Blue Heron landscape Design | Garden Designers Roundtable: What is it about that container?

Garden Designers Roundtable: What is it about that container?

25 May Garden Designers Roundtable: What is it about that container?

There are two types of container gardeners in this world, those that like the containers, those that like the plants in the containers and those that like the way the containers are arranged…THREE!, there are three types of people in this world; those that like the containers, those that like the plants in the containers, those that like the way the containers are arranged and those that like the style of the arrangement… FOUR! There are four… well you get the idea, there is a lot to talk about when it comes to container gardening, and sorry for the Monty Python humor.

What is it about gardening in pots that we love so much, is the pot the showpiece, or is it the plant. I must admit, that I slide between both camps with relative ease depending on the arrangement. A quick internet search for container gardening reveals a vast array of styles and plants. Take a look!

These bold red planters from Living Etc., add life and a vertical element to the garden.

Bold and simple from

Simple and elegant these white vase shapes from planted with grasses provide a clean look and add movement to the patio garden.

Simple and Elegant

Over at wading pools are the perfect spot to grow veggies, just remember to drill holes in the bottom for drainage!

Functional yet playful Veggie gardens

How about a fun way to promote your cause, like this Auto-pot on


Have small backyard? Find usable space for the veggie garden, as seen here from

Veggie gardening in tight spaces

Like seafood? From ubercool container gardener Kerry Michaels at

Seafood anyone?

And here’s our little corner of the world, and our version of vertical container gardening.

Our little container garden!

So in the end, what is the secret to container gardening? Style? Substance? Effect? Fun? In a word… Yes!  Now don’t forget to visit my fellow bloggers sites, for more inspirational ideas about containers!

This month’s bloggers!

Christina Salwitz : Personal Garden Coach : Renton, WA

Debbie Roberts : A Garden of Possibilities : Stamford, CT

Jenny Petersen: J Petersen Garden Design : Austin TX

Jocelyn Chilvers : The Art Garden : Denver, CO

Laura Livengood Schaub : Interleafings : San Jose, CA

Rebecca Sweet : Gossip In the Garden : Los Altos, CA

Rochelle Greayer : Studio “G” : Boston, MA

Lesley Hegarty & Robert Webber : Hegarty Webber Partnership : Bristol, UK

Scott Hokunson : Blue Heron Landscapes : Granby, CT

Shirley Bovshow : Eden Makers : Los Angeles, CA

Tara Dillard : : Atlanta, GA

Please share some of the containers you like to use in your garden, and until next time, May all your containers be overflowing with wonder!


  • Kerry
    Posted at 08:18h, 25 May Reply

    Hey Scott – I love your vertical garden – haven’t seen that idea before. And thanks for calling me ubercool! It made my day (ok, honestly, my month).

    • Scott
      Posted at 13:09h, 25 May Reply

      Thanks Kerry, And you deserve the title ubercool! We love seeing the container ideas you come up with.

  • jocelyn/the art garden
    Posted at 12:31h, 25 May Reply

    I like the fact that all of these ideas are simple, yet have a big visual impact. LOVE the red containers!

    • Scott
      Posted at 13:10h, 25 May Reply

      Well you know Jocelyn, Simple minds, simple containers!

  • Debra Lee Baldwin
    Posted at 12:32h, 25 May Reply

    Hi, Scott — What visually exciting ideas. Great collection. Love the repetition of the red pots, and the way they’re displayed vertically on a wall. And the wading pool veggie gardens are so clever. Not sure what I think about the auto pot, but it certainly is eye-catching!

    • Scott
      Posted at 13:11h, 25 May Reply

      Thanks Debra! I’m not sure about the auto-pot either, but it is interesting to look at.

  • Lesley
    Posted at 12:36h, 25 May Reply

    Some great funky ideas there.
    Thanks for the cool organisation of this month’s blogfest!

    • Scott
      Posted at 13:11h, 25 May Reply

      Thanks Robert and Your welcome!

  • WhitneyFK
    Posted at 12:40h, 25 May Reply

    I enjoyed your post. I could sense your enthusiasm for containers all the way over here in Western CT!

    • Scott
      Posted at 13:11h, 25 May Reply

      My vibes are spreading out across the state! LOL

  • Laura Schaub/InterLeafings
    Posted at 12:47h, 25 May Reply

    LOL I think we have TEN different types of people talking about containers today, what nice variety and different approaches! I love your examples; those grasses in the white pots, those are giving me ideas! Thanks for heading things up today, nice job…

    • Scott
      Posted at 13:12h, 25 May Reply

      Can’t wait to see your ideas, Laura! Thanks for stopping by!

  • Katie Elzer-Peters
    Posted at 12:54h, 25 May Reply

    I really can’t decide which ones are my faves. LOVE the clam photo. I could do that here.

    The red containers are so striking, too.

    I have a neighbor that uses the pool trick.

    And, I’d just LOVE to plant a garden in my husband’s car. There’s enough soil in it, for sure.

    • Scott
      Posted at 13:14h, 25 May Reply

      I really love the clam containers also, Katie. Kerry is a genius! And as to your husband’s car… well, post a pic if you plant it!

