A Japanese container garden

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This container garden is outside of a shop in Matsumoto Japan.

My friend took these photos on her family’s trip around the world. Yep, they literally dropped everything and spent a year traveling around the world with their kids. If you are wondering “how in the world does anyone do that?,” they blogged the entire trip at whyworryjustgo.com.

But back to this garden:

  • Big, simple, solid containers in natural materials, neutral tones, and weathered surfaces. Sizes, shapes and heights are varied, and one is completely different.
  • Two of the containers match, or nearly match, but they’re not placed symmetrically.
  • While there’s not symmetry, there is balance with the largest containers framing the overall arrangement on either end.
  • More containers just inside the doorway extend the overall space in both directions.
  • The water garden is broken up for more interest. One container gives height and one fullness.
  • If I was to duplicate this so that it would work in our dry climate (and survive our marauding raccoons), I’d substitute the water containers for low growing succulents or grasses.

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Top ten reasons you should try container gardening

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A touch of silver makes all that hot pink really pop.

Top ten reasons you should try container gardening:

  1. It simplifies your gardening. You can keep everything in your garden simple and green, and add color with your containers.
  2. It’s easy to experiment with new plant combinations. You can combine things in one pot, or just move different pots next to each other.
  3. It’s good for commitment-phobes. You only need to stay with a look for a single season, or weekend.
  4. You can have a garden in even the tiniest space.
  5. It’s budget friendly. Container gardening is the equivalent of using high-end fabric on pillows instead of the entire sofa.
  6. Instant gratification. You can go the nursery, try plant and pot combinations right in the store, and come home and style your space in time for your friends to come over for afternoon cocktails.
  7. You can take a risk and try something new or difficult to grow.
  8. It’s forgiving. Instead of ending up with a dead patch in your garden bed, you can just pop in a new plant or put the pot off to the side for a while.
  9. Children love it. Your four year old wants those hideous bubblegum pink petunias? They’ll look great in a container. Or give him some vegetable or nasturtium seeds: they’ll grow big, fast.
  10. You can use anything for a container: vintage pottery, driftwood, tea tins, tree stumps…

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Orange makes everything better.

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Line a basket with a plastic insert or saucer.

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Pair similar forms in different sizes.

Read more posts on container gardens

Container garden ideas: a touch of hot color

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These gorgeous containers are at the entrance of one of my favorite home shops, Cocoon, in Geneva, IL. I’ve been noticing something about my favorite container compositions: a bit of orange. Even a small amount of hot color keeps things from looking too fussy. The black painted container sets everything off beautifully and can go traditional or modern (if you simplify the plantings a bit like this next container). I’m definitely painting my window planter boxes black.

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