Contained beauty: Sea Buckthorn

Sea buckthorn provides an unique focal point for this easy and deer resistant container.

Credit: Proven Winners

A new introduction – sea buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula) ‘Fine Line’ – forms a unique focal point for this easy (and deer resistant!) container for a season or two. Columnar in habit, eventually maturing at about 2 m (6 ft.) and unusually hardy to zone 2, this shrub is fine in sun or part shade. You’ll want to take a closer look at its feathery foliage, which turns butter-yellow in fall.

Handsome companions for our shrub are the phlox hybrid ‘Intensia’ and Osteospermum ‘Vanilla Symphony’ – both bloom happily until hard frost without deadheading. Both have very long flowering seasons; the phlox attracts butterflies, too.

In all but the warmest zones (and even then) these two bloomers should be treated as annuals. When you do remove them in late fall or winter, tuck some early spring-flowering bulbs in beside the buckthorn: ‘Tete-a-Tete’ narcissus, crocus, tiny red species tulips and possibly a red-berried Gaultheria (wintergreen) or three.

In January, poke in some cut branches of golden yellow or red twig dogwood (Cornus spp.) to add zip.