Garden Photo of the Day

Sheila’s containers in Colorado

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Sheila Schultz

Let’s finish off the week today by revisiting Sheila Schultz’s Denver garden, this time taking a peek at her containers. She says, “I’m pretty passionate about gardening in the ground, but that can’t hold a candle to my love for designing container gardens. Every year my containers give me the opportunity to reinvent the feel of our back and front yards. A simple change of color creates a whole new feel to our space. What’s not to love about that?

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Sheila Schultz

“I use annuals, perennials, tropicals, edibles… whatever strikes my fancy, but I’m especially wild about using succulents and cacti in many of the containers I design. In my prejudiced opinion, there are very few plants that can equal the drama of a beautiful agave… and pencil cactus, don’t even get me started, I couldn’t live without that plant! (In case you are wondering what I do with my succulents and cacti in the winter, our upstairs becomes ‘The Little Shop of Horrors’!)

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Sheila Schultz

“Most of the containers I’m including today are from our sunny back patio and deck, but there are two photos from the front. Next to the shaded front stoop, there is a very boring brick wall. I had tried all sorts of things to bring interest, but nothing made that wall special until I discovered Woolley Pockets. They are easy to plant, made from recycled plastic and I think they make a statement. I typically use similar colors when planting both the Woolley’s and the trio of containers on the nearby stoop. The overall effect tends to make a visual impact.”

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Sheila Schultz

As stunning as always, Sheila. Thank you for sharing! And have a great weekend, everyone! Hint—-spend it taking pictures of your garden…..

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Sheila Schultz

It’s STILL prime time to take some photos in your garden! So get out there with your cameras and send some in! Email them to [email protected].

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Sheila Schultz

Want us to feature YOUR garden in the Garden Photo of the Day? CLICK HERE!
Want to see every post ever published? CLICK HERE!
Want to search the GPOD by STATE? CLICK HERE!
Check out the GPOD Pinterest page! CLICK HERE!

View Comments


  1. user-1020932 09/13/2013

    i knew today would be awesome and i was not disappointed. i agree about the agave and i have the battle scars to prove it. cacti/succulents=living sculptures
    all great and i especially love the "potheads". reading about the evac of boulder. not much i can do but hope it passes soon.

  2. RenataCT 09/13/2013

    Spectacular! Great combinations of colors and textures. Those Woolley pockets are a great idea. My favorite is the grouping of containers in the 1st photo. Gives me inspiration for next year's projects.

  3. bee1nine 09/13/2013


  4. flowerladydi 09/13/2013

    Beautiful Sheila!

    LOVE the Lady's head and the faces on the patio!,,, so much character,,,kind of like the term " potheads " that Jeff used! -:)

    You do such a great job with the succulents ,, and I totally agree with you!

  5. gloriaj 09/13/2013

    I can only say WOW!!!!!!!

  6. typwc 09/13/2013

    I just love all of these pictures but my favorite is the Woolley Pocket wall. I'd love to know how you planted them. Are you concerned that they may damage the brick with longterm use? You are an inspiration, Sheila!

  7. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 09/13/2013

    Oh Sheila! You are a genius. You've got some great coleus this year and great combinations.
    Jeff- saw that you had commented that your containers were fading. Maybe you should just use tropicals. Isn't Tennessee like zone 10 or something!? :)

  8. wGardens 09/13/2013

    Great! Especially love the Woolley pockets and surrounding plantings. Wonderful combos.

  9. User avater
    meander_michaele 09/13/2013

    Nothing like sitting down to the computer with an "oh, goodie" feeling...yay for Sheila's containers. To quote Billy Crytal's Fernando, they "look mahvelous" (yikes, that probably dates me). He would probably especially love the "potheads".
    I am a huge fan of your Woolley Pockets...the way you've arranged and planted them makes them a living picture on that plain brick perfect!
    Your back patio area is very elegant ...such handsome flagstone and super comfy looking seating. I enjoyed seeing the silver aspens from a different view...they really have beautiful trunks.

