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Thursday, September 21, 2017
Posted By: Rebecca van der Zalm in Fall Gardening

While anytime is a good time to plant, Fall is particularly rewarding because of the immediate results. It’s a time when what you see is what you get. Leaves are changing colour, berries are beaming, summer flowers are still hanging around and an entirely new plant palette gets the spotlight.

Fall Planter Collage

Fall plantings have a couple of benefits.

Benefits of Fall Planting

First, it’s a great time to get Trees, Shrubs and Perennials planted so that they get an extra couple of months of rooting before they go dormant for the winter. Then in Spring, their roots are established and they are ready to give you a beautiful Spring show. If you wait to plant in Spring, you reduce the risk of winter damage, but your plant will sit there for a couple of weeks or months while it establishes its roots. Planting now gives you a head start.

Second, you get instant gratification because you are planting for right now, not the future. This is particularly true for container plantings, front door décor and your Thanksgiving and Halloween decorating.

Third, it gives you motivation to clean-up the summer stuff that just seems to accumulate in the yard, or on the deck, and gives everything an attractive seasonal refresh. We all need that clean-up kick start... don't we :)

Stuff Them In

In a lot of ways, Fall Planters are easier and more gratifying because we don’t have the guilt and the angst about a plants long term care and health. Simply stuff as many as you can into a planter to make it yell… LOOK AT ME – I’M BEAUTIFUL!

By the time the plants wonder what hit them and why they don't have any room to grow, it will be nearly November and you can redo your planters with attractive stems, berries and colourful winter greens for the Holiday season. For perennials and shrubs you choose, plant them in the garden now or wait until Spring. When the frosts hit, have no mercy and just toss out the seasonal annuals and colour.
Mono Planter Using Mostly Pansies

Mono-Plantings

There are a couple of ways to create Fall planters. The easy way is to mono-plant. Fill your planter with the same plant. Mass for effect. Pack them in tight. The grouping will create interest because of its mass and similar colour palette. Odd numbers work. Try planting 1, 3 or 5 of the same plant in a pot. This style particularly attractive with grasses, mums and perennials like Heuchera.

Thriller, Filler, Spiller

The other way is to follow the traditional thriller, filler, spiller model.

Thrillers

To start, put something big in the middle that is the attention grabbing, dominant thriller. Ideal fall plants include: grasses, conifers, upright sedums, and Japanese maples just to name a few. Mums make good thrillers, but expect to haul them out when they are finished blooming or get opened up by the weather. Scale of planting is important. Try to establish a ratio of 1/3 planter height and 2/3 plant height. In other words, the thriller should be taller than the planter. This is not a rule, it just tends to look good.
Great Plants for Fall Planters - Thrillers

Fillers

Next, add the fillers. These are small to medium sized plants that accent the thriller. Usually fillers are planted around the thriller in odd numbers, for example 3,5 or more depending on the size of your planter. Excellent fillers include Pansies, Violas, Dusty Miller, Ornamental Cabbage or Kale, Decorative Peppers, Heucheras, Berry Plants Like Wintergreen, Bud Blooming Heathers and even mid-sized grasses. Two grasses that are always extremely popular are Carex 'Evergold' and Black Mondo grass. A few other fall favourites include windflowers (Anemone) and Dark Leaved Euphorbias like 'Blackbird'. Virtually anything can work as long as it doesn’t take too much dominance from the Thriller.
Don't forget to add non-living things to your planters as well. Gourds and Pumpkins make excellent additions to nearly every fall container.
Great Plants for Fall Planters - Fillers

Spillers

The spillers are smaller, pendulous or trailing plants that cascade over the edges of your planter. Ivy is an easy answer, as are trailing sedums or a classic favourite, Golden Creeping Jenny, also known as Lysimachia. These look good when asymmetrically. For example, only on one side of the planter.
Great Plants for Fall Planters - Spillers

If you find the height of your planter lacking, add something tall. For example a tall grass, corn stalks, or curly twiggy branches. It's a look that just seems to fit the season.
Some of my favourite plants for fall planters include:
 

Thrillers Fillers Spillers
Japanese Maples Mid-Sized Grasses Ivy
Trailing Grasses
Yews / Boxwoods Pansies / Violas Creeping Jenny
Lemon Cypress Ornamental Cabbage / Kale Trailing Sedums
Tall Upright Grasses Ornamental Peppers  
Upright Sedums Bud Blooming Heathers  
Mums Heucheras  
Sunflowers
Blueberry Plants (Colourful Foliage & Stems)
Winter Green (Gaultheria)  
Twigs, Sticks & Stems Dusty Miller  
  Euphorbias
Pumpkins & Gourds
 

Bulb Bonus Points

For bonus points, drop some spring blooming bulbs in your planters so you have an extra season on interest in the early spring! Maybe some Winter Aconites, Crocus, Snowdrops or even a few early blooming Daffodils!

