Garden Variety

Plants in containers add visual appeal to a home’s décor, inside and out.

Container gardens filled with brightly blooming plants create a colorful focal point on the steps of Stephen Pategas’ Winter Park home.


Container gardens are cropping up all over the design landscape as natural decorative elements, adding lively interest to homes.

In addition to the merely ornamental ones, container gardens that incorporate edible plants such as colorful peppers, artichokes, squash and herbs are growing in popularity. “A huge trend this spring and summer is edible container gardening,” says Jennifer Nelis, spokesperson for the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association in Orlando. “Many varieties have been especially bred to fit smaller spaces.”

With edible plantings or not, container gardens can be a tasteful part of home décor, both inside and out. Landscape architect Stephen Pategas of Hortus Oasis likes to use unusual receptacles for the more than 100 container gardens he tends at his Winter Park home, including a coquina fountain salvaged from The Peabody hotel, an architectural fragment from China, ancient Turkish amphorae, and antique chimney pots and drain tiles. Pategas likes the mobility of container gardens—when something’s in bloom, move that pot to an attention-getting spot, for example—and says they provide greater versatility than standard in-the-ground gardens. “It’s possible to put a group of containers together and grow a wide diversity of plants; you can’t do that in a bed,” he says. The separate containers allow for customizing the soil mix and addressing specific watering and fertilizer needs.

When choosing containers, pick pots that relate in some way to your home, advises Pategas. If your home has a Mediterranean look, terra-cotta and glazed pots work well; homes with a European influence would be best complemented by Chippendale-style wood planters or formal Greco-Roman stone containers.

If you’re lucky enough to have a Florida vernacular-style home, Barbra Wickliffe Osborne’s work can serve as inspiration. Osborne has been designing gardens in Central Florida for more than two decades. She chooses vessels for her container creations that complement her late 19th century home, including a milk can, a metal water pitcher, a wheelbarrow and a washtub.

Just about any kind of plant can thrive in a container—at least until it outgrows the space—so consider a garden variety of plantings. Cacti, succulents, flowering annuals, fruit-producing vines, and even small palm and citrus trees are good candidates for container gardens. Choose plants with interesting colors and textures, plant them in equally interesting containers and enjoy how beautifully they enhance your home.




Edible herbs, like the thyme planted in this enameled metal pitcher, are popular elements in container gardens.










Fluted drain tiles are repurposed to make a grouping of compact plants in containers.









An antique wheelbarrow serves as a rustic container for a profusion of verbena at Barbra Wickliffe Osborne’s historic Maitland home.

Edit Module
Want to read the whole issue? Download and read this issue and others on Magzter.

Add your comment:
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags

Guides & Resources

Ask a Vet 2015

Local vets answer some important questions about your pets.

Premier Veterinarians 2015

Check out our searchable 2015 list of some of the best vets in the Orlando area.

Choosing a Graduate School

Programs at UCF and Rollins College

Top Vets 2014

Check out our searchable 2014 list of some of the best vets in Orange and Seminole counties.

Premier Realtors

Let Orlando's best realtors help you find your dream home!

Wedding Resource Guide

Find the best wedding vendors in Orlando.

Summer Getaways 2015

Summer is finally on its way and now is the perfect time to plan your getaway. Check out some of these great deals and special destinations just a short drive from Orlando.

Shattering Myths of Better Business Bureau

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

MoreRecent Blog Posts

Weekend Happenings in Orlando October 9 to 11

Find the best events in and around the city for the weekend.

Weekend Happenings in Orlando October 2 to 4

Find the best events in and around Orlando for the weekend.

Halloween at the Parks

Orlando's theme parks go all out for Halloween

Arts Beat: Peace Offerings

The Global Peace Film Festival is screening 57 new movies at three locations through Oct. 4.

Weekend Happenings in Orlando September 25 to 27

Find the best events in and around Orlando for the weekend.
Edit Module