I've recently finished assembling the West Container Border for the 2012 summer season. It's anchored on one end by a mature Acer dissectum 'Crimson Queen' (Japanese Maple) and a Pinus strobus (Eastern White Pine) on the other.
I started adding bromiliads to my containers last summer but was limited by their size and by mid season they were overwhelmed by the other plants in the arrangements. This year I'm experimenting with attaching them to bamboo stakes which allows me more freedom and creativity for placing them in the combinations.
I've wrapped the rootball of these Billbergia 'Borracho's in coco fiber (the kind used for lining hanging baskets) and wrapped twine around the cocofiber to hold in the bark medium and roots. Then I cut an old, large bamboo stake to the desired length then split it lengthwise long enough to insert the root ball in the split in the bamboo then tie the bromeliad to the stake. You can insert the bromeliad anywhere in the arrangement you want and reposition as necessary as the container plants fill in. This combination features mostly variegated plants that include; Abutilon 'Souvenir de bonn', Plectranthus 'Vanilla twist', SunPatiens 'Variegated spreading white', Euphorbia 'Diamond Frost', Abutilon 'Melon Sorbet', Fuchsia 'Swanley Yellow' and a variegated Pelargonium 'Chelsea Gem'.
These 'hay racks' purchased from Kinsman Company provide a great vertical element for this vignette. I like to design as much for foliage contrasts as flowers these days and love violet and chartreuse combinations.
I'm loving this Cordyline terminalis 'Kiwi' I recently bought from The Farmer's Daughter in East Kingston RI, one of the best nurseries I've ever seen and perhaps my favorite place to plant shop. The beautiful cement leaf was crafted by a friend of mine and I'm fortunate to have several of her pieces for the gardens here.
A more simple combination featuring Coleus 'Eclipse', Euphorbia 'Diamond Frost', Coleus 'Lancelot Mocha', Acalypha wilkesiana obovata and a couple fuchsias including the blooming 'Gartenmeister bonstedt'. The other which isn't blooming yet is a new cultivar I found this year called 'Flamingo Fever'. The flower on this plant is wonderful and quite a show stopper. I'm hoping it's free blooming and lives up to my expectations.
An arrangement with a darker theme that contrasts nicely with the surrounding chartreuse arrangements.
And so it goes on and on with new opportunities for new combinations every time I have a look at the offerings at the nurseries. I haven't yet counted the containers this year but I'm not done yet either....