Garden Photo of the Day

Eye Catching Container Gardens from British Columbia

By: Kim Charles

I'm a sucker for heucheras and it shows. The Lysimachia punctata 'Alexander' was a gift from one of my clients years back. She was a garden volunteer in a public garden in Victoria and she brought me a couple of nice perennials.  I cherish these little things – brings a smile to my face when it comes alive every spring.

Our friend and fellow gardener, Cherry Ong from British Columbia, has been very busy this past season, creating innovative container gardens with a unique mix of succulents, perennials, and annuals. With so many great photos to choose from, I have decided on a 2-part post. Enjoy!

"Here's a mix of Spring and Summer containers I've tried growing this year. I do like to mix up perennials and annuals. This year, I've tried more and more succulents. I still have to try growing many other types of plants, and will experiment more in the future."

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Fabulous new leaves on this Rheum 'Ace of Hearts'. It seems to prefer cooler weather in my experience. Definitely "hydrophilic." 

This Kalmia latifolia 'Little Linda' has been growing in a container for several years now and it is most definitely a showstopper in the spring. You can almost hear them pop when the blooms open. 

One of my younger perennial additions: Enkianthus campanulatus. I've had it for two years now and can't resist those edged pink nodding and pendulous flower clusters. For you grass lovers out there (like obsessive neurotic John Markowski), I grow a lot of Hakonechloa in containers and the ones in the photo have been in the same containers for more than five years. I top them off with compost each spring just like the rest of my garden.

More spring color going on in the carport container garden.  Osmanthus heterophyllis 'Goshiki' in the foreground, Corylus and Choisya in the background. 

Sempervivum in these Craigslist found cast iron urns. I couldn't resist these urns, and they were such a fun find. The bejeweled rock is a precious gift from a fellow gardener. Glass ball picks found on clearance one year at Target would you believe? Sedum spurium 'Dragon's Blood' is a keeper among the stonecrops that I have tried. 

Spring fireworks by the front door – my Sciadopitys verticillata showing off its new foliage.  

Underplantings in one of my Japanese maple containers. Unfortunately, we had a warmer summer than usual so the lobelia fizzled out. 

The carport container garden during the summer. I do miss Spring and Summer already. 

Meet my "Little Uni" (Japanese for sea urchin) pot. This is my first time to grow Mangave (this one is called 'Moonglow') and I must say I am loving it. Fingers crossed we make it to next year. 

View Comments


  1. frankgreenhalgh 11/06/2017

    Hi Cherry - It is a delight to see your creative and wonderful containers today. Your experimentation is working a treat. You are indeed a very talented gardener. Love the 'Little Linda', cast iron urns and 'Spring fireworks'. Your Part 2 has already been uploaded on the blog, but I'll keep 'my powder dry' until tomorrow (have you heard that one?). Cheers from down under.

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/07/2017

      Thanks Frank. Kim sent me a heads' up e-mail first thing this morning with the double uploads. No worries from here. Glad you like the experimentation.Hope I never run out of steam. Is it summer in Oz yet? I think our winter here started three days ago.

  2. jeffgoodearth 11/06/2017

    always always perfectly snazzy!

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/07/2017

      Thanks a lot Jeff.

  3. user-7007498 11/06/2017

    Good morning, Cherry, and Wow, Wow, Wow. Your containers are spectacular. I have been developing my container skills over the past few years, and have realized the best ones have trees, shrubs and perennials. Yours are so inspiring, and have given me more ideas. I love the Kalmia. Although it is the state flower of Pennsylvania, I know very few people who can grow it successfully in their gardens here (due to the heavy clay, disturbed soil). I never tried it in a container, but I will now. What great foliage on the Rheum.

    So inspiring. Will be referring back to this post next spring, and am so looking forward to tomorrow. Thanks.

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/07/2017

      Thank you Kevin. You're totally right in your observation that the best containers have trees, shrubs and perennials. I love the fact that the Kalmia is the state flower of Pennsylvania and I can't think of a better way of showing them off than having a pair of containers right at your front door with those luscious spring time blooms. The one I have is in a 5 gallon container. I top the soil off with compost every Spring and try not to disturb the spent flowers after blooming so as not to interrupt the following year's blooms.

