Garden Photo of the Day

Colorful Containers in CO

By Kim Charles

We are back with Sheila Schultz today showcasing her many creative containers with captivating combinations–a feast for the eyes!

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Beautiful Colorado!

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  1. frankgreenhalgh 02/03/2017

    Hello there Sheila - Stunning displays of plants in containers - both alone and together. So creative and colourful, and lovely colour combinations. You obviously did not miss your calling in life. Nice follow-up from yesterday's post. Cheers from Aussie land

    1. sheila_schultz 02/03/2017

      Mornin' Frank, although should I be saying, good evening? Thank you for your lovely words, I do enjoy container gardening, especially in large groupings! It's always fun to see how all the pieces can come together to create a unique whole! Have a good weekend!

  2. user-3565112 02/03/2017

    Good morning Sheila, "Nothing is more the child of art than a garden." Sir Walter Scott
    I believe you have an artist's eye for color & plant combinations along with the skill & determination to help plants thrive in a fairly tough environment. Thank you for posting your photos this week & good luck, Joe

    1. sheila_schultz 02/03/2017

      You are making me blush, Joe. Thank you for warm comments that always feel like a needed hug!

  3. NCYarden 02/03/2017

    Hello Sheila. Gorgeous planters. I believe you have inspired me to put some of my spare pots to use this upcoming season. Surely not gonna measure up to your creations, but hopefully good enough to fill some small bare spots in the garden and brighten it up. I love that Colorado landscape photo. Thanks for sharing.

    1. sheila_schultz 02/03/2017

      Container gardening really is my happy place, I'm thrilled you are enjoying these creations! For whatever reason i position very few pots in the gardens which is silly since the right pot w/ the right plants is perfect to fill those difficult places all gardeners face. Remember the banana plant in the back garden yesterday? The dogs use that side of the garden as a path and I finally gave up and put the pot there to keep them going straight as opposed to curving into more garden. It worked!

  4. user-7007498 02/03/2017

    Good morning, Sheila. Your containers are very inspiring, and I already have plans to copy 2 of them for next year ( 2nd and 3rd photos). You brightened up my morning once again on another dreary winter day. Great way to end the week.

    1. sheila_schultz 02/03/2017

      Nothing like a blast of color to open the eyes on a dreary day! I'm so happy you are enjoying last summer's containers, Kevin! I don't know what I would do without coleus, obviously I use it a lot.There are so many color combinations and leaf shapes, it ain't your mama's coleus anymore! Ha! Have a relaxing weekend!

  5. Maggieat11 02/03/2017

    Sheila, as always, your containers are fabulous! Your trips to the greenhouse must be SO much fun! I am curious. Do you use commercial potting soil or do you make your own... and what do you use for fertilizer? Thanks! And... what are the brilliant yellow trees in your last photo? Thanks so much for sharing!!

    1. sheila_schultz 02/03/2017

      Thanks Margaret, I'm glad you are enjoying my work! I have to tell you, my trips to the nurseries can be very challenging since it seems we are often a year or more behind when it comes to getting the newest cultivars.
      Soil and fert... I have to admit I buy the giant bags of soil created for container gardens at Costco. I go through a lot! Fert? I don't have a fave, I just use what is on sale since it leaches out quickly with daily watering.
      The yellow leaved trees are the beautiful Aspen that thrive in the nearby Rocky Mountains. Last fall they put on quite the show!

  6. tmwg 02/03/2017

    How beautiful! Thank you for sharing these.

    1. sheila_schultz 02/03/2017

      Thank you Therese, have a lovely weekend!

  7. User avater
    meander_michaele 02/03/2017

    Yowza, Sheila, who needs strong coffee to get a jolt of morning energy...I'll just look at your pictures #6 and #7 and I will feel ready to conquer the world. If this was an old fashioned Batman comic book, the words BAM, BOOM, KAPOW, POP with multiple !!!!! would be exploding off the pages. I love your use of the colorful coleuses and orange and yellow flowers to create a feeling of invigoration, they go awesome with the cushions of your seating area. And, then, I noticed how you tone things down with your container colors all being very similar and somewhat sedate...BRILLIANT (one last indulgence in comic book enthusiasm).

