardens. Garden tours run by local horticultural societies are yet another source of great ideas.

Inspired? Will you try this project? Let the author know!