  • Pam/Digging
    Posted at 14:46h, 25 May Reply

    I love the clam shell succulent container, but would you drill a hole in the bottom? I would think so. What a great idea though.

    • Scott
      Posted at 05:50h, 26 May Reply

      That one really caught my eye also Pam. Really ties to our New England coastline. I’ll send a note to Kerry about drainage issues with the clam shells. Thanks for the comments!

  • Debbie
    Posted at 14:57h, 25 May Reply


    What a varied and inspiring compilation of containers ideas! I love the idea of using gutters for growing flowers and veggies. Little containers for succulents certainly are popular these days, aren’t they?

    • Scott
      Posted at 05:51h, 26 May Reply

      Debbie, the gutter is interesting isn’t it? And yes, succulents have exploded, and for good reason!

  • ellada
    Posted at 15:31h, 25 May Reply

    I really loved your article on containers. It was very interesting and it give me, some ideas for the decoration of my garden. Thank you.

    • Scott
      Posted at 05:52h, 26 May Reply

      Thank you Ellada, I hope you post some photos of your containers!

  • personalgardencoach
    Posted at 15:47h, 25 May Reply

    The Monty Python bit made my day!!! Loved your take on why we enjoy containers so much. I’m planning on making the post style container display in my own garden soon. – Thanks Scott!

    • Scott
      Posted at 05:55h, 26 May Reply

      Thanks Christina, I don’t seem to make it through a day without a Python bit coming to mind! The posts on our deck have been a hit since we put them up a couple of years ago, and we change the arrangements each year. One day we’ll get it just right!

  • rebecca sweet
    Posted at 18:13h, 25 May Reply

    Great container examples (and great humor, as well!). I think I love the abalone shells the best, and am wondering why I never thought of that! No…I love the wading pools the best….wait, maybe it’s the car. Yes, that’s it – the car’s the winner!

    • Scott
      Posted at 05:57h, 26 May Reply

      I had to include the car photo Rebecca, after the posting from Flora-Grubb. I had no idea there was even a car planting (on purpose) let alone two! Glad you enjoyed the post.

  • Susan aka Miss R
    Posted at 19:33h, 25 May Reply

    Wow, Scott. I never would have pegged you for a contemporary stylist. You go!

    • Scott
      Posted at 05:58h, 26 May Reply

      I guess I have been hanging out with the right GDRT peeps lately, and paying attention! 🙂

  • Jenny Peterson
    Posted at 22:01h, 25 May Reply

    I LOVE the grasses in the white pots! And the red pots on the wall. Sometimes it’s the simplest ideas that can be the most graphic and memorable. Well done!

    • Scott
      Posted at 05:59h, 26 May Reply

      Thanks Jenny! I love those grasses as well, and have tried a few in containers here. Just haven’t found the right containers for the effect.

  • Shirley Bovshow "EdenMaker"
    Posted at 01:00h, 26 May Reply

    Hey Scott,
    Thanks again on your leadership with GDRT. I enjoyed your presentation on the many looks and functions of container gardens.

    • Scott
      Posted at 06:00h, 26 May Reply

      Your welcome Shirley, and thanks for all you bring to the Roundtable! And thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  • Ivette
    Posted at 21:29h, 26 May Reply

    I have decided to do a vertical gutter garden! Just this minute! I saw it via Jayme Jenkins, and now HERE … Done!

    Wow – now I have at least 7 different container projects I want to do! The Roundtable should sponsor a grant so that those of us who are financially challenged can make some of these wonderful ideas happen!

    Thanks for the great post, Scott…

    • Scott
      Posted at 22:25h, 26 May Reply

      Ivette, had I the resources, I would fund any project you wished! Unfortunately, I am challenged also. Thanks for the comments!

  • Kari Lønning
    Posted at 22:02h, 26 May Reply

    Generally, I stay away from container pots and annuals because they require specific attention, but the simplicity of the grasses in the white pots, might just be worth it. Also the baby pool, raised bed idea would be a great inexpensive way for people with really poor soil, or no soil at all to have a garden.

    • Scott
      Posted at 22:28h, 26 May Reply

      Great points Kari! We always start out with grand plans for the containers, but I do love the simple look of the grasses. A couple of years ago we had one Achillea ‘Coronation Gold’ in each of two elegant planters, and one Pennisetum ‘Rubrum’ in each of two others. Both were so simple, but very elegant. I think we will revisit that this year!

  • Susan Morrison
    Posted at 18:01h, 27 May Reply

    All your examples are lovely, but I admit to being most strong to the bold, clean contemporary images at the beginning of the post. I find my eye lingers much longer when a container design uses a few architectural elements to make a strong statement.

    Once again, we share similar tastes!

  • carolyn
    Posted at 06:09h, 29 May Reply

    Great post, Scott, with many unusual and interesting containers.

    Love the veggie garden in tight spaces. I grow most of my veggies in containers as I have limited space and while they are extra work to water I find it very rewarding.

    Container gardening has become so popular that the garden center where I work has one department dedicated to customers that need help in selecting and planting them.

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