MyGardenSchool. – Week 2 Principles of Success with Container Gardening

On Wednesday I had access to week 2 of the Container Gardening Course from MyGardenSchool and watched a video with accompanying notes by  Harriet Rycroft. I was offered this 4 week course for free in return for reviewing it on my blog.  It is totally unbiased and I speak as I find it.   So far it’s good and has got my brain thinking about plants and placements etc.   I fear I could be a danger of telling you too much and subsequently giving you information you would otherwise gain from doing the course, so I will be careful in how I approach this.

I hadn’t really taken on board how I just buy plants I like the look of rather than being technical and considering placement, conditions and whether, if I am going to plant a few in one pot, will they be happy living together.  In hindsight I can understand now how I have managed to have some deaths and complete failures of one or all plants.

Our assignment this week was to find four perennial plants or shrubs for a pot, say why we have chosen them, how they have earned a place in the garden, where we would place them and how we saw their future.   Harriet tells us if we are going to a garden centre to take a note book and tape measure, neither of which I took with me when I visited my local garden centre at the weekend.

I went with a friend and we had fun moving plants around from one stand to another to see how they looked, and initially fell in to the trap of liking the combination without assessing if they would live happily together.   Without my notebook but armed with my mobile I started to take some photos as an aide memoir. I saw a wonderful Gentian, although I snapped the label I can’t read it so don’t know the variety, it looked really good with the Geranium Rozanne, I liked the blues.  However when I got home I read that they wouldn’t really make good bed fellows, so that would have been an expensive mistake.

On the grasses stand there was a beautiful Imperata Cylindrica ‘Rubra’ also known as Red Baron.  After walking around a bit I found an Echinacea ‘White Swan’ and the two together looked very prairie and Pete Oudolf.   It was four plants I was looking for and couldn’t think of anything else that would go with these two in a container so sadly dismissed them.

The intention was a homework exercise, to look, take note and then go home with ideas for the assignment.  However, how many of us go to garden centres and come back empty handed?!   Yes, I left the garden centre with four plants.  An Artemisia ‘Oriental Limelight’, a Heuchera ‘Melting Fire’, a bronze sedge grass and Carex ‘Ice Dance’.

I uploaded my photos, wrote and then uploaded my assignment and have received my tutor critique from Harriet.  She made the point that although difficult to tell the actual colour of the heuchera from the photo I may have done better to select a more caramel coloured heuchera to blend with the bronze sedge grass.  I can see her point, I bought it because I was taken with the dark wine colour, a heart rather than head purchase.   It’s all part of the learning curve and why this course is so useful.  By the end I should be buying better more thought out plants that will thrive and look great together.

Why not take a look at the  MyGardenSchool website and check out the many courses they run, there is bound to be one of interest to you.

MyGardenSchool are running a Back to School campaign, which gives users 15% discount on all £145 four week online course, click on the link below.

MyGardenSchool  Back to School campaign.


  1. I find that when I shop for container plants that I will try forming multiple combinations, spending hours looking for just the perfect contrast and texture. As I reject plants I put them underneath on the cart with the thought that I like them and could find a place somewhere in the garden. Unfortunately I am not now allowed to go to the nursery without one of the children, or adult supervision.


    • I looked at that one first but was put off by the equipment list, which turns out it was not that necessary as someone I know is doing the photography course and doesn’t have any of the required bits and pieces apart from a camera of course! I may well do that one next, it’s fun to do and not too onerous.


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