Bee Creative with Spring into Summer Garden Pots

I just love bee-ing creative with my Spring into Summer terracotta pots and containers! Our fantastic Winter into Spring planters worked a treat with large winter interest shrubs and perennials you are sure of a stunning display.

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Our large Winter terracotta pots are full of plants (shown below) that were chosen for contrasting foliage and seasonal flowers, but now it’s time for a change.

The Skimmia japonica ‘Rubella’ were replaced in April with some stunning Astrantia ‘Hadspen Blood’ and a few trailing white Bacopa, now in Early June we are ready for the next stage of the transformation.

Interested in creating the ‘Designer look’ for yourself the link below will help inspire you or keep reading for the full plant list and assemble instructions for sumptuous Summer pots >> How to get the Designer look with Outdoor Containers, troughs, pots and planters.

When it comes to injecting life into your summer pots and outdoor containers it really is time to let your creative juices flow. This is not a job for the faint-hearted and certainly a task that requires some careful planning and forethought.

Keeping a Garden diary and recording details and dates is a great way to recall timings and planting schemes used in previous years or seasons. A sketchbook also comes in handy to plan layouts and colour schemes. I use both when it comes to designing my next seasons containers and usual prepare six months ahead.

I always allow myself plenty of time to organise your planting scheme, this way I can grow the plants required, pot up or propagate any tender perennials required, or order my chosen plants from local grower or garden centre.

Creating a stunning display is a little like flower arranging, we are looking for an immediate effect. You don’t by a flower arrangement and wait for it to look good so you want an instant appeal from your pots too.

The difference with a live planted container is as things grow and develop your display will change as plants mature and change with the season. A good example of this is the small bronze Canna to the far right of the photo below will grow very quickly in the summer sun and it’s bold leaves will begin to dominate the container.

In-turn the small flowered deep purple Solanum in the rear (that has only a few flower buds) is underplanted with a tropical climber called a Rhodochition. The tubular bells of the burgundy Rhodochition are followed by a vivid pink trumpet in the center of each flower.

The Coleus ‘King Henry” planted centre of the pot amongst the strong upright leaves of the Phormium helps connect the burgundy of the Astrantia ‘Hadspen Blood’ and has already been flowering for well over six weeks.

The display and colour scheme was inspired by a visit to Oxford botanically gardens last fall, when the garden team visited the famous gardens and a local arboretum for inspiration.

Allowing creativity and being inspired by observing others at work is a great way to learn and develop your own skills. Following a blog, reading an article or watching a gardening show will allow you to absorb ideas. I often end up taking notes and scribbling down ideas at the weirdest moments, taking photos for me is an essential record and storyboard of seasons and years in the garden , more about this later.

I am going to let you enjoy the following photographs without interruption, scroll to the bottom to see a great close up shot of the finished container and be sure to come back late this year when I have added late Summer photos.

The delicious chocolatey rich burgundy of the Aeonium was the basis for this scrumptious container, the Heliotrope and Calibrachoa added for splashes of lilac and plum purple. Astrantia, Phormiums and Hedera all carried forward from our Winter display are very happy in this full sun yet sheltered location.

Heavily planted pots like the one above will require checking daily, deadheading watering and feeding will be routine tasks to keep the container at it’s very best. The tropical climber mentioned earlier will need encouraging to climb up the bare stems of the Solanum and the Terracotta pot may require occasional cleaning.

I expect this Summer display to last well into the Autumn and will be replacing many of the plants with an Autumn bonanza of Lantana and Hebe ‘Autumn Glow’. So watch this space lot’s of exciting plant combination to follow.

I am sure you will of enjoyed my Spring to Summer planter and would hope you feel able to share with your friends by utilising the social share buttons below! I appreciate your visit and hope you will continue to follow my Head Gardener adventures on Twitter, Facebook and Social Blogging.

Grow with me on


Stephen Pryce-Lea

Head Gardener and International Horticultural Consultant




“It’s a beautiful thing when a career and a passion grow together, when you find it in a Garden it’s like finding Paradise“

iGrowHort – A Head Gardener’s Horticultural Journey of love, life and learning.



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About Head Gardener 290 Articles
Award winning, 40 something year old professional plantsman and horticulturalist with National Trust, private parks and estate management background. My vast plant knowledge and hands on techinical experience, afforded me the opportunity to work in various horticultural landscapes, in the UK, USA & Eastern Europe. Having worked in both garden retail & the design service industry gave me the practical diversity and managerial skill set, required for running a large prestigious gardens and stately homes. I strongly believe knowledge is to be shared and have worked closely with people and staff of all ages and abilities keen to develop their passion for gardening, including groups of children, special needs and adults. I have hosted guided walks, talks and tours for those keen to learn about cultivated and wild plants, garden development, history and design. As an member of the NNCPG and National Trust, I am actively involved in the preservation of several important plant collections both in public and private gardens throughout the UK. “It’s a beautiful thing when a career and a passion grow together, in a garden it’s paradise” Follow @IGrowHort on GardenTags. Stephen is passionate about gardening as Head Gardener with a team of ten staff he manages a prestigious Cheshire country estate of 55 acres, inc wild flower meadows, woodland, organic kitchen and formal gardens. Follow Stephen today”

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