So what are you waiting for? The temperatures are cooler and the rains have returned. Now is the time to plant up your fall planters! If you’re strapped for time, give one of our folks a call and we can have something gorgeous planted up for you.

Cheers... Rebecca


Friday, October 16, 2015
Posted By: Rebecca van der Zalm in Container Gardening

By October, your colourful spring and summer patio planters or hanging baskets are probably looking a wee bit shabby, if not down-right dead. If that’s your situation, don’t worry, we have the solution for you – the Fall Container Make Over! In this blog post, we'll introduce you to the world of fall containers and how to design and plant them. We'll also identify some of the best plants to use.

Fall Containers are actually easier to plant and maintain than the Spring and Summer varieties. We know we are living on borrowed time because of impending frosts. That time limit influences our selection of plants and forces all plantings to be temporary.

Fall Containers and Planters

Short Term Focus

Fall containers don’t rely as heavily on blooming annuals and therefore won’t focus as much on fleeting flowers. Instead they utilize long lasting, colourful foliage, attractive berries and other design elements to help them look good as long as possible. Since we know that the time span is shorter, it allows to get past the “what’s best for the plant” mentality and move into the different mindset of “what’s going to look good right now”.

Fall containers and baskets fall into 2 categories, mono-plantings and the traditional thriller-filler-spiller model.

Mono Planters

Mono-Plantings

Mono-plantings typically use the same colour, or the same plant to fill the container. For instance, you could have an all-white planter, or fill the planter with one type of plant. Consider a planter that utilizes white heather, white cyclamen and ornamental cabbage and kale with white tones in a single planter. Alternately, you could fill a planter with just Heuchera, Pansies or Sedums.

Thrillers, Fillers and Spillers

Thrillers, Fillers & Spillers

For fall, the traditional thriller, filler and spiller planters are packed tight with plants to make them look good right away. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this style of planter, lets quickly define these terms:

Thrillers

Plants For Use as Thrillers

The tall centerpiece or focal point of the planter. The thriller can be either centre planted or positioned at the back of the planting because of its height and stature. The thriller is the element of the planter that grabs the most attention and captures the eye. While plants are great thrillers, you could also use inanimate objects like birch branches, contorted willow stems, lanterns or other types of fall garden accents.

Fillers

Plants For Use as Fillers

Filler – the fillers are the mid-sized plants that complement the thriller. They are typically ½ to 1/3 the height or the attention grabbing ability of the thriller. Most fall planters will use several fillers strategically positioned near or around the thriller. At this time of year, small pumpkins and gourds also make great fillers.

Spillers

Plants For Use as Spillers

The spillers are the plants that hang or droop off the sides of the planter. In the fall they are typically grasses, ivies, ground covers and similar plants that have some resistance to winter cold. They are usually smaller and several will be planted in a typical container.

10 Design Tips for Fall Planters

Fall planters are supposed to be temporary, you don’t need to worry as much about longevity or plant health. When a fall planter starts to look shabby, simply discard the spent elements or re-plant them in your garden. When creating your fall planters, here are 7 more design tips to think about:

Black Planter

1. Pick a Pot First

Planter choice is important and should be made first. Everything from the type, the colour, the size, and the width of planting area is important. Try to match the scale of the pot to the size of your plants. Make the colour complimentary to the type of plants you are going to choose. When choosing a pot, quality is critical - if you intend to keep the pot for more than one season. There is a reason there are “cheap” pots and “expensive” pots.

Pot Feet

2. Drainage Is Important

Given our typical fall and winter weather, good drainage is an essential component of fall planters. Fill the bottom one third of your planter with gravel, packing materials, broken pottery or anything else that creates air pockets and allows the water to drain. Separate this layer with landscape fabric to avoid contaminating or compacting it with soil. Lift the planter off your deck or patio with pot feet to ensure the drainage hole doesn't get plugged up.

Promix Potting Soil

3. Soil Choice Matters

Don’t use a garden soil in your planters. These soils tend to be heavy and will compact in a planter. As we already mentioned, drainage is critical. Plants need as much oxygen near their roots as water. If you insist on using a garden soil, at least amend it with perlite to create air pockets and improve porosity. Preferably, use a potting soil like ProMix or Miracle Gro. These products are already mixed with perlite and are specifically formulated to be lighter for planters, containers and baskets.

4. Simplicity Works

The KISS principle ... (Keep It Simple Stu@^@#) ... works. The best fall planters are simple. They only have a few types of plants and they avoid having "one of everything" in the container. If you like a plant, use it a couple of times in your planter as opposed to picking more types of plants. Enough said.