    1. sheila_schultz 02/03/2017

      Good Morning Michaele, you sure know how to make me grin from ear to ear! This is such a great start to my busy day!!!!! When we chose the cushion color for the loveseats we wanted a color that could make an impact in our full sun location... how do you think we did? Ha! Anyway... it has influenced all the plantings in the container grouping, plus the colors of the containers themselves. Since you mentioned the photos with the multiple containers here's a little design secret. When you looked at those two photos you focused on the container gardens, right? Look at the photos again and see what's behind and above the plants... bamboo fencing and utility boxes attached to the brick wall. Well, when we installed the flagstone patio my eyes were drawn to the ugliness of the multitude of boxes and pipes. The bamboo fencing was a cheap fix but it didn't cover everything so I came up with the idea that if I did a large grouping of assorted containers the 'eye' would be drawn down to the plants instead of just seeing boxes stuck on the wall. It has worked perfectly, and it is rare for anyone to even see the boxes even though they are still in sight! Cool, don't you think? Have a fun weekend!

  8. tennisluv 02/03/2017

    Sheila, your containers are stunning. So much color and texture. Like Kevin, I plan to borrow some ideas from you for this spring & summer. I really like the wall hanging planters and have a couple of large, bare brick expanses that beg for adornment.. Where did you get the planters? Also would you share your potting soil and fertilizer secret?

    Finally, you live in such a geographically interesting part of the world. My husband and I have skied Colorado in the winter but we have never been there at other times of the year. The aerial view of the Aspens and Conifers is just 'plain purdy', as my grandma used to say of anything/one she though was especially pretty.

    1. sheila_schultz 02/03/2017

      Thank you so much Sonya, I'm thrilled you are enjoying my passion! The pieces attached to the walls are called Woolly Pockets and they come in assorted sizes and colors. I use the smaller size that I believe are called Wally One and the ones you are seeing are black. They are pretty darn cool, they come in both inside and outside versions and are made from recycled plastic bottles! I use regular potting soil made specifically for containers that includes a slow release fert. I rarely fertilize these containers unless the plants look like they need a boost. You can order them directly from . BTW, the look is more dramatic if you use multiple pieces... either stacked or staggered.
      We hadn't taken an 'Aspen drive' for a few years, but the timing was perfect last fall for an afternoon of color search... as you can see we got lucky! We live in a beautiful part of the world, we are very fortunate!

  9. user-4691082 02/03/2017

    Sheila, my favorites are the ones with the coleus and sweet potato vine mounted on the wall. Ahhh, can't wait for spring! Thanks for the boost!

    1. sheila_schultz 02/03/2017

      Thanks Rhonda, it won't be long before we start seeing the sweet little leaves popping their little noses out of our drab winter soil! Have a fun weekend.

  10. Sunshine111 02/03/2017

    Greetings from New Hampshire Sheila!

    Yes your containers and combinations are stunning… Inspiration for us all! Do tell how you manage to grow such lovely things hanging on the wall. I have never had success with that, and have tried several times. What is the potting medium, and how often do you have to water them? Thanks for all the inspiration and beauty!

    1. sheila_schultz 02/03/2017

      Thanks Lily... I've been pretty lucky with my woolly pockets over the years. I have the trio on our very boring front brick wall that is in full shade, the stacked duo on the full sun wall out our back door and another stacked duo positioned next to a window on our interior kitchen wall. I use a generic potting soil specifically designed for containers. Watering depends on the location... the shade pieces and kitchen duo typically get watered once a week, the sun duo generally gets watered daily, pretty much the same as any other container plantings.
      I think the biggest issue is the size of the pots you are planting, a 4" pot is max, and I often use 2" pots depending on the plant variety. I always cram 'n jam my container plants, but with woollys, you have to make sure the root ball is deeply set. Sometimes I have been known to plant a 2" plant right behind another, but I general do a single row, If you look at the stacked duo w/ the orange coleus, both rows have 6 plants, 3 Mex. feather grass, 2 coleus + 1 trailer. That recipe has been very successful over the years. I generally add a little slow release fert when planting and then occasionally over the summer when I remember. Hope that helps! Give it another try, let me know how it goes next summer! OH... make sure you change out the soil every year!

