Color Cues: White and Green Combinations

In fashion, neutrals are those colors that will complement any outfit. They don’t necessarily stand out, but always looks great in any season, at any event. In gardening, green is our neutral – any palette’s background color. All the shades of green (and there are so many) surround us and evoke feelings of calm and restraint. It’s the color of life and growth – hospital patients heal faster when they can see green plants!*  White is similar – it is restful, subtle and subdued. Every other bloom and foliage color look great with white. Alone, white can really dazzle. In twilight, white is a gift outdoors because it will reflect the fading light. When green and white are the star colors of a garden or container, they can really shine.

So think about the effect you want your landscape to have on you – is there a part of your yard where you'd like a more quiet, peaceful feeling? Maybe it’s a private contemplative courtyard for sitting in the beginning or the end of the day, or perhaps you need an elegant, tranquil welcome at your front entry after a long day’s work, or you’re looking for a goes-with-anything backdrop for a riotous perennial collection… Consider combining green and white, and enjoy the serenity.

*For more information on the responses humans have to plants, see the People-Plant Interaction Resource Center

What the Dutch know about planters

Most European towns have great combinations of plants outside their restaurants, but no one quite knows how to handle horticulture like the Dutch.  These planters grace a sweet lunch and dinner spot in the sleepy town of Delft.

Plant combinations have a tremendous effect on the mood of their surroundings.  Here the color palette is a study in subdued contrasts: silvery-blue, deep purple-black, and touches of creamy yellow... Broad glossy foliage combined with thin, airy stems... It's not jarring but it's not boring either! Summer evenings in the Netherlands last until after 10pm, so mix these elegantly casual planters with a few great cocktails, and you've set the perfect stage for interesting conversations that stretch over hours.

Fall Container Gardens- Shopping

At any garden center right now, next to the pumpkins, there are so many options for fall container garden plants.  While pansies and mums are the most common choices, you don't have to be limited.

Ornamental versions of cold-hardy edible plants offer a range of color, texture, and size for your fall container garden.  Consider swiss chard, mustard greens, kale, cabbage, and herbs like sage.

Be discerning when you're shopping!  Some fall plants have been on the garden center floor for a while, so check the roots!  Carefully slide the plants out of the pots and check for healthy roots.  Make sure the 6-packs of pansies have six healthy little plants in there!  The season doesn't last all that long in Iowa, but it's worth having healthy plants to enjoy.

Loading the cart with fall annuals

Loading the cart with fall annuals

Little helpers with fall annuals

Little helpers with fall annuals

This is a great activity to include children in.  Our kids got into counting out the plants, looking for matching colors, and checking to make sure the plants were healthy.  They carried plants to the cart and tried different arrangements for the fall container garden at home.  With so much fall foliage to choose from, you can have awesome containers without relying on the ubiquitous mums!

So many fall annual choices for fall container gardens!

So many fall annual choices for fall container gardens!

Garden Container Inspiration - Go Big!

Looking for some container garden inspiration?  Check out these amazing containers! I love getting inspired by large corporate installations – they are so grand!  Our own home gardens might not require planters that tower overhead, but the punch and strength of these babies can be scaled to back patio size, at a fraction of the cost. These containers were outside a Michigan mall, and some were along the main street in Frankenmuth, MI. Check out other inspiration from Frankenmuth here!

The standard recipe for an awesome container is just three parts: thriller, filler, and spiller. The thriller stands high, the filler adds dimension and medium-height, and the spiller drapes down the side of the container. It’s easy to get a container right if you use the basic recipe. It’s not the only way, but it’s tried and true.

So if you're wanting some container garden inspiration, look around your yard and think about going big!  Stick to the thriller, spiller, filler formula if you're nervous, or riff on it if you're confident.  Enjoy the garden container inspiration you can find all over- big or small.