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Let's what I remember...others, please add in.

First, select your container to match your setting, such as formal, rustic, etc.
Select compact plants that will not need support or limited support unless the design of your container includes a support.
Also, note the mature size of the plants so one plant won't overgrow the others.
Select an odd number of plants.
Select a variety of textures and colors.  Make sure your colors compliment the plants or background in your setting.  
Note the leaf and stem colors as well as the flowers in de terming
color/interest as the major part of your arrangement will be leaves.

Colors include pure colors, and their tints, tones, and shades. For
example, you might use a white flower theme very dramatically by
including a variety of leaf textures, flower sizes, some flowers with
yellow center, and a splash of silver-leafed plant, such as Cholchester
White (dusty miller), Powis Castle artemisia, White Nancy deadnettle,
white caladium, blue oat grass, lamb's ears, .

Try mixing a "tall", couple of "round", and couple of "trailing". Some
recommend selecting the tall or dominate center first. Then, find at
least two more that will bend or contrast in flower and/or leaf with the
center one.

Also, remember that grass can give very interesting height, color, and texture.
This year's Fine Gardening container design challenge includes one tree
or shrub, one grass or sedge, one perennial, one annual, and one
"wild-card" plant of your choice.

The challenge for 2005 was to select three to five plants for
foliage...no flowers allowed. The winner used Creeping wirevine
(Muehlenbeckia complexa), European ginger (Asarum europaeum), Variegated
society garlic (Tulbaghia violacea Variegata), Black mondo grass
(Ophiopogon planiscapus Nigrescens), Rex Begonia (Begonia cv.,
tropical), Sage (Salvia officinalis Nazareth).

For 2004, containers were to include one annual, one perennial, one
vegetable, one herb, and one "wild-card" plant. The winner used
Portulaca (Sundial orange), Hyssop (Apricot Sprite), Sweet Pepper (Sweet
Pickle-it had an orange color), Purple sage, and Bunny tail grass
(Lagurus ovatus - white flowers) in a square hypertufa pot.

I have a blue but wide container and have started with Mona Lavender
Plectranthus, dwarf blueberry bush, Cyrtomium falcatum (Japanese Holly
Fern), Alchemilla (Lady's mantle), and a lovely clover with large leaves
and delicate pink flowers that I found growing in my fence row. Can't
make up my mind yet about the fifth plant. I found a interesting gold
oregano but decided to put it elsewhere. I am considering an orangish
grass that would blend with the stones behind it.

Would you like to share some of those tips? 


--- Bonnie Holmes <holmesbm@usit.net> wrote:

> I know what you mean about putting together
> containers. Fortunately, the
> Trial Garden Volunteers have worked on container
> arrangements for plant
> sales. We had a couple of instructors who gave us
> lots of pointers. So,
> I'm finding it getting somewhat easier. 

Bonnie Zone 7/7 ETN

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