      1. schatzi 02/03/2017

        Your brick wall may be boring with nothing on it, but it is a gorgeous background for your plants. I like the brick myself. I enjoy all the discourse and your shared knowledge.

        1. sheila_schultz 02/04/2017

          Thank you Shirley, you are very kind.

  11. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/03/2017

    Well, Sheila, put on your glasses and professor sweater and start your master class on GPOD today. There's simply too much on which to comment; pure candy confection. You know how I feel about your containers and talents. So striking. The one thing that really sticks in my head is the great height that the variegated ficus adds to the container group against the brick. Stunning.

    1. sheila_schultz 02/03/2017

      Hey Mr. Vojt... as always, you made my day! I'm pleased you liked the front trio, I wasn't sure about those plants, but I had overwintered them from pots in the backyard the previous summer so I was determined to use them. I do like using the var. rubber trees, they give such easy height and drama to any grouping, and anything that can give a little pop to the ugly brick on our walls makes me happy! Have an excellent weekend... isn't it time for you to be ordering more plants for your delicious gardens? I'm sure you have a square inch somewhere that needs to be filled??? HA!

  12. annek 02/03/2017

    I so admire your artistic skill and thoughtful design, Sheila. I'm sure you've honed your talent of plant combinations over the years, but your combinations come through as a natural, intuitive ability. Exquisite!

    1. sheila_schultz 02/04/2017

      That means so much to me Kilian, thank you. I recently ran across your Fine Gardening article from a very few years ago and I was once again taken aback at all the beautiful details of your work. Take good care my friend.

  13. sheila_schultz 02/03/2017

    Thanks Diane, I appreciate your kind words. Coleus are really the container gardener's gift, no matter your color palette! Obviously, I prefer bold, hot colors for my location since they have the strength to hold up to our intense sun, but there seems to be a growing range of pinks out there now that have the softness to play well in the shade. So many possibilities, and the selection grows from year to year!
    You are right, the golden leaves are Aspen and they were particularly magnificent last fall! We rounded a bend in the road and we saw this view... I simply had to get a shot!

  14. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 02/03/2017

    Hi Sheila, so great to have two days of your beautiful garden. Your containers are so spectacularly creative that I just want to transport them to my house but that would take away my husband's spring fun. Those wall containers ( are they fabric?) are so appealing the way you've continued with similar plantings below them. From the first photo, I thought that Pot, INC might be your logo but then looked it up and discovered a whole new place that I'll be visiting for pots this summer. Thanks for making coffee hour entertaining and have a good weekend.

    1. sheila_schultz 02/03/2017

      Thank you for your kind thoughts Linda... I'm very happy you enjoy my work. The wall containers are a product called Woolly Pockets and they are made from recycled plastic bottles. I've been using them for years, they have inside versions, too. I love that they can take a really boring wall and turn it into a piece of living art. You made me laugh with the Pot Inc logo... that pot was actually my prize for my first Fine Gardening Container Design Challenge! Small world. Todd Holloway is the genius behind Pot, Inc. and he is also an incredibly talented container garden designer in Vancouver. The particular pot was actually his first, and he very wisely stopped with the large print logo! As you saw from his website, he now has a line of outstanding containers. I adore them all!!! Have a fun weekend!

  15. anitaberlanga 02/03/2017

    Sheila, these photos are glorious!!! I am focusing more and more on container gardening and these are so inspiring. Love the color combos (I have, surprisingly enough, fallen in love with deep brown glazed containers). Thanks for sharing!

    1. sheila_schultz 02/03/2017

      Thank you so much, Anita! Container gardening is an excellent way to be creative, and unless you are hauling your pots in and out, it is soooo much easier on the back! Let your inner artist free and enjoy all the possibilities out there, have fun!

  16. GrannyCC 02/03/2017

    Once again you have wowed us. it is snowing here on Vancouver Island so the pictures give me hope that Spring will come soon. I love all the coleous and are those zinnia's in the pots on the patios. I use the potato vine as well and I love that bright pop of green.

