Every year, each spring brings me to France to check in on the latest nuances of container gardening and annual beds.
This year in the Provence region, the most striking containers were the ones planted with solitary trees. These containers can easily be planted in lieu of annuals beds to frame an entrance or a terrace. Doing away with container groupings, these simple and elegant containers are a versatile look that complements any taste of existing landscaping.
Get the Look
The traditional look can consist of sculpted trees on either side of formal entryways. For a more natural or rustic look, try using a single container with an olive tree as a twist on this formal look.
Similar plantings can be created in our Colorado climate with specimen trees, large shrubs such as boxwood or burning bush, tall grasses, or even bamboo. Your plant choices will determine the specific feel of the container. For instance, an olive tree will give you a rustic, Mediterranean feel, while an Alberta spruce has the charm of a formal French garden.
Putting the Containers to Use
These containers can serve as either the centerpiece of a simple garden or a place to rest the eye while taking in a more elaborate landscape.
For a splash of seasonal color to complement the look, add bulbs, annuals or trailing vines to the containers, though simplicity in the design should always be the rule. The larger the container and the tree, the better. This way, the containers become an unapologetic aspect of your garden; the emphasis of the look itself is on the container, which becomes an architectural statement in itself.
For such a centerpiece in your landscaping, I highly suggest purchasing organic containers, made of terra cotta for example, as opposed to those made of inorganic materials. These containers will last all season long, and can be brought inside over the winter to protect both the tree and the container from the frost.
A conservatory or greenhouse is perfect for wintering your plants, and the container will become an element of your interior design. If the tree should outgrow the container, it can be transplanted permanently to your landscape.
We often marvel at gardens on journeys abroad; with this simple container, you can easily bring the charm of the French countryside to your own home.