Containers can highlight uniqueness of plants

It's time to plant pansies, and unless you're among the lucky folks who have flower beds dedicated to a mass of annuals, think pots.


Pansies these days come in some pretty amazing colors that especially pop in mass, but what is most endearing are their pretty faces. Fellow pansy lovers know what I mean. You get a better view of those faces when pansies are used in pots.

Most gardeners have heard the expression for creating beautiful pot arrangements: thriller, filler and spiller. The idea is to have a plant with a wow factor, one to add volume in the middle and a third that spills over the sides of the pot.

If only it was that easy. You also have to consider colors, hues, texture, height, width, how the plants fit together and how they fit the pot. It's more complicated that it looks.

Jean Gardner is modest about her abilities with pots, but you wouldn't know it on a stroll around her West Lake home. She uses pots as accents, for structure and to provide form.

The center of Gardner's back- yard is a formal courtyard with a fountain. Jean's made use of potted palms and boxwoods to strengthen the formal lines and add height.

On the front steps of her home Jean created a seasonal decoration of potted mums with pumpkins and gourds. But she hasn't neglected the pansies. As accents around her home she added mixed pots containing pansies with herbs, other flowering plants, plants with interesting foliage colors or shapes, and even succulents.

"I started out with a picture out of Sunset Magazine ," Jean said of her start with pots. "I took it to Bedford's and asked if they had any of these plants."

That's actually quite clever. Why should you reinvent the wheel? Look for photographs of pot arrangements that strike you. If you see an arrangement while out and about around town, make a note to yourself. And check out the plant pots at local nurseries. Bedford Greenhouses in Augusta and Cold Creek Nursery across the river have some outstanding examples of planted pots. You can save yourself the work by buying theirs or use them as an example to imitate.

Jean said she usually doesn't head to the nursery with a firm idea of what plants to add to her pots. She said she normally spends a good deal of time at the nursery looking over plants to find those that will blend to make interesting groupings in pots.

That's another terrific idea and reason, as if we needed one, to spend more time at the nursery.

Garden events

- Amateur and professional photographers are invited to a Photo Discovery Tour of Pendleton King Park on Saturday, October 30, at 10 a.m. Tom Mills and Ed Belinski will introduce the group to the diverse photographic opportunities in this 64-acre bird sanctuary and park. Participants will be invited to submit their favorite shots for posting on the Pendleton King Park Web site. Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring your camera.

Call Tom Mills at 706 738-4321 or e-mail for more information and to reserve a space. There is no cost for this event.

Pendleton King Park is at 1600 Troupe St. in Augusta.

- The North Augusta Council of Garden Clubs, along with the Heritage Center, will sponsor an Education Forum on Monday, Nov. 8, from 10:30 a.m. to noon in the training room at the Heritage Center, located in the North Augusta Municipal Building. This event is free and open to the public.

The speaker will be the Rev. Jim Bennett, a master gardener and landscape designer who once was on staff of Southern Living. His topic for the meeting will be Shortcuts and Tips to Make Your Spring Garden Flourish.

If you need more information, call council president Karen Oliver at (803) 442-5811 or Wandra Hensley at (803) 279-5176.