Cool Container Combos

Many gardeners are exceptionally eager, at this time of year, to create hardy planters that will withstand the cooler, Northern spring temperatures.

Take a fresh start to the season with a hardy collection of flowering and foliage varieties that will blossom with an abundance of colour while withstanding the cold night temperatures. I look for plants that I can plant early in spring, enjoy for a number of weeks and then replace with heat-tolerant annuals, perennials and flowering shrubs.

Each spring I look for a unique collection of cold, hardy, colourful plants (preferably those bred to perform well in containers) that may like to spend the latter part of summer in the garden and possibly overwinter for the following season.

Consider trying these hardy varieties: aster, coral bells (heuchera), chrysanthemum, dusty miller (Senecio cineraria), dianthus, fescue (Festuca glauca), flowering kale, fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum), hens and chicks (sempervivum), licorice plant (Helichrysum icicle), ivy (Hedera helix), redbor kale, sedum, snapdragon, strawflower and viola.

It’s well-known that the pansy viola is among the hardiest of all flowering annuals. From the miniature flowering johnny jump-ups to the bold three-inch flowering majestic giants, the genus viola is a spectacular collection of hardy plants.

Should temperatures drop, their smiling faces will continue to flower amidst a little snow and ice. Pansies and violas look their best when planted in mass containers. You can choose one solid colour or marry two or more varieties together.

Look for the unique colour combinations in varieties such as the ruffly fizzy lemon berry pansy that bears flowers of soft yellow, edged in grape-purple, or in the maxim marina pansy, a charming variety of purple, lavender and white blossoms.

No spring planter would be complete without a punch of colour from a flowering primula. In the oh-so-spring colours of hot pink, vibrant purples and blues, yellows and reds, the primula is a perfect early season flowering plant.

Low-growing, in wowed colour combinations, the low-maintenance primula actually prefers the cold, damp spring.

Summer is just another step away. Why not take an early start to spring and design a spring container garden for your home? Easy to create and equally fun to make, cool-weather containers are a welcome sign of spring.

Shari Morash is a gardening enthusiast and an accredited designer. Contact her at [email protected]

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