Gardening tips: Combination Planters

by Bonnie-Marie Hibbs
A garden is a treasure no matter how big or small it is

When we think of colourful containers and displays in our gardens, it is often that our minds will drift off to beautiful, boisterous blooms instead of the foliage of a plant. There are several stunning combination planters which can still provide a show of colour without the need for prominent displays from flowers.

One of my favourite ways to introduce colour into the garden is to utilise plants with attractive foliage. Often when making combinations, I look for leaves which have vibrant colours and intriguing textures. By checking these two simple points off your checklist, you are one step towards creating a stunning display for your garden.

Pictured above, is one example of the many containers I have made for my garden, which provides colour all year round due to the selection of perennials used. The silver-red foliage of the Heuchera ‘Sugar Plum’ gives the combination of a different look throughout the day depending on the position of the sun. The change of light against the foliage can be very variable. From late Spring through Summer tall stems of petite white blooms form above the red foliage giving the planter another level of interest through the season.

Paired with the Heuchera in this container is the silver trailing leaves of the Dichondra ‘Silver Falls’. Using a form of white in a combination display is a must as it will always make any other colour in the container more vibrant. Dichondra is an excellent plant as it provides a cascading appeal to the container and does a great job of picking up the silver-tones found in the Heuchera leaf, thus drawing the eye to investigate the whole planter.

Lastly, for a splash of colour is the vibrant blue of Lobelia ‘Sky Blue’. The petite blooms are the finishing touch without overpowering the whole display. Red and blue are my go-to colours, along with purple and orange. Using primary colours and a secondary colour together will always provide a satisfying contrast.

If you are unsure which colours work well with each other, a good tip is to refer to the colour wheel. Opposite colours usually provide the most dramatic display and contrast. A few examples of this exercise is pairing yellow with purple and blue with orange.

Combination containers don’t have to be limited to just ornamental perennials. Incorporating edible plants such as strawberries, herbs, and dwarf fruiting vegetables allows you to create not only an appealing display but a practical one too. A question often posed is why plant an annual vegetable in a mixed container? Well, they might only last you a season, but the beauty of planting dwarf vegetables is that they will gift you fruit and then at the end of the season the planter can be changed and re-planted for a completely new look. The options are truly endless! Whether you choose to grow ornamentals or edibles, you can draw inspiration from combinations just like this one and create your very own masterpiece.

About Bonnie-Marie Hibbs

Bonnie-Marie is a qualified Horticulturist who has a number of her writings published in various magazines and website platforms. She began her blog called ‘The Gardener’s Notebook’ in 2012 as a way to inspire others to get out into their gardens and explore the world of plants.

Over the years she has been a guest on 3AW radio and is a regular presenter on Channel 9 The Garden Gurus.

Bonnie-Marie has been apart of the Gardenworld Nursery Team for 11 years and is now the companies Ambassador, Marketing Manager, Social Media Manager and Website Manager.

She is a passionate photographer and shares her work regularly on her social media platforms. She has recently begun publishing videos with more to come to her Youtube channel in the coming weeks.

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