Nearly every house and garden presents numerous attractive settings for container plants. Suburban gardens, estates, small city backyards, and summer cottages-all can be enhanced by this type of gardening. A few of the seemingly endless possibilities include entranceways, steps, courtyards, walls, rooftops, balconies, patios, breezeways, lawns, driveways, walks, sundecks, windowsills, porches, summer houses, even tree stumps.
Let us start with the entrance, a focal point for every house. A simple arrangement consists of similar container plants at each side of the doorway. If the house is informal, painted tubs will make a cheerful note, while urns or ornamental pots are more appropriate if the architecture is formal. The arrangement, however, need not be symmetrical, since a single container at either side, particularly if the doorway is off-center, is pleasing. A large specimen can be balanced by a grouping of small pots, and various other interesting combinations can be worked out. Sometimes, the front entranceway can qualify as a
summering-out place for house plants, especially if they are not exposed to strong sun and wind.
Side and rear entrances can also serve as backgrounds for pot plants in casual groupings. For sunny steps, consider tubs of petunias, or dwarf dahlias, or boxes of herbs to be used in cooking. Tuberous begonias, fuchsias, patient Lucy, and fragrant nicotiana solve the problem of what to grow in shade.
Porches and Patios
Porches or verandas, traditional or contemporary in style, offer numerous settings for pots, window boxes, and hanging baskets. Indeed, the entire container garden can be concentrated there so that plants can be easily cared for. If the porch is open on three sides, it will afford exposures to suit a variety of specimens.
The patio or terrace, beside or beyond the house, where family and friends gather to eat or rest, is an ideal location. If it is formal, select clipped evergreens and arrange pots in symmetrical rows, perhaps lined up against the house or along the edge of the terrace. If the site is informal, make casual groupings of one or two tall plants with smaller ones in front. Either way, allow for a few large plants in tubs or boxes for accent and height.
Walks and Driveways
Container plants may line walks and paths that lead to the house, garage, or garden. They can rest on paved areas along fences and walls and on driveways where they are not in the way. If the driveway adjoins the foundation of the house, plant containers may be placed there. In their small city lot, Mr. and Mrs. Moses Alpers of Salem, Massachusetts, closed off their driveway with two three-foot wooden, custom-made planters and joined them with a low picket gate that serves as an entrance. The driveway area beyond, transformed into a summer terrace, is decorated with pots of geraniums, heliotropes, passion plants, and tomato vines. Lounge chairs are stored in winter in the unused garage, which also provides storage space for the planters which have wheels.