      1. Maggieat11 11/07/2017

        Awesome! I may have to try them this coming year!

  4. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 11/06/2017

    Stunning, stunning, stunnig, Cherry!!! Makes me want to run out and start gardening. Wrong season, but who cares!? Love everything. Now you have me asking myself why I don't have an Enkianthus. Shucks. On my list. Great collection of photos.

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/07/2017

      Thank you very much Tim. We love gardening any season any time of the year... it's in our blood. I've been on the lookout for Enkianthus for the longest time and when I saw it at the corner store I grabbed it. I've seen larger specimens only at 2 places here and that was last year - a local nursery and at Home Depot. Perhaps your Home Depot will have them next Spring. As an added bonus, if you love its spring flowers, you might love its fall foliage and berries too.

  5. Sunshine111 11/06/2017

    Scrumptious Cherry! Somehow I missed this post when it got posted last week. I only discovered it when I saw part two this morning. You really have the magic touch I am envious.

    1. frankgreenhalgh 11/06/2017

      Both posts were uploaded today, Lily - so you didn't miss it. Cheers

    2. perenniallycrazy 11/07/2017

      Thank you Lily.

  6. Kim_Charles 11/06/2017

    Good morning! It seems we had a back end issue with Part 1 & Part 2 of this post on the eletter side. Stay tuned...the eletter for Part 1 will be sent out tomorrow and you have seen Part 2 in the eletter format. Sorry for all the confusion. Bottom will be able to see both of Cherry's posts in the end.

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/07/2017

      Thank you Kim.

    2. sheila_schultz 11/07/2017

      Whew... I thought my brain cells were becoming toast faster than I thought!!! Kim, thanks for making me feel better!

  7. Chris_N 11/06/2017

    Cherry, it's no secret that gardeners drool mentally (OK, sometimes physically) at the sight of wonderful garden photos. My email does not show graphics automatically so it must be some kind of Pavlovian response that, as soon as I see your name in the GPOD email, I start to drool. I don't know what your design process is but clearly you put a lot of mental effort into each of your designs and they are wonderful.

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/07/2017

      Thank you Chris, I'm blushing! I gotta have a life outside of my regular job right?

  8. cheryl_c 11/06/2017

    Cherry, so glad I checked back and found this! Every picture is worthy of mention, each showing such delightful combinations of plants, colors, textures, designs - hard to pick a favorite, but the one with the glass picks from Target was truly arresting! Fabulous!

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/07/2017

      I don't know anyone who doesn't love Target. I was sad when they closed shop for good here in Canada. Thanks for the kindest compliments Cheryl.

  9. sheila_schultz 11/07/2017

    Part 1 is equally as lovely as Part 2, Cherry!!! I was SO confused!
    Hmmm.... maybe growing Hakonechloa in containers is the way to go! Now I just have to find them in one of the neighboring nurseries I have yet to visit in Puerto Vallarta! Gorgeous combos, each and every one.

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/07/2017

      You're not confused about the order. Kim sent me an e-mail this morning that due to a computer glitch, it automatically announced Day 2's posts before Day 1's. I'm going to try to grow a new Hakone called Sun Flare. I've been looking for Nicholas but haven't found some yet. Maybe next year. These grasses are really spectacular during late summer and fall. Miss you and hope we see each other again. Wishing you a continued joyous retirement!

      1. sheila_schultz 11/08/2017

        I miss you, too, Cherry. I'm pretty comfortably retired for the moment, but containers are my passion, so who the heck knows what the future will bring?

      2. oldsquaw 11/08/2017

        I have tried Nicholas. It’s not as lush and easy to grow as the others.

  10. user-6536305 11/07/2017

    Your Kalmia latifolia 'Little Linda' looks so good in bloom. It is such little finicky little shrub to grow. I had it blooms each year but the foliage is not vigorous and looks really tired. How do you take care of it? Thanks for sharing.

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/07/2017

      I have two Little Linda. One in a garden bed and one in the ground. Both seem to be doing well. I make sure the one in the container doesn't become dry. I top it up with a layer of compost in the Spring as with my perennial garden. In the summer, I put a plant nanny in the container to make sure that it has extra water on those hot days. It receives mostly morning sun and is nestled between other perennial containers. I also do not disturb the flowers once they are spent because I find that it affects the blooms for the following year. They're really easy and beautiful perennials to grow in containers - the blooms last for three weeks.