5. Odd Numbers Are Good

In design, odd numbers like 1, 3 and 5 always look good. For example, you may choose to plant 1 thriller, 3 fillers and 5 spillers in your planter. While this obviously depends upon the size of the planter, you get the general idea.

Plant Colour Palettes - Hot Colours and Cool Colours

6. Pick A Colour Palette and Stick To It

Spring and summer planters tend to use the hot colours. In other words, the yellows, the oranges and the reds. These are called stop colours because the eye naturally focusses and comes to rest on them. They grab attention and scream look at me! This is also the reason why fire trucks tend to be red and people in red cars tend to get more speeding tickets – they are simply more visible to the eye. Now you know!

The cool colours tend to be more dominant in the fall. These are the greens, pinks, purples and blues to name a few. They move away from the eye and perceived to be more peaceful, relaxing and calming. They work well with the neutral colours like white, black or grey.

Neutral colours (the grays, the whites and blacks) are the perfect compliments for both hot and cool colour palettes. Use them for affect and as contrasting elements in your planters. You can also choose to create mono plantings. All white and all black planters are in style (especially for Halloween)

If you choose a colour palette, stay in that palette. In other words, a cool colour planter should not have yellows oranges and reds as they will clash. It’s ok to mix a palette and neutrals, but don’t mix the two palettes. An easy way to tackle this is to pick a theme. For example, a Halloween planter may have lots of oranges and yellows complimented by black. Remember to include the pot colour in your design. A pink pot with a halloween colour theme would look ridiculous wouldn't it?

Lanterns

7. Lighten It Up

As the sun sets earlier and earlier in the fall, it is important to choose brighter colours and even accent lighting. Add a few solar or led lights to your planters for added effect! Lanterns or even faux-candles can also be used. This is a great look for winter. For obvious reasons, just be careful if you are mixing anything electrical with water, or anything burning near foliage!

Hand With Bulbs

8. Think About Spring

While we have already stated that fall planters are fleeting, there is no reason why they can’t be designed to give additional interest. For example, you could fill the planter with daffodils and tulips to come up after all the top growth has either died-off, has been cut back or re-planted after winter. Simply plant the bulbs and then add your other materials on top. The bulbs will come through the top growth when the time is right.

10. Relax and Have Fun!

As we have already said, fall planters are temporary works of art. There are no right or wrong answers or bad designs, as long as you like it! Experiment, try new plants and have fun with it!

For More Information:

For more information and a great read, check out this e-book created by our own Shelley Levis.

One Planter - Four Seasons e-Book

If you want to spruce up your planters this fall. Drop by and pick out some great materials at Art’s. We’d be happy to help you make a few design choices or recommend the best plants. Or, if you prefer, we can even plant them up for you. Each fall planter is unique and is based on your design choices and budget. Get yours growing today!


Monday, September 10, 2012
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Gardening

Not a bad start to September! For many of us this month will be a bit of a blur.

Don’t forget to sit back and take a good look around enjoy the beauty around you. The sun is still shining, the evenings are nice and cool and the air smells like a cross between BBQ and crunchy leaves.

autumn moon japanese maple

I think September is my favorite month. The only think that I don’t really love are the spiderwebs I get in the face when I am the first through the dog walking trail. Is it just me or do they really crawl out of the woodwork in the fall? Don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate what they do but I always seem to catch their lovely webs right at face level!

Here is the list.

harvest vegetables

Veggie Gardening

Harvest, harvest, harvest. If you don’t have a garden of your own, now is a fantastic time to visit your local farmers market or farm. Remember to check out your BC Farm Fresh guide online.

If you’re not too busy harvesting, you can sow lettuce, herbs and carrots for your protected winter garden. Its also a good time to expand your area using lasagna gardening techniques.

lawn care

Lawns

If you need to renovate your lawn, wait a bit until we get a bit of moisture and the lawns start growing again unless you have irrigation or are a bright eyed morning person not a surly ogre like me and have remembered to water your lawn during the allowed times.

At any rate if your lawn is green and lush you can areate, topdress and overseed. A good fall fertilizer is also handy as well. But if your lawn is a lovely beige wait until it gets a few good rains and comes out of dormancy. Thaaat’s right…its just sleeping.

japanese blood grass

Garden Beds

Continue to trim back and deadhead spent perennials…you probably have heard the drill by now…don’t be too tidy. Native pollinators overwinter in the hollow stems of spent perennials so a tidy garden isn’t necessarily a healthy garden.

Your late season grasses such as Pennisetum and Miscanthus are coming in to their absolute glory right about now, not to mention the Japanese Blood Grass.

I’m thinking of doing a whole area in just grasses…they look absolutely amazing and do well with my kind of maintenance…very little. You can always add to your garden beds so long as you water and as long as the ground is not frozen, but I’d wait to do any shuffling until the ground is wetter. Yes. I said it. The W word.

fall planters

Planters

Now is the tough part. Your summer planters are looking glorious but the fall pansies and mums and planters and looking fresh.

