Fine Gardening Project Guides

Container Gardening

Guide Home
Garden Photo of the Day

Shelley’s Container Designs

This Canadian’s use of foliage and texture is incredible

Shelley's container designs in British Columbia

These photos are from frequent Garden Photo of the Day contributor Cherry Ong from Richmond, British Columbia. They’re not of her own containers, however, but are from container designer Shelley Brignall at Phoenix Perennials. Shelley’s designs truly inspire Cherry, and she wants to share some of Shelley’s most stunning container designs from the past couple of years.

Cherry says, “Don’t be intimidated by these being packed with so many interesting plants, for all you need is just a small sampling for your own home pot. What I love about these is the suggestion of all these wonderful combinations and textures, which one may otherwise miss in a huge nursery if they were not highlighted together.”

container with lots of colorful succulents and orange and blue flowers

container packed with plants that are dark and cool in color

container with dark foliage and light yellow flowers

container with bright, colorful foliage

container with lots of tiny succulents

above view of a container with colorful foliage

container with dark and colorful foliage plants

different view of the container above

container with small japanese maple and other colorful foliage plants

close up of container above


Have a garden you’d like to share?

Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!

To submit, send 5-10 photos to [email protected] along with some information about the plants in the pictures and where you took the photos. We’d love to hear where you are located, how long you’ve been gardening, successes you are proud of, failures you learned from, hopes for the future, favorite plants, or funny stories from your garden.

Have a mobile phone? Tag your photos on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with #FineGardening!

Do you receive the GPOD by email yet? Sign up here.

Previous: Lustrous Silver Container-Challenge Results Next: One Window Box, Four Seasons
View Comments


  1. JuleMG 07/04/2012

    Wonderful combos! I like seeing some perennial plants that could be placed in my garden at the end of the season.

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 07/04/2012

    Hmmm, being presented with all these beautifully put together pot compositions made me feel like I was in a lovely restaurant and the elegant dessert tray was brought to my table...and there sits one scrumptious looking work of art after another. If I were shopping at that nursery, it would be hard to resist not splurging and bringing one of those beauties home. There is no doubt that Shelley is an artist. And, Cherry, your pictures are great! I especially appreciated the times when you took not only the overall view but then zeroed in on a second shot so we could see the finer details. All very inspiring!

  3. cwheat000 07/04/2012

    Beautiful, thanks for sharing. My favorite is the black and white container.

  4. bethnbijoux 07/04/2012

    First, I truly admire folks like Shelly who are able to put together such beautiful and amazing pot combinations! It is a skill and yours are just divine!

    Second, I wish we had a "thumbs up" button for the comments. Meander1, your words are ALWAYS so eloquent, well thought out and gracefully phrased! I am glad you are an active particpant in this blog, as I truly enjoy reading what you have to say!

  5. tractor1 07/04/2012

    They're all evoking those long ago times with pennies clutched in my hand at the candy store, I want them all but I can't choose!

  6. sheila_schultz 07/04/2012

    Simply spectacular... The color combos and texture variations are a feast for my eyes. Thanks Cherry, for showing us Shelley's beautiful designs. Happy 4th everyone!

  7. perenniallycrazy 07/04/2012

    Thanks to all and happy 4th!

    Meander1 and tractor1: You've captured my sentiments exactly.

    JuleMG: I think that is the added bonus of having perennials in containers, they become part of your garden bed at the end of the season or when they've grown out of their containers.

    I'm sorry I don't have the names of the plants in each creation - I was too busy "drooling" over them at the time. I hope Shelley can help you with these.

    Have a great day everyone.

  8. soilgoil 07/04/2012

    Shelley's containers are a joy to behold, an inspiration for all of us plant addicts! I live fairly close to the border between the U.S. and British Columbia, and hope to get to Phoenix Perennials this summer to see these beauties in real time. Thank you, Michelle and Cherry Ong, for bringing Shelley's artistry to our attention.

    I also want to echo bethnbijoux' comment regarding Meander1. I wrote a local garden column for years, but my words could not approach Meander1's poetic expressiveness. I look forward to her daily comments almost as much as I do viewing the Reader Photo of the Day.

  9. priscilla_zone5 07/04/2012

    Those container gardens are as spectacular as fireworks, but longer lasting! Every one of them is bursting with interest, color + texture. I would just love it if Shelley would share the cultivars with the members... please??? Happy 4th everyone + a belated Happy Dominion Day to our Canadian friends. We were in Quebec City once for your celebration + it was quite a pleasant + memorable experience.

  10. ncgardener 07/04/2012

    Love it, especially the succulents and bromeliads. She really does have a great eye for blending. I always with something overtaking the pots.

  11. perenniallycrazy 07/04/2012

    Here are some of the names of the plants in some of the more recent containers. Scroll down to "Five Recipes for a Fabulous Pot" in this link: Happy gardening folks!

  12. zone3ruby 07/05/2012

    Stunning containers plantings! I've been to Phoenix Perennials and it is a fabulous place. I live in Calgary, Alberta and when visiting in Vancouver, Phoenix is a must stop for me! I always find a treasure that is hardy in my zone 3. I pop it into my suitcase for the flight home!

Log in or create an account to post a comment.

Container Gardening

Container Gardening

Trustworthy advice on all aspects of gardening in pots

View Project Guide

View All Project Guides »

Become a member and get unlimited site access, including the Container Gardening Project Guide.

Start Free Trial