As much as I enjoy the results, gardening is not my strong suit. But I’m learning. I do container gardening, which I think is best for novices like myself. I rely on my wonderful friends at Rountree Plantation to guide me. I go there just before the beginning of each season. So summer flowers, here I come!

The wonderful Store Associates, Tracy, Susie and Fiona (pictured below) see me coming and know I will have a thousand questions. Backstory: I’ve done this for years and I’m sure they must wonder when I am going to finally figure out how to do this on my own…Well, the answer to that is never because I have them to guide me. 

The folks at Roundtree Plantation are knowledgeable, patient and kind. There are so many beautiful flowers, combinations and containers, plus they have such an enormous selection of all those things. They keep me from having what I like to call “plant panic”, as those decisions can be overwhelming for me.



When I finally decide on this year’s thrillers, fillers, and spillers along with what I need to keep them living, then my good friend Javier has this amazing ability to get everything in my little car — always with a smile — without damaging any of the fragile items.

I have learned a few things along the way that make container gardening more successful and fun:

  • I make a list before I go of the containers I already have, their sizes, locations and sunlight conditions.
  • I have learned to save some money by using some evergreens in some of my pots so that I don’t have to always replace those. Those are things like little boxwoods, ivy and rosemary.
  • Big, beautiful ferns completely fill some of my containers, so I don’t have to figure out anything else to go in those.
  • I hold on to and read the plant tags to make sure I combine plants that are happy together with the same light, soil and watering conditions.
  • I buy plants in colors that I like and therefore will not grow tired of as the season goes on.
  • I start with good potting soil and a fertilizer that I vow to use as directed.
  • I look at container recipes on sites such as Better Homes and Gardens, HGTV or Southern Living. They do a great job of showing new ideas, color combinations and containers as well as recipes for them.
  • Then off I go to find these things: Thrillers ( something distinctive or a little dramatic) to plant first in each container. Then I go to the Fillers to give volume and mass. Lastly, I add Spillers to trail, soften and “accessorize”.

I do include some little herb gardens to use in my cooking, as well as some other special mini gardens. More on that another time!

Tell Me: What are your secrets to gardening success?