Flower Formula

Yesterday, I tackled a little project after work.
I thought you might be interested.
You may not be.
That's a chance I'm willing to take.

I have been dissatisfied with these planter boxes for quite some time now. Like a year.

These big uglies came with the house. They were undoubtedly built especially to flank our backyard steps. They had potential to be nice and I tried sprucing them up by cleaning and painting them. The mission was unsuccessful. Obviously. They always look yucky from the dirt seeping out between the boards and splashing up off the ground. I guess that's what happens when you fill something with dirt and sit in on the dirt. White is maybe not the best color choice for a planter.

I'd been looking for some big pots to replace them for a long time, but large pots are really expensive. I needed two very large pots...forget about it.

So every time I go to Lowe's or Wal-Mart I wander through the garden center, just to see if there are any awesome sales.

When I was in Fitzgerald last week, I found just such a sale. Well, Mama found it, and she took me there.

I got these big giant red planters. They are made of resin, so they are lightweight and durable, but they look like glazed pottery. They were on clearance. Thank you Better Homes and Gardens via Wal-Mart. My home and garden are better because of you.

I keep finding humongous red stuff that I need to purchase when I go to Fitzgerald. What gives?

David moved the old planters out of the way and filled the new pots up with dirt, without me even asking. Thanks, Dave-O. Yesterday I went and picked up some plants to fill 'em up.

Check me out. Getting my garden on in my dress clothes. What, you don't garden in a dress? I was losing daylight and just had to roll with it.

Please ignore my funky hair. Thank you.

I'd like to show you my formula for filling big planters. Yes, it's a formula. I use it in all my large containers. Like these on the front steps.

Are you ready for this? Are you ready for the amazing planting formula?

OK, here it is. Plant something big and tall in the middle and something small and colorful around it.

Pretty good, huh? This is why you're reading the blog. Because I'm so full of useful information. Right?

But wait, there's more. Here's what you do.

Step 1: Choose your plants.

Choose a tall shrub that is at least as tall as the pot that you will be planting it in. The shrub will be the permanent fixture in the pot and then we can plant seasonal things around it for color. This way, you save money by not having to change every plant in the pot each season. Thrifty. It also adds height to your arrangement for visual interest.

I chose a Sky Pencil Japanese Holly for my tall shrub.

You also need colorful plants to go around the base of the shrub. I usually use just one type of plant, but since this pot is so big, I decided to use a few.

I chose Pansies for color. In a smaller pot, I would just go with Pansies. They love the cold and will be pretty all winter.

I also picked up some Violas, because they are a trailing plant, which means they will grow long stems that hang over the side of the pot. I love that.

I also mixed it up with some ornamental cabbages to add contrast and fullness.

Tip: I buy all of my plants in the smallest size that the garden center sells. By buying baby plants I save a lot of money and in two weeks they will be just as big as their older brothers that I would have had to pay double for. If you can have a tiny bit of patience, you can save a lot of money.

Step 2: Arrange your plants in the pot.

Try different ways to see what looks best. If you are making two pots, like I did here, make sure both pots are arranged the same. It's easier on the eyes. I also always put the big plant in the middle and the most interesting plants (in this case the trailing Violas) near the front.

Here's my little mock-up arrangement.

Step 3: Plant!

Here's the fun part. Take all of your plant out of their little containers and plant them in your big pot. You'll find that most of the plants will have their roots tightly bound together from growing in a pot that is too small. Gently separate the roots before you plant them in their new home. They will be so happy to be free from their life in a superstore tiny pot that they will love you forever. They will repay you by growing fast and strong.

Feel good about yourself. You are a plant liberator!

Lady is extremely interested in the planting formula. She is my best student.

However, she suddenly lost interest when David offered to take them to the park. I can't compete with that.

Eager souls.

Here's the finished product:

Remember the plants are just babies right now, but they will fill up the pot within a few weeks. Patience, grasshopper. Patience. It's going to look great!

Are you working on any fall/winter gardening projects? I'd love to hear about them. Maybe you want to tackle one now, because you have my ultra-awesome formula?

Tall Shrub + Seasonal Plants with Color = Garden Delight

Sharing this project with friends at:
Somewhat Simple
A Crafty Soiree
Tip Junkie
Just a Girl
Between Naps on the Porch
Skip to my Lou


  1. LOVE this! Gardening overwhelms me....this feels attainable!..Now - How do I keep them alive?

  2. Great Post! However, if you scroll to the picture of Jack and Lady in the back of the car, it should be noted that Jack jumped into the back by Himself three times in a row. Not a usual feat for his nimble front, two legs.

  3. Your new red pots are lovely! The plants look great in them! So jealous that you can keep flowers alive! : )

  4. They look great! Too bad I kill everything really quickly!

    Come link up:

  5. The photos R awesome.
    I have those same red pots, unfortunately, I didn't get mine on sale.
    I planted red verbena in mine...food for butterflies.
    Red has been my color in the garden this year.


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