Garden Photo of the Day

Inspiring Container Plantings

Beautiful designs for spring and summer

container planting with both dark and bright foliage
The gold leaves of the sedge glow in contrast to their dark companions.

Today’s photos are from Cherry Ong in Richmond, British Columbia.

I wanted to share with you some amazing container garden designs by Hunter Norminton. I volunteer for a local nursery. Hunter joined the nursery part-time last year (he’s a student and has no formal horticultural training but was highly influenced by his mom), and he has designed so many amazing spring and summer containers, in all sizes. He currently loves blues, and you can see this in his present summer container designs. Hunter says he uses gardening and botany as a way to relax and disconnect from the technical thinking he has to do in his university studies.

container planting with both dark and bright foliageThis container features dramatic color contrasts, with dark foliage from sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas, Zones 9–11 or as an annual) and bright yellow leaves of a sedge (looks like Carex ‘Everillo’, Zones 5–9 or a similar variety), while a dark calla lily (Zantedeschia, Zones 8–11 or as an annual) echoes the dark foliage.

concrete container full of succulentsIt is all about succulent foliage in this container, with some hardy perennial sedums (Hylotelephium, Zones 5–9) and euphorbia (Euphorbia myrsinites, Zones 5–9) mixing with tender varieties such as a huge, beautiful Echeveria (Zones 9–11).

container with dark foliage and light green foliageDark foliage from heuchera (Heuchera hybrid, Zones 5–9), black mondo grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’, Zones 5–9) and lysimachia (Lysimachia congestiflora, Zones 7–9) makes the perfect backdrop to bright silver foliage from lavender (Lavandula, Zones 5–9) and the white flowers of sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima, annual).

container with bright green foliage and red flowersGold sedge foliage sets off a dark-leaved New Guinea impatiens (Impatiens hawkeri, Zones 10–11 or as an annual)

container full of colorful succulentsA small succulent planter, with various hens-and-chicks (Sempervivium, Zones 5–9) in the center and string-of-pearls (Senecio rowleyanus, Zones 10–11) tumbling over the edges.

container with interesting foliage plantsA tall ornamental grass gives this container dramatic height.

container full of purple plantsPerennials work equally well in containers as annuals, with a purple-leaved heuchera and a purple-flowered catmint (Nepeta × faassenii, Zones 3–8) being the main players in this combination.

colorful succulents in containersIt is easy to see why succulents have been so wildly popular. This planting brings an incredible amount of color, texture, and interest, all in an easy-to-care-for package that won’t mind at all if it doesn’t get watered regularly.


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View Comments


  1. nwphilagardener 07/13/2022

    Thanks, Cherry, for a post that reminds us that there is truly an art to selecting plants for mixed containers. Whether it come naturally or is learned by careful observation of the pots that thrill us, we can all learn lessons. By the way, I suspect the golden grass-like plants in a few of these pots is not Carex but an Acorus variety since they exhibit a fan-shaped array of blades and not a full fountain-like form.

    1. perenniallycrazy 07/18/2022

      You're welcome and you're right - the ornamental grass Hunter used in the modern black containers is Acorus or Sweet Flag.

  2. User avater
    treasuresmom 07/13/2022

    Beautiful work

  3. User avater
    user-7007816 07/13/2022

    Containers are not usually my thing but I really liked how you used vivid color contrasts in the leaves.

  4. User avater
    simplesue 07/13/2022

    Gorgeous! Such artistic arrangements! It's much harder to do than people may imagine it is to get such a good arrangement as these!

    1. perenniallycrazy 07/18/2022

      So true! That is why I sent in these photos - Hunter's got a gift.

  5. paiya 07/13/2022


  6. btucker9675 07/13/2022

    Wow - this young man has a real talent and an artistic eye for shapes and colors! Beautiful and I'm inspired to jazz up a few of mine now.

    1. perenniallycrazy 07/18/2022

      Thank you! I was hoping Hunter would respond to your comments but he's very honoured to be featured. Happy Planting! Hope you send in photos of your containers and garden.

  7. gardenconcierge 07/13/2022

    Really lovely container compositions. I'm glad you highlighted succulents and how gorgeous and sculptural they are. Congratulations!

  8. jos29803 07/14/2022

    Your containers are truly a beautiful inspiration. I can't wait to get started.

    1. perenniallycrazy 07/18/2022

      These containers are designed and planted by Hunter Norminton, a co-worker. Glad they have inspired you and happy planting!

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