Thriller, Fillers and Spillers: The Formula for a Fabulous Planter

The good, the bad and the ugly; that’s what comes to mind as I wander the streets of White Rock looking at planters. Another staple of condo buildings, planters are often used to flank the entranceway or add drama to the landscape. 
Some buildings have take time to either plan their containers well or they’ve hired a person with some know how. Other condos have taken the “Marge always does it” approach. Poor Marge, someone should speak to her about the marigolds.

I have no desire to “planter shame” any buildings in White Rock, so I’m just going to stick to posting some of the fabulous ones I’ve seen within a few blocks of my place. 
Containers should be made up of “thrillers” (plants that stand high and perhaps have a strong color or presence), “fillers” (the soil level plants that anchor the display) and “spillers” (the leggy ones that hang over the side). Sometimes not all three are necessary as you’ll see from these photos I took, but you’ll notice that the most interesting planters are those that have all these elements. Here are some good examples:

Personally I also like some stark contrast in color like in this one filled with purple and lime:  

This one has a tall central plant but looks a bit unfinished:  

And here’s an example of large planter with a tree as its main element, and it’s finished nicely with some anchoring foliage beneath:   
Ivy is great for a spiller:  

Love this ornamental grass:


Pretty colors: 
  There are lots of planter “recipes” on the Internet and ones for your specific zone can be found. Personally I enjoy wandering through the garden center and imagining how things will look together in a group. It’s a lot like painting with plants.


Making a Terrarium: Bringing the Outdoors In

In the fall it seems such a shame to lose all the lovely outdoor potted plants that can’t withstand a winter in zone 3.

Two Terraria

I am not an indoor gardener, but I like to save a few of my plants by bringing them indoors for the winter and attempting to keep them alive until I can place them outside again in the spring.

I’ve found that the best way of doing this is by making a low maintenance terrarium. Terrariums don’t need a great deal of attention, and that suits me fine.

I made two terraria this year. One vessel I found at Winners for four dollars and the other at a thrift store for two dollars.

To make a healthy terrarium, start with a layer of small rocks on the bottom, then add a layer of charcoal. The rocks act to hold moisture and the charcoal keeps that moisture from causing odors. You can buy the charcoal in the aquarium section of any pet store.

I dug up some moss from my yard for the next layer, then topped that with healthy sterile potting soil. The moss keeps the soil from mingling with the charcoal.

After rooting some of the ivy from one of my outdoor planters, I added it to the terrarium and it has been doing well with little or no personal attention for the past several weeks. Looks like it will need watering once or twice a month. That’s my kinda houseplant.