This is a book written for those who don’t have space for in-ground gardening, only have enough time to create container gardens, and/or for those who wish augment their gardens and homes with container plantings.

Disguising a boring fence

The author posits that there are several reasons to garden in containers and I agree with all of them. Containers provide ideal growing conditions, quick privacy, an opportunity to play before redoing a landscape, an opportunity to experiment with plants or color combinations before actually putting them in the ground, a way to control creepers (such as mint), a way to create instant impact, and make maintenance easier. They may also keep your plants safe from small animals like rabbits, voles, and chipmunks and they are ideal for featuring small treasures that might be otherwise overwhelmed. Last but not least, container gardening can be relatively inexpensive, depending on the size and type of container.

The added element of this book is the notion that you can create fascinating combinations with only five plants, always keeping in mind color combinations and diverse plant forms. For each combination, Ondra tells us whether the combo is for sun or shade, what the size of the container is, and the sizes of the plant pots, e.g 4”, 6”, etc.  Additionally, each combination is accompanied by alternate suggestions as well as descriptions and care for the combination in each season. The illustrations are very helpful.

Combination from book – photo by Rob Cardillo

You may not like every combination but each will give you a plethora of ideas and most of the combinations have a strong focus on foliage which will keep the plantings looking good, even when flowering is in a lull. Some of the suggested plants may not be available in your area but you can always find a substitute. My only reservation about several of the combinations is that there is not enough difference in texture in the same pot. I thought many combinations would be stronger with the addition of some linear foliage.                             

Since I like to vary my container plantings every year, I’ve already made several notes about possibilities for 2019. You will too.               

So, that’s it for reading suggestions for this winter. Hopefully, you have a fireplace and can snuggle close or at least wrap yourself in a warm blanket while the winter winds blow and the snow falls gently upon us.