Spring Container Gardening with Smoke and Mirrors

We are very fortunate here in the Puget Sound area to have one of the best flower and garden shows in the nation – the Northwest Flower & Garden Show.  Mom and I attend every year to find new gardening inspiration.

The show deals in the fantasy of gardening as much as the reality.  That is part of what makes the show so much fun.

steampunk clock tower edited
A steampunk display garden, 2015 Northwest Flower & Garden Show

Early blooming hyacinths bloom alongside fall-blooming hydrangeas.  Outdoor living spaces boast fine fabrics, chandeliers, and artwork because, in a fantasy garden, you never have to worry about rain.  Oh what a lovely dream!

sleeping room
An outdoor sleeping room, 2015 Northwest Flower & Garden Show


willow ball lights
Display garden, 2015 Northwest Flower & Garden Show

Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain

I suspect that in these spectacular display gardens, everything is not always what it seems.

Trees are planted in large pots among flowering annuals and perennials – or are they?  Maybe some are just cut branches pushed into the soil to look like trees.  After all, they are only needed for a short time, and who is to know the difference?

Trying This Trick at Home

This is the time of year in many areas when we are pruning our trees and shrubs anyway.  So why not just push some of those cut branches into planting containers for use as faux trees?

It’s an easy and inexpensive way to add height and texture to spring container plantings.

Curly Willow Container

I already had some curly willow branches in a container left from a front porch Christmas decoration.

willow pot
Christmas container with curly willow branches

I just planted an anemone, a white primrose, and a sedge among the branches, and pushed some clippings from an evergreen shrub into the soil, to come up with this fresh spring arrangement.

Spring container gardening


Spring container gardening

In a few months, I can easily remove the willow branches and the spring bloomers and plant the pot with summer-blooming annuals.

Flowering Quince Container

And here is my little flowering quince tree.

Spring container gardening

Of course, it’s not really a tree, just some cut branches.  Since these branches already have blossoms and leaves, they need to be in water.  So I placed them in a small, partially buried vase in the middle of the container.  The vase is then hidden by the primroses.

Spring container gardening

The beauty of it is that it’s so easy to change later when you want to move on to a different look – no digging up root balls and possibly breaking your container or damaging the plant.

After all, it was just a fantasy.

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3 Replies to “Spring Container Gardening with Smoke and Mirrors”

  1. I run the DIY workshops at the Rohnert Park (Sonoma Co, CA) Home Depot. I administer a fb page:”Rohnert Park Home Depot Do It Herself Workshop”. I’d like to post your Flowering Quince Container idea (so clever sinking the bottle in the pot), but didn’t want to do so without your permission. I always give credit to the blogger or site. Thanks..

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