What to do, what to do. To quote Kenny Rogers on tough times like these: “You’ve got to know when to hold em’ and you’ve got to know when to fold em”. A good bet this year might be mid-month though.

Start to phase your house plants back indoors and think about moving your patio tropicals to a more covered area on their migration to a freeze free well lit garage or cool sunroom.

bulbs

Bulbs Bulbs Bulbs

Yay!!! New and fresh!!! My squirrels like only the best. Seriously though think drifts and blending rather than straight soldier rows.

If squirrels are a problem you can plant in large plastic pots with the bottoms cut out and sunk level with the ground. Place mesh on top which you can remove when you see green tips or even better, add a frittilaria to your grouping. Squirrels hate the smell.

I usually pick up the packs in September and then store them in a cool dry place and plant mid October.

Ponds

Keep cleaning and skimming for fallen leaves. Feed up your fish so they are fat and healthy for the long winter ahead.

That should be enough for now with all of the other September business. If you are so inclined, try something new this year, you don’t have to go crazy maybe it’s just a new plant or maybe even a new sport or hobby…have an adventure and be kind to yourself!

Cheers,
Laurelle


Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Posted By: Lyle Courtice A.H. in Container Gardening

Cascading GrassFirst - Select your container, this will be a fairly personal choice and can reflect your style or compliment you choice of outdoor décor. 

Larger is better, always select the largest possible container you can afford both budget and space wise.  Make sure the size fits in with the scale of your landscape, a tiny courtyard garden can be easily overwhelmed by a planter that is too large. 

Be aware of the material your planter is made of, you want to ensure that it is frost proof; most stone, wood, concrete, plastic and metal planters will be ok but double check with your local retailer and especially when selecting terra cotta and glazed pots, you want to make sure they are designed for outdoor use and will not crack or break apart.

Second – Gather your plant selection, be creative and use plants that complement each other or add contrasting elements for visual interest. So Many Plants To Choose From

Fall and winter planters should include plants that are hardy and can withstand the winter months without becoming too ratty looking.  Avoid using perennials (unless they are evergreen) as they will die down and leave an empty space in your creation.  If you wish to use perennial or seasonal plants leave them in their pots so you can easily switch them out without disturbing the rest of the planting. 

Put as many plants as you can into your container, this will give it a lush fullness.  Try and keep the overall shape pyramidal as this is a pleasing and balanced design, give the planter as much height as you can and layer down from there with various combinations of plants including trailing or cascading plants that can spill over and soften the edges of the planter. 

This mini landscape is a living outdoor arrangement that is only limited by your creativity.

Use Flowering Plants for Impact and ColourThird – Always use a good well-drained soil mix.  It should be porous enough to drain well (especially during our wet winter months) yet still be able to retain some moisture so that the plants do not dry out too quickly. 

To help keep plants healthy and lush incorporate a good quality slow release fertilizer into the soil mix before planting.  Check with your local garden center for available soil mixes and fertilizers.

Fourth – Accessorize, like a floral arrangement you can incorporate some final touches to your container that will add Seasonal Interestthat extra punch. Use seasonal cuts or ornaments, branches and stems with dried seed heads, berries and fruit. These “temporary” additions can be changed out as needed. Finally, including some lighting (LEDs) is a great way of adding life and extending your viewing pleasure into the evenings and through the dark days of winter.  


Some Great Container Plants:

  • Heuchera, Heucherella and Tiarella
  • Phormium (tender)
  • Cyclamen (hardy selections)
  • Dwarf conifers
  • Carex (evergreen forms)
  • Euphorbia
  • Mukdenia (great fall colour, deciduous)
  • Skimmia
  • Dwarf Rhododendrons and Azaleas
  • Beesia
  • Ophiopogon (Black Mondo Grass)
  • Bergenia
  • Ferns (evergreen forms)
  • Broadleaf evergreens (so many to select from)
  • Ilex (deciduous forms have attractive berries)
  • Callicarpa (deciduous, purple berries)
  • Yucca
  • Cornus (deciduous, coloured stems)
  • Gaultheria

These plants and many others are available at Art's Nursery. Please call 604.882.1201 ahead of time to confirm availability if you are looking for a specific item or variety.


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Art's Nursery is a 10+ acre retail and wholesale garden centre located in Surrey, a suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. We've been in business at this same location since 1973 and we're proud to serve you today!

We carry an incredible selection of plants, shrubs, trees, annuals, perennials, vines, groundcovers, roses and much more. Soils, bulk materials, pottery and a variety of garden accents are also available.

Our plant selection is so large that you can actually drive a golf cart while you shop!

We pride ourselves on providing high quality plant, expert advice and an exceptional gardening experience.

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