I can't tell you how much fun it is to pick out plants and create an instant garden in a portable object that can either remain as is or be allowed to develop into something grand, wild, and over-the-top fabulous!
Planting containers is like flower arranging. You tend to emphasize what it'll look like right now versus what it'll look like in a few months. When planting up containers for clients, it obviously has to look great from the get-go, but as you water and feed them like there's no tomorrow, they billow and grow and flop and, most importantly, they're usually fascinated by the transformation.
Here's some current examples of pots I threw together last week!
This container was donated for an auction to benefit the Dunn Garden in North Seattle. It features a golden Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Tetragona Aurea', Heucherella 'Stoplight', black mondo grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens'), and a fabulously dwarf and delightful box honeysuckle (Lonicera nitida 'Twiggy').
Another container I put together was a bit of an ambitious attempt where, yes, I cared about its initial appearance, but I just jam-packed it full of wonderful stuff just to see what will happen.
So this container was actually a gift to Clayton's mom, who helps run CEM Design (read about him and his work). I actually surprised Clayton by visiting their headquarters in Kirkland and I just missed her by like 30 seconds to see what she thought. So, my "backbone" for this container is the elegant Japanese Cedar 'Sukkan Sugi' and at the base to the left is the whorl of fronds from Dryopteris erythosora or Autumn Fern left over from my nursery stock, I sneaked in 'Twiggy' on the other side with a corkscrew rush (Juncus effusus 'Spiralis') with sweetflag (Acorus gramineus 'Ogon') at the base behind, and towards the front you'll see the spiky evergreen foliage of a Pacific Coast Hybrid iris called 'Ami Royale', which is a pale violet with deep purple centers and a gold-highlighted crest and, finally, spilling over the front is another Heucherella 'Tapestry'. Oh, I think I tucked in a little black mondo as well. CRAZY! Hope Mrs. Morgan likes it! hehe.
Finally, I have this kick-ass ceramic, blue glazed bowl that I planted Mahonia 'Soft Caress' in. Near by are the same plant, but finally in the ground so I can compare the two growing conditions. (can you tell i have a thing for his lapis-blue color ceramic glazed containers? hahaah) Looking kind of boring by itself, I planted it with a dwarf creeping Euonymus fortunei 'Minimus', a few plugs of Cardamine trifolia, a winter Calluna vulgaris 'Firefly' and spilling over the edge is a dramatic Vinca 'Illuminator'.