This year I am trying my new container planting method with my patio plants.

I’ve moved to a new place and don’t have much sunlight in my yard. I also don’t know how the light will change over the season.

Indoor & Outdoor Plants In One Container:

Below you see geraniums and other plants mixed with my house plants.

I left the plants in their individual containers and just set them down in the galvanized tub.

I’m doing this because I don’t want to lift heavy potting soil right now.

And also because I don’t know how the tree in my yard will affect what little sunlight I get. It doesn’t have its leaves yet.

Setting the individual pots down inside the big tub means I can easily move them around. Because as summer progresses, temperature and light needs will change.

Testing Period For My New Container Planting Method:

This is my testing period in a new garden space after having moved to a different apartment.

At my old apartment, I had so much sun that many plants withered and died.

Galvanized tub with various potted plants on my patio

Here it’s the very opposite. I have a lot of shade to deal with both in front and in back.

If I planted the plants into pots with the soil now, I wouldn’t have as many choices as I do with this method.

My Potted Japanese Maple:

Ron and Pat sit in their rockers on their patio and look straight at my patio and yard. They told me they are enjoying the view of my Japanese Maple.

I had neighbor John move it from my patio closer to the sidewalk so other people could see it.

In My New Container Planting Method, I also show my potted Japanese Maple tree

My potted Japanese Maple is so pretty in the springtime.

It needs to be repotted, but I’ll have to have help and I haven’t decided which pot it should go into yet.

I wish I hadn’t lost the Gingko Biloba butterfly tree winter before last. It would have been so lovely here.

This Method Gives You More Options:

With this method of gathering lots of plants into one large container, it gives you more options.

You can move the plants around as summer progresses and light and watering needs change.

And you can also accommodate each plant’s watering needs because you can water them individually.

Leaves of Japanese Maple tree

Steps For New Container Planting Method:

  1. Choose one large container (galvanized tubs and very large containers work best)
  2. Bring various plants to the container and choose their position (it can be changed at any time)
  3. Move them around until the view is most pleasing to you.
  4. Water each plant container as fits that particular plant needs
  5. Enjoy your container of plants and change them out as much as you like

So if you’ve moved to a new area and are not sure where to locate your container garden, you might try this method. At least until you learn more about what summer changes will bring to your yard and garden.


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  1. That’s a great idea! I had faith that you’d come up with workable and solution, and it looks pretty, too! I love the Japanese maple in a pot. We always get little offshoots from our tree, and you’ve given me the idea to plant them in a container.A

  2. I love this idea, Brenda. I have several large galvanized tubs that I could do this with and it’s super easy even for a non-gardener like myself. I actually have a post on how to use galvanized tubs in the garden. I’d love to add one of your photos and a link to this post in that post. Let me know what you think!

  3. You think things over so well – I admire your planning skills. The garden will have its own beauty. I agree with Chris regarding the impatiens – their colors are amazing – all kinds of pink,reds,corals,oranges and pure white.
    Perhaps someday you can get another ginko tree- I remember how you loved it. But really, the red maple is perfectly enough.
    You’re doing great, Brenda and we’re all here for you.

  4. ❤ Looks beautiful Brenda!
    The tubs cane in handy again.
    Come summertime, you’ll do much better in this space. Always difficult for plants to survive in very hot temperatures.
    Our neighbors have a j-maple 🍁 tree like yours. Really pretty.
    Good you did a few things but didn’t over work it.
    Be careful now Brenda!!!

  5. Great idea in your circumstances! You will have such a pretty, shady outdoor spot to sit in on warm days. Love your Japanese maple. Unfortunately, they don’t do well here in northeast IL due to our harsh winters.

  6. How delightful & the Japanese maple is stunning. The galvanized tubs are a perfect solution as you start a new garden. Being able to move and interchange plants is fantastic. I do this a lot with my little container garden. As someone else said, a shade garden may allow you more time outdoors. A win-win!

  7. Brenda, I think you might actually come to love and appreciate having a shady space to work with. I say this, because you’ve already listed a bunch of beautiful plants that thrive in shade, and once you get it established, you will probably enjoy sitting outside, in the shade, on your porch, enjoying your beautiful shade garden. How often could you do that before? When it got so hot, and your plants needed so much water to stay alive, those days just weren’t comfortable for you to sit outside and enjoy them. Now maybe you can.

  8. This is such a smart way to plant your large containers. Your Japanese maple is beautiful. I just clipped some bleeding heart to show my grandsons and transplanted some hosta and small yellow day lilies. Have a good day.

  9. Yay!!! I’m thrilled and excited for you, Brenda. There was no doubt in my mind that you would come up with a fabulous solution.

    Enjoy the rest of your Saturday but especially enjoy the view of your lovely solution(s).

  10. Looks amazing! I’m thinking you may actually learn to love the shade you have and the new selection of shade living plants you have to work with.

    I recall how you struggled to keep everything alive in mostly full sun during super hot summer months. Having shade will be less stressful for your plants and for you. So exciting!

  11. I knew you would come up with something that looks plush and green and nice for your viewing as well as the neighbors. It’s all sounding more doable and not like a lot of work which is what you have to think about moving forward.

  12. I knew you would come up with something. The shade will be a challenge for you but I know you will find the perfect plants.

    I think I’m going to buy a Japanese Maple tree. I saw one at Lowes not very expensive. I have always admired yours. If you repot that what size container will
    it need? And that will be a job. I don’t know if you could do this but I have a big horse troth that was leaking. So I loaded it up with plastic water bottles I saved from when we were still buying bottled water. I put them in the bottom thus eliminating the need for so much dirt. Then I planted honey suckles in them and put it in front of the chicken coup. The dirt has settled and I need another big bag for it, but it also allows for putting some other plants in it. I am so happy you got your galvanized containers back.

  13. Excellent solution, Brenda. Who knows? You may decide to stick with this method in the future. Takes care of the plants and your body at the same time.

  14. That’s a great idea! I do something similar by keeping my flowers in individual pots so I can move them around as summer comes on strong and hot and kills anything left in the sun. I’m in Arizona and we have weeks of temps between 110-120 and that’s a hard life for plants to survive.

    Just this week I came across these watering bulbs and thought of you and your more difficult watering situations this year. These would allow you to water once and then have a bit of time off as the bulbs take over and keep your plants watered for a time. Just go to Amazon and look for Wyndham house watering globe and you’ll see bunches of them.

  15. If you want a vibrant colour palette for shade loving flowers, A suggestion would be impatients in a pot. Hot pinks, whites, reds, etc.

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