  10. Quiltingmamma 09/13/2013

    Lovely. I am quite fond of the 'ladies' as well...and well, the entire back deck that they are planted on.

  11. hostagal 09/13/2013

    Love, love, love the head planters! In the Woolley Pockets photo, what is the taller broad leaf plant next to the house? Your use of succulents is outstanding. Thanks for sharing!

  12. marymax 09/13/2013

    The containers are beautiful. What is the trailing plant in the two outside wooly pockets and in the container in the back in the first grouping. It's very interesting...

  13. cwheat000 09/13/2013

    Sheila, your containers are always world class. You never disappoint us.Those wooly pockets are fabulous! I adore the seafoam artemesia under it. I don't think that would survive in my climate, unfortunately. Your patio area is stunning- the furniture, the fire pit, the stonework, the surrounding trees, and of course, the containers. The red calebrachoa is a great choice with all the silvers and the coordinating cushions. I know I am being greedy, but it leaves me
    wanting even more. I assume you entered this years Fine Gardening container photo contest. I can't wait to see that. Thank you for feeding my addiction to your garden.

  14. sheila_schultz 09/13/2013

    Good morning, my 'pothead' loving friends! Excellent name, Jeff! Glad you all liked this small selection of containers, and Vojt, you're right... the selection of coleus was amazing this year! They are the perfect alternative to flowers if you want a more carefree container garden.
    Typwc, planting woolley's is easy, just remember to use only full size plants since the smaller plants have trouble getting enough water. Cram the pocket full of plants and don't forget to use different leaf shapes and textures for interest. There are both inside and outside versions of these pockets. My inside pockets have been hanging for 5 years and I've had no damage to the painted wall, the outside pockets are taken apart for the winter. If you follow the watering instructions, you will have no damage. Hope that helps.
    Michaele, I love the aspens, too. My gardens will never be the same if I lose them.
    Hostagal, the broad-leafed plant is an Endless Summer Hydrangea.
    Marymax, the trailing plants in the tall container and 2 outside pockets are Orchid Cactus hybrids. The one in the center pocket is a Zig-Zag Cactus.
    Cwheat, I love the look of Cali's, but I don't know that I will use them again. These are replacements for the original plantings, they tend to be glorious in our sun and heat and then all of a sudden they are dead. I'm mad at them ;)
    Thank you again, my friends. I'm going to be smiling all day long!

  15. user-1020932 09/13/2013

    sheila, trust that when one hires as many hole diggers and wheelbarrow pushers as i have over the years you learn to use the term "pothead" quite frequently and sometimes even to describe containers
    vojt, some days in february i wish for zone 10 and i think it's more me getting tired and faded moreso than the containers

  16. tractor1 09/13/2013

    Sheila definitely has a great eye for perspective, her planters are arranged fabulously but so is where they are placed. And I love that patio, with that comfy red love seat... and just the right amount of plants arranged with generous space that I don't feel like I'm browsing a plant nursery. I need to see lots more photos.

  17. tractor1 09/13/2013

    Shiela, I like all your photos but I love that planter with the red coleus.

    The birds I feed planted black oil sunflower seeds, they dropped down between the large pine bark nugget mulch where the birds couldn't retrieve them, so they sprouted... next year I will plant lots of black oil sunflowers:

    terieLR: Thank you for your condolences. Time will heal the loss. Meanwhile if not for Newt we'd not have the two new kittens.

  18. garden257lover 09/13/2013

    Hi Sheila,
    Can you tell me if they are some mail order places you would recommend to buy succulents? I want one or two like the type in your "head".

  19. sheila_schultz 09/13/2013

    Tractor1 and Meander1, I think you need to come on out to Denver once everything dries out and we'll all sit on the 'way more than comfy' loveseats and toast all of our gardening friends!
    Tractor1, I love that coleus, too, but when I was pinching and pruning a couple of weeks ago I discovered the backsides all had scale! It was very weird, I've never seen scale on coleus before! The fronts still look healthy, but those little buggers seem to like the copper color?
    Anyone else ever have scale on their coleus? I'm very curious!

