Gardening column: Thriller, filler, spiller: Add wow to gardens

At this time of year, our gardens are typically in-between colour, with mostly healthy green growth staring at us.

There are some great ways to fill in the gap and add some colour to your gardens until the next big blooms arrive.

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Many plant stores start to discount their nursery stock in July.

Why not pick up flats of red, pink, orange and white begonias for scrumptious colour in your shady areas of your garden beds?

Begonias spread like a beautiful carpet and bloom for a long time.  Brilliant red geraniums will add great colour into your sunny gardens. 

Buy a brilliant lime green or yellow dwarf coniferous tree and plant in a prominent space in your garden. Besides adding instant colour, conifers are evergreen and will continue to sparkle in the winter.

One of my favourite additions to a very green landscape is to create colourful and dramatic vertical gardening with container pots.

The formula is simple: Thriller, filler and spiller.

Start with a thriller, or your centrepiece with star quality (for example, a dwarf brightly coloured conifer or deciduous tree, or a tall dramatic perennial plant ) and then add your spiller plants around the edge of the pot (lime green or burgundy sweet potato vine, variegated or plain ivy, creeping jenny, or any other type of vine plant).

Finally, add your filler plants (such as colourful heuchera, lime green hakone grasses, multi coloured coleus, and the list goes on).

Choose plants that are roughly between one-third to two-thirds of the size of your thriller plant.

Choosing pots to add a new dynamic to your garden can be challenging. Stand back and look at the space you want to add a container pot. If the garden space has sharp angles, bring in a geometric type pot. 

If your garden has a soft flow, choose round or oval pots.

To determine the colour of pot for your space, use paint chips from your local paint store to determine what colour will suit the area. Ensure that your container pot has good drainage holes in the bottom and choose good-quality potting soil.

Then get creative with the colours of plants you choose. For example, if you chose a bright blue ceramic pot, you might want to choose plants with purple/blue/grey shades such as lavender, coleus, hostas, ferns (filler plants) and purple millet, purple fountain grass, or New Zealand flax, which would be great thriller plants for your pots. Following this theme, use bacopas, trailing purple petunias, purple sweet potato vines or ivy for your spillers.  Add in some lime green plants for pizazz. Now imagine this colour palette in amongst your lush green landscape!

There are some great recipes for some stunning container pots on Pinterest. I have found fabulous container pots and then just follow the recipe – choosing the thriller, the fillers and the spillers. Success every time.

Enjoy the long summer days gazing at your dazzling gardens filled with brilliant colour, all created by you!

Lynda Pasacreta is the current president of the Richmond Garden Club

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