Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Let Containers Take a Starring Role in Your Garden

It’s easy for containers, even great ones, to get lost in the crowd at ground level. So, how do you set the stage for a winning container garden? Think of your potted plants like the members of an ensemble cast, and let each one shine with star quality.

Creating different elevations shows plant and planter at their best. Give your pots a little boost while adding fun and fashion to your garden space. Sometimes planter “feet” are all the lift needed. Choose from many motifs; lion claws for old world elegance or simple leaves for a natural feeling. These simple accessories not only give your containers a finished look, but they significantly improve drainage of the container, which is especially important if pots are to be left out in the winter.

Take displaying your containers to the next level with pedestals. “Pedestals capture the eye and direct it to where you want to concentrate interest,” states Peter Cilio, creative director for Campania International, makers of fine quality garden ornament and containers. “A single pedestal anchors the setting for a grouping of containers while paired pedestals can define an entryway.”

Whatever its role, the chosen pedestal should always be in proportion to the size and shape of the pot. Tall containers look best with a short low pedestal, avoiding a top-heavy look. Urn shapes are the more traditional choice for a tall pedestal. Bring delicate blossoms and fragrant flowers up to eye and nose level with a taller pedestal. Consider the color and texture of a container, choosing a style that complements the other.

Supporting Cast

Help a rising star. Vertical gardening works for planters too. Train small vines or weave loosely shaped plants through a bamboo trellis, iron obelisk or tuteur to create an additional dimension to your planter design.

Once again, proportion is everything. The shape and size of the supporting structure should coordinate with the size of the planter. Experiment with flowering vines such a patio clematis or mandevilla to create an interesting and elegant composition.


A container doesn’t have to hold plants. While any container can be used to create a water garden, containers which are glazed on the inside are specially made for this purpose and provide the best water retention.

More contemporary and non-traditional shapes are the most exciting choices for the creation of a water garden. For example, the glazed Smeralda container from Campania with its rich glaze and distinctive shape creates an immediate visual in the garden. The luminous color and undulating edge reflect the calm, contemplative feel of a water garden unlike any other. Top with a single water lily and add a few oxygenating plants for easy maintenance.

Double Feature

Looking to create winter interest with your containers? Imagine a cast stone planter brimming over with apples or pumpkins in fall or perhaps pine cones, evergreen branches and berries in winter. Using packing peanuts or plastic milk jugs in the bottom helps to adjust for volume. Bring special containers inside for double duty and fill them with dried flowers, Christmas evergreens or seasonal branches.

Fill a small urn with fruit or moss for a holiday centerpiece. Even a small birdbath could be brought indoors as a decorative element filled with oranges, greens and candles.

Face Time

Every garden needs a little whimsy. Many containers are available in interesting styles and shapes. Even found or salvaged items can be innovatively used to create container gardens.

Cast stone Faccia planters from Campania are perfect whimsical elements for your terrace or garden. Planted with grasses or succulents to mimic hair, Faccias are fanciful without being too cute. You can create more impact by grouping all three sizes with the same planting.

When setting the stage for your garden or home, remember to use your imagination and be creative.

Recognized for old-world craftsmanship and unmatched quality, Campania International is one of the world’s most unique manufacturers and designers of fine garden accents. Their products are available at fine garden centers throughout the United States and Canada.

For more information, visit www.campaniainternational.com.