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Now the temperatures are warming we can all get on and enjoy putting out some summer colour. If you don't have much of a flowerbed, or a patio or balcony, you can still make a visual impact. Try and match up your pots to help unify the effect – decide on plant colours and see if they are enhanced by your pot colour and texture.
Work on the design plan by using three elements- a ‘thriller' to give central height and interest, a ‘filler' to compliment the main pot theme and a ‘spiller' to tumble over the edges. A Fuchsia, Cordyline, Phormium, a tall grass (Pennisetum ‘Rubrum') or Pelargonium could form the ‘thriller' element. A ‘filler' could be Nemesia, Felicia, Impatiens or Osteospermum. The ‘spiller', Calibrachoa or mini trailing Petunias, Verbena or trailing Nepeta or Dichondra ‘Silver Falls', looking effective against a black glazed pot. The choice is so large in each range, it is easy to get carried away with too much of a mix of plants. Try and stick to a choice colour range and repeat the pattern, just as you would in a border.
If you’d rather not have the expense of using non-hardy patio plants each year, you can use hardy or perennial plants as a basis for your scheme. Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve' makes a good ‘thriller', as does the long flowering Convolvulus cneorum. With regular watering, deadheading and feeding to promote blooms, you should enjoy a stunning seasonal display through to the first frosts. That great Geranium, Rozanne, will make a good single specimen and tumble down a pot too.
As with many of the plants at the RHS Chelsea demonstrate, you can grow anything in a pot, as long as it is large enough. So for your corner of Japan add Acers and bamboos (Fargesia nitida), or the Mediterranean with a dwarf fan palm (Chaemerops humilis) and olive, or an attractive veg corner, with plants such as Rainbow chard and decorative dwarf Hestia runner beans.
Plant Manager, Tates of Sussex