Just because the weather has gone south, doesn’t mean the life in your containers needs to. The wonderful thing about containers and potted plants is the ease of plant rotation for the seasons. A solid container and well thought out plant design will give seasonal color and interest throughout the harshest of conditions.   Below are samples of work done for clients showing resilient and low maintenance potted plant creations designed to capture the spirit of the season while looking great!

These are container grouping planted for the winter. You’ll notice that I removed the sweet potato vine and summer flowering annuals and added moss and pansies to the containers. I’ve also added a fern, removed the boxleaf honeysuckle and planted a dwarf conifer in the large rectangle shaped pot. This container grouping is in full shade, the most difficult of container situations to successfully plant and maintain. Even shade loving plants typically don’t thrive in full shade conditions, so more plant maintenance/removal is needed. The honeysuckle was looking tired and stressed, so it needed to be replaced.

This container shows how you can successfully utilize some of the same plants in a container for year round interest. Too often, people think that containers are to be enjoyed from just May to September, when you can actually successfully container garden all year. The large container (middle and right) has a dwarf conifer for its thriller/focal point plant and three black mondo grasses (fillers) planted around it for the basic structure.

Summer version

For the summer, I added white geraniums, yellow million bells, and miniature white daisies as additional fillers and spillers. By the end of the summer, the little white daisies had become a little too happy in the pot, but it was certainly a gorgeous focal point on the sidewalk.

Winter version

For the winter, I removed the summer annuals and planted yellow winter pansies, yellow Irish moss, and yellow variegated ivy. I’m not a huge ivy fan, but it makes a good winter trailer and can be removed and properly disposed of in the spring when I’m ready to change out the container again.


I’ve planted numerous containers for customers over many summers. I often revisit the containers in November to update them for the winter. I use the basic structural plants and just make a few changes.This oxblood red container (with a touch of yellow/gold) has a Gulf Stream Nandina as the structural plant with Black Mondo grass on either side of it and a bergenia in the center. The bergenia will turn red in the winter and revert to green in the summer. Its large leaves provide a wonderful foliage contrast to the small leaves of the nandina, mondo grass, and moss. The yellow pansies and yellow moss provide great winter color and interest.


This large red container has a Lemon Beauty boxleaf honeysuckle planted as its thriller with Red Tip podocarpus planted on either side of it, Black Mondo grass in the center and Mother Lodge juniper planted in front. Yellow winter pansies are planted on either side of the juniper. The juniper will cascade over the front of the pot and it, along with the pansies will provide bright color for the winter. These plants also repeat some of the yellow/gold showing on the red container and in the honeysuckle’s foliage. The Black Mondo grass provides a great color and foliage contrast.