When garden blogger Daniel Mount was recently in Madison looking at potential gardens for a tour by folks from the Pacific Northwest, one of those we visited was the home garden of Jeff Epping, hort director at Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison. Seeing Jeff's dozens of garden pots of every size and type — all filled with marvelous plant combinations — inspired me to go home and do something!
First I went looking for a large shallow pot that could hold a group of dwarf evergreens. Amazingly enough I found one locally at the Bruce Company. And it looks like it was made to go with our other large outdoor pots made by Wisconsin artists. I planted this low one with things I already had on hand that were waiting for permanent homes in the garden. I also added a couple of small rocks and two self-seeded white pines. And then mulched it with white pine needles.
On the other side of the deck, I gathered plants that were scattered around the garden (in and out of the ground!), put them in pots and grouped them around the Buddha for emphasis. Not perfect but not bad, considering it was very late in the season to being doing this kind of display.
Plants in the display include three varieties of Begonias, herbs, and ornamental cabbages that can take the cooler fall temps.
But the recent frost warnings made me bring everything into the garage for a few days until the overnight temperatures started to rise again. The truth is that many of these plants are going to have to permanently move indoors for the winter any day now. I admit that my containers are a far cry from those at Olbrich, but it's been a fun experiment and certainly has inspired me to give containers more thought in the future.