  11. OregonGardenGal 11/07/2017

    Beautiful Cherry! What a great retrospective on the year. I love them all but the osmanthus/corylus/choisya combo might be my favorite...or those kalmia flowers...or the heuchera. Too hard to choose!

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/07/2017

      Thanks Nancy. Gary Lewis of Phoenix Perennials really opened my eyes to the beauty of perennials, trees and shrubs in containers. Although they cost more to start, they do last for way way longer than annuals so they pay for themselves in the long run. As I get older, I try to select dwarf varieties because the larger ones become more and more difficult to repot over the years. I guess I'm going to need more help in the future. I hope to see you rgarden photos on GPOD soon. Have a great week!

  12. User avater
    meander_michaele 11/07/2017

    Well, if nothing else for today (heavy rain), thanks to you, Cherry, my fingers are getting lots of exercise scrolling up and down and back and forth. Yep, I have yesterday's gpod sharing open also... so it's a total immersion day for me as I try to file away inspiring vignettes for my own future attempts at container magic. You definitely don't limit yourself to a particular how you left the base planting area of the Sciadopitys verticillata fairly minimal...just adorned with interesting clumps of moss(?). Anyway, the Japanese Umbrella tree itself is so fancy with each tip ending in its own fireworks show in green, it's nice to let it have the stage all to itself. The blooms on the Kalmia 'Little Linda' are beyond stunning...they certainly evoke an "oh, Wow" response. What a treasure the dragonfly adorned rock've used it to such lovely effect. OK, I'm going back to scrolling. Thanks so much for your generous sharing and your fun and informative responses.

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/08/2017

      Thank you Michaele. I've been inspired to try other styles mainly from your's, Jeff's, Sheila's, Tim's and all our other great gardening friends' influences. I fondly remember Kielian when I see the dragonfly jeweled rock. Tim describes the clumps of moss as the Sciadopitys' fuzzy slippers. Actually, that plant didn't make it from last year but I thought it was kinda cool so I just left it as is. The Sciadopyts has been moved and replanted into another container this fall. So far so good but we'll see how he fares through the winter. Fingers crossed.

  13. user-6625972 11/07/2017

    Why am I no longer able to pin photos from your site. I loved adding special plants to Pinterest to help me remember plants I want to add to my garden. Disappointed.

  14. bsavage 11/07/2017

    More beauty! I see you have at least one Japanese maple in a container... do you overwinter inside? I have to bring mine inside here in Colorado, but it wasn't successful last winter as it leafed out inside when we had an early warm spell (February), but then dropped those leaves with a late frost (still inside), and then never leafed back out again. I'm trying again this year with a new Japanese maple, but I'm wondering if you, Cherry, or anyone else here has any advice or insight. Thanks again for sharing your lovely containers and gardens!

  15. user-7008735 11/07/2017

    So much loveliness, Cherry! You have a great eye for putting together interesting colours, shapes and textures. Here's hoping that the snow will stay on the mountains where it belongs this winter and that spring can begin in January with the snowdrops and crocus as it should!

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/08/2017

      Thank you and hope so too (and I have to say I really love the snow in the mountains).

      1. user-7008735 11/08/2017

        I do, too, Cherry -- both for the joy of cross country skiing and snowshoeing up there and for its beauty. We need something to do when it's not gardening time!

  16. NCYarden 11/07/2017

    Just more awe and wonder, Cherry. That maple looks so good. It was a terrible year for many of the maples here with the weird and confusing weather. Luckily none lost, at least no signs yet, just less showy. That Enkianthus is jewelry really. I am ready for the wind down but seeing these photos sorta reinvigorates me. Though I don't know what I'm saying I suppose...still so warm here and the first signs of Fall color just beginning. Thanks for sharing.

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/08/2017

      Thank you David. I'm sorry to hear that your maples had a terrible year. I hope it will be their year in 2018. They do reliably come back in my experience. I also feel the same way about wanting to garden when I see others' amazing garden photos but I do welcome the winter rest from the garden, mainly because there are a lot of things to do to prepare for and during the holidays. Savour all your fall colour - I've discovered that is the secret to loving fall since the colors are fleeting. Warm regards.

