Create a Landscape Full of Color, Fragrance and Beauty Despite Limited Space this Season

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Garden expert Melinda Myers shares tips to brighten a landscape with container gardens no matter the space limitations.

Railing planters filled with colorful combinations and herbs can add sparkle, interest and aromotherapy to balconies, decks and porches.

Stacking several planted containers creates a display with greater vertical interest.

Brighten up patios, decks and front entrances with containers. “They’re an excellent way to add color, fragrance and beauty where plantable space is limited or non-existent,” says gardening expert and author Melinda Myers. “Set a few containers on the front or back steps, in the corner of a deck or other location where they can be enjoyed. Stacking several planted containers creates a display with greater vertical interest.”

Myers suggests these strategies for creating a beautiful landscape with container gardens this season:

  •     Check the views when looking from inside the house out as well as when enjoying the space outdoors. Strategically place the containers for the greatest viewing pleasure.
  •     Save even more space by using railing planters. Dress up the porch or deck by filling the planters with colorful flowers and edibles. Make sure they are sturdy and easy to install. Reduce time spent installing and maintaining with easy-to-install self-watering planters, like Viva balcony rail planters.
  •     Use more than flowers. Gardeners can mix in a few edibles and bring some homegrown flavor to outdoor entertaining. Guests will enjoy plucking a few mint leaves to flavor beverages, basil to top a slice of pizza or a sprig of dill to top grilled fish.
  •     Herbs not only add flavor to meals, but texture and fragrance to container gardens. And the many new dwarf vegetable varieties are suited to containers. Their small size makes them easy to include and many have colorful fruit that is not only pretty, but delicious too.
  •     Add a few edible flowers like nasturtium and pansies. Dress up a plate of greens with edible flowers for a gourmet touch. Or freeze a few pansy flowers in ice cubes and add them to a glass of lemonade or sparkling water.
  •     Include flowers like globe amaranth (Gomphrena), Lisianthus, and daisies that are great for cutting. This is one way to enjoy the garden inside and out throughout the season.
  •     Plant some flowers for the butterflies to enjoy. Zinnias, cosmos, and marigolds are just a few that are sure to brighten any space, while attracting butterflies to the landscape. Salvia, penstemon and flowering tobacco will help bring hummingbirds in close, providing a better view.

So make this the year for a container or two that best fits the available space and garden style. Fill it with a well-drained potting mix and combination of beautiful ornamental and edible plants to enjoy all season long. The additions are sure to enhance the landscape and keep guests coming back for more.

Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books, including Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening and the Midwest Gardener’s Handbook. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything” DVD series and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment segments. Myers is also a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. Myers’ web site,, offers gardening videos and tips.

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Diana Paul
Melinda Myers LLC
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