Continuous Container Gardens, Sara Begg Townsend & Roanne Robbins, Storey Publishing, ISBN 978-1-60342-702-9
Right from the first page, the authors declare that a container garden is better than a large flower bed because with containers, the gardener can focus on less and do more with it. For example, deadheading a container garden takes 30 seconds if done a few times a week. Furthermore, because pots are closer to eye level, they make it easier to appreciate individual plants. The restricted amount of gardening surface also teaches and inspires the gardener to become a better editor and a better designer.
Traditional gardeners better hold onto their hats because this book will provide a roller coaster of a ride as the authors present a new treatment for an established style of gardening. According to the publisher, the authors submit
…an innovative system for creating stylish container gardens that can change with the seasons with a minimum of fuss. They begin with a “main-stage” plant — a woody plant, garden ornament, or eye-catching perennial – and then add a secondary player for texture and variety. As the seasons change, they show how easy it is to swap plants in and out for a dynamic display that looks great year-round. Their simple approach yields endless variations, seasonal bursts of color, and varied textures that echo the ever-changing beauty of nature. The book features designs for twelve containers, each with a unique plan for swapping plants every season, for a total of 48 exciting looks.
Essential to the theme of this book is that for container gardens to be sustaining, annuals won’t do. The continuous container garden is less of a colorful floral composition and more of a mini-garden inspired by the nature surrounding a home. To that end, the focus is on perennials and their foliage, ornamental and evergreen shrubs, and ornamental trees that grow less than 25 feet tall. Pretty flowers are considered a bonus, a small decorative splash..
However, one of the requisites of this philosophy of container planting is that one must be prepared to move plants in and out of containers as the seasons dictate. In addition, trees and shrubs might require their roots to be trimmed in order for them to remain pot – friendly, as they mature. Some perennials will require dividing. Therefore, while this innovative form of miniature gardening is refreshing, it is not targeting the busy multi-tasking homeowner. For as little work as it takes to maintain these pots, there is a greater commitment to transform them as the season changes. Dedicated and passionate gardeners, with time on their hands, will be delighted with the results.