  17. Meelianthus 11/07/2017

    Cherry, I can hardly express my delight at once again seeing your stunning containers - and what fun you must have creating them. It is definitely your passion and one that you have mastered. It would be hard to pick a favorite, they are all just stunning. Do you do all of your planting in pots and not in the garden? It sure works for you! Thanks for sharing all this beauty full of great ideas!

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/08/2017

      I plant in both but my garden is so fully planted, it leaves me little room for new plantings (unless something dies or becomes invasive) that I have no choice but to plant in pots. Thank you Linda.

  18. btucker9675 11/07/2017

    More gorgeous, creative works of botanical artistry! Much inspiration for my containers next Spring...

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/08/2017

      Thank you.

  19. Maggieat11 11/07/2017

    Again, Cherry, I LOVE your creativity and plant choices. Such a pleasure to see your creations. Thank you so much! GREAT container finds on Craig's List!!
    Do you have a career in horticulture in some way?

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/08/2017

      Thank you Margaret. I am in no way connnected or educated formally in horticulture. I discovered the love for gardening about 9 years ago and doing my own garden precipitated this discovery/journey.

  20. [email protected] 11/07/2017

    So happy to see the additional photos- Love them all! I am down in Washington, out near the foothills east of Seattle, and wonder how your pots hold up through winter, or if you move them to shelter. You are my kind of gardener- nothing like a clearance sale, or free or found objects to add to our creative endeavors! Now I think I will go check out Craigslist...

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/08/2017

      Thank you. My pots hold through winter fine. I do very little moving except for the succulents (like the Agave ovatifolia). I do dress up the pots by the entry and exits of the home because I love the green all year round, more so in the winter when it is sparse. I find that evergreen perennials are a great investment because of that year round interest. Craigslist has been one of the funnest places to search for garden treasures. You'll never know what you will find everytime you look. All my garden urns are from Craigslist - be they large or small. Hope you derive the same fun from container gardening, gardening in general and searching for garden treasures.

  21. [email protected] 11/07/2017

    One more thing- in the photo of the underplantings in the Japanese Maple with the lobelia, what is the variegated plant? I inherited something quite similar, and can't remember what it is!

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/08/2017

      It's Skimmia japonica Magic Marlot. It becomes more fabulous in the fall and winter months when it blooms.

  22. Cenepk10 11/07/2017

    Cherry !!!! Magnifique !!!! Urchin pot is so killer - your pots are unsurpassed. Truly.

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/08/2017

      Thank you and we can thank Lowe's hardware for that very afforable uni pot. Another reason why I love going to the hardware.

  23. GrannyCC 11/07/2017

    Cherry I just love it all. Congratulations. I admire your design skills and how you have paired the right kind of plants in the right container. Love seeing your posts.

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/08/2017

      Thank you Catherine. How's your garden these days? I think you will always have better weather where you are.

  24. VikkiVA 11/07/2017

    Hurrah here is part 1...LOL Just as spectacular as part 2. I love your Little Uni and that perfect pot you have it planted in. Always a thrill to see your talent at work. Vikki in VA.

  25. oldsquaw 11/08/2017

    Cherry, these are stunning. I’m new to succulents, and yours look very happy. I hope “Little Uni” and Moonglow do well. They are perfect companions.

  26. greengenes 11/08/2017

    Wow again Cherry! Each one is so beautiful! The kalmia is so amazing! And what a great craigslist find of the urns! You have mastered the pot for sure! I really enjoyed how you told us a little about each photograph. Thanks for sharing your wonderful pots!

  27. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 11/08/2017

    Hi Cherry, your mangave, ‘Moonglow’ is gorgeous but, of course, the pot makes it shine. You definitely have a gift for picking the right pots and plant combos. Since we’re in AZ for the winter, we’re hoping to pot up some great cacti combos. These photos have given us some great ideas.Thanks.

  28. hedygalow 11/09/2017

    Gorgeous containers! How cold are your winters? Most things don't survive in containers in New Jersey, USA

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