August Container Gardens: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

August 11, 2013
As our northern Minnesota summer is winding down in mid August, I am making mental and written notes about container annual gardens that worked well and not so well.

Vintage Toaster Planted with Sempervivum
The Good:  This is the vintage toaster I purchased last spring for $5, and planted with hen and chicks.  I like this planter.  If you would like to see how I put the planter together, check out my May post here.

Swingtime Fuchsia Planted in a Galvanized Bucket
The Good:  The swingtime fuchsias that I planted in galvanized buckets, hanging on S hooks and chains from an eye hook screwed into the eaves.  Perfect weather for fuchsias this summer, not too hot.

Sweet Alyssum in a Laundry Stomper
The Good:  Sweet Alyssum planted in an upside down vintage laundry stomper.  As long as this unusual planter was watered every day, it looked great.

Moss Roses in Planted in a Funnel
The Bad:  My galvanized funnel on a broom handle planter that was gorgeous last summer with lantana, left much to be desired with Portulaca, especially after summer daytime and nighttime temps dropped in late July and into August.

The Ugly:  Pink Gaura in a galvanized tub in the front border barely bloomed all summer.  Never again.  

Juncus Big Twister Rush
The Ugly:  First time purchase of Juncus Big Twister Rush.  I don't think it grew or changed a bit all summer.  Never again.

Tuberous begonia in a tea kettle
The Good:  The red tuberous begonia was gorgeous on my potting sink planted in a tea kettle.  A repeat is planned for next summer.

Framed Lobelia in August
The Good:  The Techno Heat Electric Blue lobelia in a galvanized bucket hanging from a wire in a picture frame from a tree.  Still beautiful in August.  Check out the progress on this container planter here and here.

The Good:  Nasturiums in a galvanized tub in my flower border added a pop of bright orange all summer long.  Easy to grow.

Sunpatiens, alyssum and lobelia in a wood barrel
The Good:  Orange Sunpatiens and lobelia with alyssum made a beautiful combo.

Framed Angelina Sedum
The Good:  A very small frame with a miniature pail planted with angelina and sedum acre.  (Perennials)

Coleus with insect damage
 The Ugly:  Maybe weather was a factor but my coleus were eaten up faster than they grew this summer.  I thought it was slugs but not sure.

Coleus with insect damage
Only one out of these three coleus grew much at all.  A bad year for coleus.  Not usually this much trouble so will try again.

Variegated Alyssum
The Okay:  This is my first purchase of variegated sweet alyssum.  Nice foliage but not much blossom.  Probably would not buy again.

Scrub Bucket Annual Container
Luckily the calibrachoa and pansies also in the bucket saved the day!

Lantana in a chicken feeder
The Good:  Yellow lantana grew well in a galvanized chicken feeder with hen and chicks in the bottom tray.

Nicotiana in a coffeepot
The Good:  Nicotiana works for me in pots or in the ground.  One of my favorites in a coffee pot in the high chair and in a wheelbarrow tub this summer.

Diamond Frost in a terra cotta pot
The Good:  Year two of Diamond Frost in a terra cotta pot atop the step ladder.   I think it is a Proven Winner!  (groan).

Other annuals in pots not pictured in this post:

Geraniums did only so-so this season.
Calibrachoa did well in every container.
Verbena was up and down with the weather.  
Impatiens for the most part were beautiful.  Blooming and growth has been slower with cool evenings.  I had a couple of pots of red impatiens in the terra cotta pot edging that dropped a few leaves but I don't think it's downy mildew.

How did your container gardens grow this summer?

Thanks for reading my blog, Carlene

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  1. Northern California where it never gets to hot makes it great for planting, hoooooowever, the deer made a mess of most of my plants.

  2. Oh, I should do this. Go around my yard making "photo-notes" of my garden. This will help me to remember what has done well and what has not.
    Your creativity in your garden is inspiring.

  3. Kind of a strange summer for the flowers - you had a lot of good luck with what you planted and you have reminded me that I need to keep better notes for spring planting. My biggest success has been the petunias that are still looking good this late in August :-)

  4. such wonderful pictures. Flowers are my thing...but it's almost too hot here in Texas for a lot of them...especially by the time August rolls around. The containers are absolutely adorable!

    always enjoy starting by here.

  5. Carlene, you are an inspiration to us all!

  6. Goodness Gravy .. LOOKS amazing girly.. I just loved it all. AND I sooooooooooooooo know what I am doing with some frames that I have around... LOVEEEEEEEEEEE IT

  7. You have the most lovely gardens, Carlene! Here in Southern MN, it was a particularly great year for my shady container planted is huge...

  8. Carlene, thanks for the update! I love looking at your flowers! I had that twisted rush thing last year and I didn't think it did very well either.

  9. I enjoyed the update. Your garden is my inspiration! I didn't plant much at all this year with my move. The only plant that really did great was my sweet potato vine!

  10. Carlene,
    I love seeing pictures of your unique garden. So much fun and whimsy. I love the planted toaster. Adorable and so creative.

  11. Summer is almost over for you? Oh, my! We still have at least 2 months left. I forget that everyone doesn't have such a long growing season.
    Sure enjoyed your gardens this year. . .especially since I didn't do much in my own.

  12. Carlene, you had a lot of success with your plantings this season. I loved how they were displayed. Maybe the weather was a factor or they had disease because I have planted coleus where we live an nothing ate it ever.


  13. Carlene ... you inspire us all with your beautiful garden. We would not even notice the Bad and Ugly if you did not point it out. I just finished with a planting bed and copied your plant in a frame and love it. Also used a funnel for a plant. Nothing has grown very much as yet, but keeping them alive in this heat is all I can do.
    Audrey Z. @ Timeless Treasures

  14. I just love all your fun, unique 'planters'!! Your flowers that are thriving are just gorgeous.

  15. omg- what a fantastic idea, who would have ever thought to put succulents in a vintage toaster- love it!


  16. Your summer may be short but your flowers look so beautiful! In Texas we eagerly plant in April and May only to have everything dry up by July and August. You have a very green thumb!

  17. This is such a great post Carlene!
    You have given me lot's of great ideas, especially with the red begonia in the tea-pot.
    I just love all your unique planters too.
    It's been cool here too but this weekend is looking much warmer.
    Maybe a little summer after all.

  18. I love all your beautiful blooms and especially, the containers. You have a wonderful imagination and definitely a green thumb.

  19. This looks like a full time job! So beautiful. When do you have time to blog? I really enJOYed this post.

  20. The beauty of blogging. Here it is, three years after your original post, and I am really going to benefit from your ideas and advice this summer. Thank you for the wonderful "good and bad" pics. Now I am off to the nursery! :)

  21. I can't get enough of container gardening. My patio is covered in pots, there are hanging baskets with flowers "spilling" their blooms, and I even have window boxes on almost every window of the house. Thanks to your post now I have even more beauties to add to my collection. Thank you for inspiring me!

  22. At my free time I often take photos of my flowers because they are so beautiful... They even make my house look so colorful during summer and spring. I like one of the flowers you got- the swingtime fuchsias. I should buy one for me too. Thank you!

  23. Lovely ideas! My favourite one is the red tuberous begonia in the tea kettle. I have a white begonia in my garden, but I should definitely buy a red one.


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