container gardens
Pot Gardening - Past and Present

pans, enliven sidewalks, with their masses of tulips and other spring bulbs. Raised in flats, the bulbs are placed close together for dramatic effect. In Amsterdam in May there are groups of concrete containers with yellow-flowering cytisus or broom.

   London, Dublin, and Edinburgh have window boxes and urns that decorate banks, department stores, public buildings, and offices. Azaleas and other spring flowers are followed by hydrangeas and geraniums in the summer and chrysanthemums in the autumn. Plant boxes are often placed on top of department store marquees. These are also a familiar sight in Paris.

   Attractive container plants, like the tubs of agapanthus around the pools at Hampton Court, highlight walks, steps, terraces, verandas, walls, balustrades, and summer houses of English gardens. In Ireland, many pot plants grace the windows of thatch-roofed cottages. The favorites are geraniums and oxalis, a three-leafed plant that suggests the beloved shamrock.

   But it is in southern Europe that pot plants are used with extravagant profusion and gay abandon. Along walls or balustrades, next to splashing pools and fountains, around courtyard entrances, or balconies and rooftops, on steps and stairs, along walks and paths, on patios and terraces, beside doorways and on top of low or high walls, they are scattered with carefree casualness befitting the climate, the tradition, and especially the way of life.

   In all these countries, with their centuries of experience, we can find ideas to adapt to our own climate, styles of architecture, and manner of gardening. The multitude of containers and plants offer many possibilities for adding architectural accent and introducing a distinctive kind of garden beauty.