Home and Garden

Brian Minter: Refreshing our containers for the fall


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The millions of varieties of Heucheras and Heucherellas provide a vibrant splash of color. From the darkest purples of Heucheras ‘Dolce Wildberry’ and ‘Primo Wild Rose’, the hot lime of ‘Lime Ruffles’ and the tan copper of ‘Dolce Crème Brûlée’ to the burnt bronze of Heucherella ‘Burnished Bronze’, they will all create drama in your containers.

Evergreen grasses add an element of softness and elegance to any combination of plants, and even a light breeze gets them moving. The carex ‘EverColor’ series is a real game changer. Carex ‘Evergold’ with its green and gold striped leaves is an excellent overflow plant, but the hot lime C. ‘Everillo’ is my personal favorite. Carex ‘Everest’ has vibrant white-green foliage and C. ‘Eversheen’ is a very showy variation of lime and green.

If you are interested in the “blues”, the blue Festuca “Beyond Blue” provides a touch of color. Black grasses make a strong statement, and black moon grass (Ophiopogon ‘Nigrescens) is a must have.

Deciduous plants can incorporate some wealth into any container. The many varieties of Pieris japonica (lily of the valley shrub) offer both foliage color and winter flowers. ‘Mountain Fire’, one of the toughest and the most colorful of foliage from Pj ‘Flaming Silver’ and Pj ‘Little Heath’, will add interest and diversity to your plantings.

Often known as heavenly bamboo, nandinas may not be real bamboos but make excellent deciduous plants for containers. Their finely structured foliage turns deep red in late autumn and retains this color throughout winter. Compact ‘Gulf Stream’ and ‘Bonfire’ are two of the best container types.