    1. sheila_schultz 02/03/2017

      Snowing on Vancouver Island? That just seems so wrong, Catherine! I hope it melts quickly.
      I do use zinnia's for a pop of color once in a while, but wilt was a big issue last year so I did more replanting than I like. As you have noticed, I don't use a lot of plants with blooms, I mainly use foliage to give needed interest and also to keep everything low maintenance. That said, flowers have their place, especially since they tend to soften the edges of a sometimes harsher design. And sweet potato vines... what did we ever do without them?

      1. GrannyCC 02/03/2017

        Yes it is unusual. The trees are covered and it is below freezing. They say it will turn to rain later today or tomorrow. The garden looks magical but some years we are gardening all year long. Not this year!! I love your use of foliage and I will try it for this year.

  17. schatzi 02/03/2017

    Gorgeous, Sheila! Love the use of coleus and the groupings of pots. My favorite is photo 5
    - beautiful matched pots and terrific wall pots. Love the plant groupings and the color echoes - gorgeous! Thanks for all the beauty and hints on how to do it. Happy weekend.

    1. sheila_schultz 02/03/2017

      Thank you Shirley... you know how to make me smile! I'm elated you have enjoyed my gardens and containers. As I have mentioned before, I design the way I do to make me happy, it's been heart-lifting to know other gardeners enjoy them too! Have a fun weekend.

  18. linnyg. 02/03/2017

    Haven't really posted on this site much so made a mistake that I cannot fix - unlike gardening where nearly everything is fixable, including hiding the mistakes OR highlighting them as if that's what was planned all along! Sheila, your gardens and designs really encourage me to keep on trying!

    1. sheila_schultz 02/03/2017

      No worries at all Linda, I'm laughingly known as the Luddite in our family!
      I'm so pleased you've enjoyed my creative outlet... I always wanted to be an artist, it just took me 50 years before I figured out my medium!!! Keep trying, and as we all know, your pots are only as good as the product you are able to find when it is needed!

      1. linnyg. 02/03/2017

        So, even though I teach US History and am a local historian, I never paid attention to the Luddites in England before. So you taught me something new! Actually, you have all the markings of a teacher - have you ever been one before??? And are you a Master Gardener? You roll those botanical Latin names off like you could say them in your sleep. I, on the other hand, have caused many a nursery worker to laugh at my made-up mispronunciations. Yes, I know Fine Gardening has a pronunciation guide.... sigh. I teach Internationals - perhaps there is a Rosetta Stone program for amateur bontan-iers!

        1. sheila_schultz 02/04/2017

          Oh Linda... apparently I'm pulling off a pretty good scam!!! HA! I'm not a master anything, I just have had the gift of being able to pursue my passion. The reality is that I've enjoyed 'gardening' for years, but these gardens are the only I've ever designed in my life. Container gardening became interesting to me when I was part of a female gardening maintenance crew in the Midwest once my youngest went off to college. It was then that container gardens became more than geraniums and spikes and I found my inner artist. A few years later we moved to CO and I had this tiny blank slate of a yard... I asked my friend to help and 11 years later, it's all history. The beauty of being my age is that I've done it all to make me happy, and even though I can say I don't care what anyone else thinks apparently I do. The last 2 days have made all the aches and pains worthwhile. So, there you have it in a nutshell!

          1. linnyg. 02/05/2017

            Bravo, Sheila!!!

  19. linnyg. 02/03/2017

    How bodacious these all are - and what a miraculous feat that you got all those aspen (actually, probably just one system) in a pot!!! Blew my mind at first. LOL
    My favorite combo are the three wall hangings of coleus and sweet potato vine - seems like I am not the only one!!!. Stunning.
    I will admit that my planters did very well last year since I could control them better. My favorite venue is my Moroccan Patio with lots of that azure blue I saw in Morocco with dashes of white and orange. BTW all the plants in the Moroccan Patio either originate from Morocco or I saw them growing there.

