Garden Photo of the Day

Containers by Deanne Fortnam, Part 2

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Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais

Here is the second in our series of four awesome container designs by New Hampshire gardener Deanne Fortnam. Here’s what she says about this masterpiece: “This arrangement features from the top in clockwise order, ‘City of Portland’ canna, ‘El Brighto’ coleus, ‘Inky Fingers’ coleus, ‘India Frills’ coleus, ‘New Wonder’ scaevola, ‘Shadow Dancer Marcia’ fuchsia, and ‘Summer’s End’ dahlia. This arrangement also includes a dwarf papyrus (Cyperus isocladus), that shoots its elegant stems throughout the planting, which unifies and softens the composition.” Another stunner, Deanne. Thanks!!

See more containers by Deanne Fortnam…

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  1. arboretum 01/26/2011

    i'm z. 5 just north of boston; maybe you're z.5 or 4? would you plse share some of your technicals here?:

    -Do you leave out any of your glazed pots for the winter, raised up on masonry or wood blocks and covered w/ a poly wrap or bag?
    - who are your primary area nursery vendors for annuals and tropicals?
    - I'm sure you must overwinter your tubers and brugs; what annuals do you overwinter and how?

    - when planting water-loving plants,like alocasia and colocasia, with non-water loving plants like coleus, do you keep them in their own mono-culture containers within the larger container?

    thanks so much, deanne, and congrats on all your hard work!

  2. ncgardener 01/26/2011

    Wow, Wow, Wow! That is gorgeous. I am trying something in a large pot with Canna's and elephant ears and I plan on sprinkling in a few annual in the Spring. Thanks for the ideas.

    F.Y.I. I am in Zone 7/8 on the coast and I take in my glazed pots. I learned the hard way the first winter that it is not a good practice to leave them out. Empty or full they just came apart. :-(.

  3. Deanneart 01/26/2011

    Thanks ncgardener and mindy!

    Mindy, we are also Zone 5. All the glazed pots get emptied, cleaned out and then stacked upside down on a wooden pallet my husband made for me in my compost/utility area. I cover the whole stack with a couple of tarps before the snow flies.

    I travel for plants and also mail order things. My favorite nurseries are The Farmer’s Daughter in South Kingston, RI, a really outstanding place, Walker Farm, East Dumerston, VT, Lake Street Gardens, Salem, NH and The Mixed Border, Hollis, NH. And yes, indeed, I overwinter quite a few things. I take tip cuttings in the fall for some non-woody plants like Coleus, Strobilanthes, Alternanthera, etc. For woody plants like Fuchsia, large Cuphea and Phygelius I bring them in and store them dormant. The dormant room in the basement stays at 48 to 52 degrees and the plants in there only need a splash of water once a month or so to keep them from completely drying out. Some plants like my large specimens of Acalypha, Abutilon, Euphorbia cotinifolia and the Fuchsia standards I keep in the green under lights. I have 40’ of lights that house my collection. The really large Cordyline Australis, Dracenas, Sanchezia speciosa and cane type Begonias are in my south and west windows. I’ve also successfully wintered over my Salvia ‘Black and Blue’ dormant the last couple years.

    I don’t create mono culture areas within an arrangement. I’ve found that the colocasia/alocasia/papyrus etc. do fine with my watering regimen. Once the containers are established they do get watered every morning until the water runs out the drain holes. Usually by August I have to start giving a second watering in late afternoon. The only thing I’ve done to segregate plants in a container is for Pennisetum grass, I’ll put a barrier around the grass to keep the roots from infiltrating the mature Abutilons and Acalyphas that I bring in for the winter.

  4. gardengirl96 01/26/2011

    This is a fabulous combination and it really lifts my winter blues. I really appreciate the exchange of information.

  5. sheilaschultz 01/27/2011

    Cram 'em and jam 'em... my philosophy when it comes to container gardens. When it works... you have Deanne's beautiful containers. What more could you ask for?
    Thank you for helping us thru the winter months and giving advice for over-wintering our 'babies'. No one has ever given the specific advice that you have... I'm still trying to deal with my interior space in Denver. Definitely need more lights!!! So far, they are doing well, next 3 months will tell the story!

  6. sheilaschultz 01/27/2011

    PS ... I empty my Vietnamese glazed pots as much as I can, then cover them with garbage bags. It seems to work so far in Denver... 3 years now. There is only so much energy in our 60+ grandkids home. I'll let you know if they continue to survive!

  7. arboretum 01/27/2011

    deann, thank you so much for answering all my questions!
    I wish i could clone you for that quality alone!what an extensive base of knowledge you have in that lovely head of yours. Have you done/ are you thinking of doing container workshops? maybe at some of your vendors? i think you would be so great at Tranquil Lake's 2 open garden workshop days and i'm going to write to them about you. I hope we two might co-visit; i believe we have some CT friends in common.
    best, and thanks so much for the education!

  8. arboretum 01/27/2011

    p.s. i take it you have not had luck trying to overwinter ppl pennisetum? Every year, I buy many and use them like Gertrude Jeckyl used her potted hostas- spot-fillers, and pillars of needed form and color.

  9. Deanneart 01/27/2011

    Thanks again all! So nice to hear from you Gardengirl96, Sheila and Mindy, and yes I've been working on how and what to overwinter for a long time. This year my experiment was Cuphea micropetala and it is doing great in the dormant room. Can't wait to see what it does for me next summer.

    Sheila, we bought those stainless roll around shelving units from Sam's club and my husband attached four foot fluorescent lights to the bottom of the shelves. They all run on timers and they are next to my utility sink in the basement so it makes for easier care.

    Mindy, I've actually overwintered Pennisetum rubrum in the past but I decided it needed too much light and space and it's inexpensive and easy enough to find in the spring so I don't keep that any more but, I've got some of those great P. 'Purple Prince' under lights this winter as I don't ever want to be without it.

    I've toyed with the idea of doing a container workshop in the past but I'm usually too busy with my spring schedule of getting the gardens in shape and planting my own containers not to mention keeping my business going to have the time to do any spring workshops.

    And yes Mindy,we have some of the same friends in CT and I'd love to get together this year!

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