  20. sheila_schultz 09/13/2013

    Garden257lover, I haven't bought succulents online yet, but this coming year I might for unusual varieties. If you live near a Botanic Garden, check and see if they have a Cactus and Succulent Society. Those are the folks that can give you more info than you will ever want to know ;) That said... if you have a Lowe's or Home Depot close by, they are doing a big business with cacti and succulents these days. Now that their outside plant sales are waning, c & s will start appearing. Also, check your local nurseries. Cacti and succulents are hot right now! By the way, if you are looking at the tall beauty, her 'do' is a succulent called 'mini chalk sticks' with a trailer draping over her shoulder called 'Dicondra.' The face pot succulents on the patio are a small 'tree aeonium'(flower shape) and a variety of Rhipsalis. Have fun playing!

  21. thegardenlady 09/13/2013

    really great containers, and I agree with Tractor1, your photos are fine, don't be so hard on yourself. Tractor1, condolences on your loss. You'll probably always miss Newt, but have fond memories and know you gave Newt a good life.

  22. terieLR 09/13/2013

    I certainly see why succulents & cacti are your preference Sheila. Their growth is much slower and they stay right where you put them. I find the large annual containers a bit more challenging to keep balanced when the foliage explodes and shadows it's closest neighbor. (as with most perennial gardening) Your containers are divine!

    Silvers do the trick to soften your gardens and beautifully placed rocks. It's ALL very pleasing to the eye. Love your style. You have challenged me to introduce some orange... maybe this fall would be a good time to take the leap. (I'm such a pastel kinda gal)

    Thinking of you all in the Boulder areas tonight.

  23. tractor1 09/13/2013

    thegardenlady: Thank you for your kind words.

  24. sheila_schultz 09/13/2013

    thegardenlady, thank you and tractor1 for complimenting my photography. As all of us know, it's a challenge to get the right light and positioning. Photography is such an art, and having the right equipment trumps everything. My new 'point and shoot' is making me happier!
    terieLR, I fell in love with succulents and cacti because of their beautiful lines. You are so right that they maintain their shape with no effort from me, and watering is dreamy because it is not everyday during the heat of the summer. But, I do find that in groupings of containers, you still need that pop of color and leaf texture of annuals and perennials to enhance the beauty of the succulents. I've been experimenting a lot the last few years and many succulents can handle more water so I combine plants that are not normally placed together in one pot. I've yet to rot a plant, and my clients have also been successful!

  25. janetsfolly 09/13/2013

    Sheila, you never disappoint! I agree with everyone that all is lovely, but I especially like the silver lady.
    Tractor1, so sorry about your Newt. Made me feel much betterr for you to hear he left you the kittens.

  26. sheila_schultz 09/14/2013

    My last post after a couple of lovely days.

    Your comments have inspired me. Thank each and every one of you for looking at my photos and giving me your observations. My gardens and containers will be better next year because of each one of you.

    I have learned from your words that the silver color rocks in the shade, especially with a hot color by it's side. The combo takes away the darkness. And... succulents are not only my dream container plant, but they seem to intrigue many of you. How cool is that?

    My suggestion to all of you is to play with plants that you don't know, both in-ground and in containers. You will be surprised with the results. Some will work, some won't. What's new about that?

    Thank you once again for your thoughtful comments. They will all carry me thru our long winter and challenge me to have more fun next spring!

  27. perenniallycrazy 09/28/2013

    Wow Sheila! I am in awe of your creations. Fabulous photography too. I'm kicking myself today for not having checked in for awhile. I've missed a lot of great posts. Tractor 1: Sorry about Newt. Hope everyone is well and enjoying fall.

  28. user-7007071 07/06/2014

    Where do I get those gorgeous 'head' plant pots? Looking everywhere with no success.
    I'm in Australia by the way!

Log in or create an account to post a comment.

Related Articles

The Latest