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Hostas, maidenhair fern, ornamental grasses of many kinds, dwarf varieties of lillies, and many climbers make for dramatic container plants.
“Favourite plants, isolated from others for better viewing and enjoyment, can be wonderful. Hostas look very dramatic in containers. Similarly, maidenhair fern (Adiantum pedatum) is glorious in a pot, as is Schizostylis coccinea, which flowers for weeks and weeks in a container.” – Therese D’Monte Ornamental grasses are excellent in containers. Try sedum, blue fescue, northern sea oats, black mondo grass or switch grass. Dwarf varieties of lilies can easily be grown in containers. Not only do they look lovely, they fill the air with wonderful fragrance. Good drainage and a loam-based soil are imperative. For optimal effect, plant bulbs 15 cm (6″) deep and 15 cm (6″) apart. Keep them well watered during the growing season. Beautiful climbers like clematis can be grown in containers. Use a large wooden barrel or a container that is at least 60 cm (24″) deep and 45 cm (18″) wide. Ensure your container has extra drainage holes and fill it with a good soil-based medium. Fill the pot to within 10 cm (4″) of the rim to allow for the addition of a layer of mulch in spring. Clematis suitable for container cultivation include:
For your container perennial miniature garden, consider the following plant selections:
Easy Dwarf Perennials Alchemilla alpina, A. ellenbeckii -lady’s mantle Antennaria dioica -pussytoes (cat’s foot) Aquilegia caerulea, A. flabellata -columbine Armeria caespitosa -thrift Artemisia schmidtiana ‘Nana’ -wormwood Dianthus alpinus, D. gratianopolitanus -pink Erica -heather, many dwarf varieties, colours and blooming periods Euphorbia myrsinites -spurge Gentiana acaulis -gentian Geranium subcaulesence -cranesbill Iris crestata -crested iris Leontopodium alpinum -edelweiss Phlox douglasii -phlox Pratia angulata -white star creeper Primula auricula -primrose Saxifraga aizoon, S. callosa, S. cotyledon -saxifrage Sedum acre, S. kamschaticum, S. spathulifolium, S. spurium -stonecrop Sempervivum -hens and chicks, esp. varieties with large rosettes Solidago minutissima -golden rod Thymus serphyllum -thyme – Ingeborg van Driel, GardenWise Magazine writer A trough garden is the perfect way to experience the delicate beauty of alpines. You can make your own lightweight version of the stone farm troughs originally used in these miniature gardens. All you need is a styrofoam cooler, plywood, 1-cm (1/2″) wooden dowelling, nails, sand, peat and cement.
– Carolyn Jones, GardenWise Magazine writer and photographer