Dawn Johnson from Memphis, Tennesee sent along these images of some beautiful container plantings she put together for a client. Her containers step outside the usual by combining shrubs, perennials, and annuals, and getting brilliant color from both foliage and flowers. I asked Dawn how she put these combinations together, and she told me that for one, it all started with a plant, sweet olive ‘Apricot Echo’ (Osmanthus fragrans var. aurantiacus ‘Yue Yue Hong’, Zones 8 – 10). She said, “I really fell in love with the sweet olives when I saw them with their colorful foliage. And there just happened to be only two left at the nursery, so I felt like they were meant for me. I then chose the other plants in the containers to coordinate with the sweet olives. Love the brightness of the heuchera!”
In the smaller container, she went for bright plants that would lend color and light to a dim, part-shade area. She started with bright yellow variegated osmanthus ‘Goshiki’ (Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Goshiki’ Zone 7 – 9), and then complemented that color with the plants around it.
Sweet olive ‘Apricot Echo’ (Osmanthus fragrans var. aurantiacus ‘Yue Yue Hong’, zone 8 – 10) has fragrant peach flowers through the winter, and come spring, bright red new growth that contrasts with the green older leaves. The green-and-red color scheme is carried on by bright Heuchera ‘Fire Alarm’ (Fire alarm coral bell, Zone 3 – 8) Nandina domestica ‘Firepower’ (heavenly bamboo, Zone 6 – 11) Lenten Rose ‘Ivory Prince’ (Helleborus ‘Walhelivor’, Zone 3 – 8), variegated English ivy (Hedera helix, Zone 5 – 11), and pachysandra (Pachysandra terminalis, Zone 4 – 8).
Close up of the red and green foliage combining with white flowers in the container.
A second set of planters is built around the brilliant osmanthus ‘Goshiki’ (Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Goshiki’ Zone 7 – 9), with the yellow color complemented by Carex siderosticha ‘Banana Boat’ (Banana boat sedge, Zone 5 – 9), yellow viola (Viola x wittrockiana, annual) and contrasting red dianthus.
Close up of the yellow and red color scheme.
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