    1. sheila_schultz 02/03/2017

      That particular shade of blue is outstanding, I love it too!
      The trio of wall pockets were the 2nd go round for the season. Two particularly destructive July hailstorms while we were out of town destroyed the initial plantings along with the hydrangea right below them. Luckily I was able to purchase mature coleus and large SPV's for the woolly's and a few Kong coleus to fill in for the shredded shrub! I caught a break with the sun loving Kong's, they were kind and survived their full shade location until the end of the season!

  20. user-7007496 02/03/2017

    A feast for the eyes!!!

    1. sheila_schultz 02/03/2017

      Thanks Kay, so happy you enjoyed the photos!

      1. user-7007496 02/03/2017

        Many years ago, I had lots of house plants, but when I started working two jobs they all died. Now that I am retired, I need to start another garden. Yours have inspired to quit procrastinating.

  21. bsavage 02/03/2017

    Really beautiful, Sheila! I'm in southwest Colorado, so I do a lot of containers and raised beds as well, because there is very little soil here... mostly just rocks covered in a thin film of dirt, LOL! Great ideas for future plantings! Thanks for sharing!

    1. sheila_schultz 02/03/2017

      I've wondered where you live, I knew you were in CO, just not where! Soil is always an issue isn't it! Have fun planning your 2017 containers, we still have a few months left!

  22. perenniallycrazy 02/03/2017

    So lush, original, colorful and unique! I really love your classy style. I also appreciate the many challenges to garden in your state.
    Colorado is a beautiful state - hope I can visit someday.

    1. sheila_schultz 02/04/2017

      Thanks so much Cherry... we've known each other for so long and became friends when we were just figuring out our own styles. You are definitely leading us into the future possibilities of enjoying the beauty around us!

  23. user-6536305 02/03/2017

    Good afternoon Sheila! Your garden is stunning and I am beyond words. I just googled internet that your zone is about 6. Do you bring all the succulents inside the house or in the green house for winter? If you do, do you have any problems with aphids and scales? How do you manage them? Also, I would like to know what type of planters do you use on the walls please? Thanks for sharing your beautiful garden!

    1. sheila_schultz 02/04/2017

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments Lilian... We are actually in zone 5, so every succulent, cactus and tropical plant becomes captive inside for close to 6 months of the year. It's kind of cruel, but it is what it is. I have only had a scale issue twice, mealybug used to be my nemesis, but I've cut down on the number of plants I overwinter and have added a fan to the 'nurseries' to add airflow. The fan seems to be key!
      The wall planters are a product called Woolly Pockets ( )I have been using them for years. They are made from recycled plastic bottles and have both an inside and outside version. They are wonderful and can turn a boring, blank and ugly wall into a piece of art!

      1. user-6536305 02/04/2017

        Thanks so much for your detailed reply! It really helps.

  24. Chris_N 02/03/2017

    Second day of smiles. Thanks, Sheila. Your containers are fabulous. I'll just ditto every word of praise of them already written. I'm especially amused by your golden barrel cactus. Yesterday we could see it through the trees but it wasn't clear what kind of pot it was in. I've seen many head pots planted but never one with a cactus!

    1. sheila_schultz 02/03/2017

      Thanks Chris, your comments mean a lot to me. That pot was the biggest bargain ever for a head pot... I found it on a trip to Chicago and it was around 30 bucks so I hand carried it on the plane home to Denver! Jim already knew I was crazy! I was never sure I really liked her spiky 'bun' but it has grown on me over the years! I always try to throw in a bit of humor!

  25. greengenes 02/04/2017

    Oh Sheila! What a treat this is! Very nice and I love those wall pieces too. The quaking aspen are beautiful. I will never forget being in the mountains of Montana during late summer / fall and seeing canyons with the breeze blowing gently quaking the leaves of gold. Thanks for the inspiration today!

    1. sheila_schultz 02/04/2017

      You're welcome Jeanne...have a wonderful weekend!

  26. meta_chalker 02/07/2017

    I am in awe Sheila. They are all so beautiful. And they are so very beautiful maintained.
    I especially like the wall decorations with the dark Coleus and the bright green sweet potato plants.
    Just gorgeous.

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