Impress your friends and create your own summer garden container with advice from Petersham Nurseries’ head of horticulture
Words Thomas Broom-Hughes
Petersham Nurseries is celebrating summer with seasonal recipes for the garden brought to you by the Head of Horticulture, Thomas Broom-Hughes. Thomas has created a dramatic container recipe which shows how to replicate their signature planting style. It is the perfect planter recipe for small garden owners or those wanting to add a welcome splash of summer colour to window – boxes, patios and balconies.
STYLISH SUMMER CONTAINER RECIPE
At Petersham Nurseries, the horticultural team mostly use perennial plants to give a natural feel. Thomas recommends using summer bedding (Annuals) for filling in smaller containers, like window boxes and small pots. Use any mix and amount of the following specimens, depending on the size of the pot, as long as it fills the entire container and commands presence. When the plants have finished flowering or when the frost hits in November transfer the perennials to the garden border.
1 large (l/c L) Indian terracotta pot 35 – 38cm in diameter
1 bag (l/c B) of multipurpose compost Liquid seaweed fertiliser
Choose 5 of the following Perennials, use at least 2 of the following Annuals
• Crocosmia – Emily – McKenzie
• Rudbeckia – Cherry – Brandy
• Helenium – Moreheim Beauty or Canararia
• Agastashe – Blue Fortune or Tutti Frutti
• Sedum – Purple Emperor
• Dahlia – any of the Bishop series
• Salvia – Love and Wishes
• Coleus – Sunset Boulevard
• Petunia – Black Mamba
• Antirrhinum – Liberty
• Begonia – Non – stop Mocca
1. Having crocks or stones at the bottom of the pot is important as it allows drainage. Using saucers underneath the pots is recommended as it ensures the plants get enough water, especially when the weather is hot.
2. Fill container with compost – until two-thirds full.
3. Start with the Perennials. Use the tallest first, adding it to the back of the pot (if the pot is to be placed in front of a wall or fence) otherwise arrange the plants just off centre. This helps to keep the container more natural and stops it from looking too neat.
4. Continue to add plants using their colour as well as their heights as a guide. Trust your own creative instincts and initiative.
5. Infill using the Annuals and finish off with further Annuals placed around just one-third of the edge. Don’t go for the typical all round edging – it doesn’t look natural.
6. Mulch the top of the soil with moss, available to purchase at Petersham Nurseries. It looks wonderful and helps retain moisture in the container.
7. Remember to water well, allowing water to run through the container to ensure enough is taken up by the plant.
8. Use a weekly liquid seaweed fertiliser. Shropshire fertiliser recommended.