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1-2-3 Container Garden

I have a cast iron urn in my garden that sits under a large post oak tree. It's become somewhat of a design lab for me and every season I think of a new plant combination that I want to test out. This time I think I've really outdone myself with a combination so simple that I feel a little guilty for taking credit for it. The plants are so outstanding that they deserve all the accolades.

The design is a combination of light blue and chartreuse using just 3 plants: hosta, lobelia and heuchera. I discovered Laguna Sky Blue lobelia and Dolce Key Lime Pie heuchera last summer. I'm absolutely crazy about both of them and have been planting them with abandon this year. The urn was just another opportunity to do so.

In addition to creating a favorite color combination, these plants fit nicely into my 3-shape rule for containers. It's a guide I developed to give containers a stylish look. Here's how it works: Combine plants that have three different shapes; choose something tall and spiky mixed with those that are round and full and then around the edge of the container add plants that cascade over the edge of the container.

A. Sun Power Hosta
B. Dolce Key Lime Pie Heuchera
C. Laguna Sky Blue Lobelia

Now you don't have to have a cast iron urn to duplicate this design. Any container will do. I think it would also be striking as a hanging basket or in a window box.


One of the reasons I love Laguna Sky Blue lobelia is because it is more heat tolerant than other lobelias that I have tried. If you live in an exceptionally hot climate you can substitute this plant with torenia, which will give you a similar look with even more heat resistance. Summer Wave Blue has a nice clear blue flower. The blooms of Catalina Midnight are a lovely combination of azure and dark blue with a yellow throat. These varieties will thrive even during the worst heat and humidity that summer has to offer. Torenia prefers filtered sun.