I’m an amateur gardener in Nashville, TN, who has gained newfound confidence in my growing abilities. In spring 2008, my husband and I started a yard renovation project, which included Encore® Azalea planters, and we couldn’t be happier with the contained results!

Encore Azalea planters

Who has color like this in the heat of August? Believe it or not, this is the container garden in late August, still showcasing full color and beauty!

Photo Credit: Mark Boughton

Red Encore Azaleas

Accent your containers with some ornamental grass, for added texture and interest.

Photo Credit: Mark Boughton

Purple Encore Azalea

Our container garden with the Encore® Azaleas provided color from the day of planting to post-frost. In fact, the color was at its peak in early fall, when many annuals had started to wane.

Photo Credit: Mark Boughton

Our renovated garden began with tearing out an old wooden garden box on the southeast corner of our house. We looked for a new spot that would receive plenty of sunshine with easy access to water (in this case, the patio off our kitchen with a nearby outdoor water spigot).

While we later planted some of the azaleas in-ground, we started by adding a layer of pine straw to the old garden area along with step-stones where our new containers would sit. We found an array of planters at our local home improvement store – everything from painted ceramic to lightweight resin. For visual interest, we used a few small groupings with a variety of shapes, sizes and heights. (The important thing was that each planter had a drainage hole in the bottom.)

On planting day, we planted our Encore Azaleas in containers, accented with some ornamental grasses and cascading plants. It was an easy – and affordable – way to bring instant beauty and color to our ordinary patio.

Because containers dry out in a hurry, we watered daily from the beginning. After planting, we began a regular schedule of fertilizer to stabilize the plants and then began alternating fertilizer with bloom food. In just a few weeks, we went from bare area to a lovely established container garden with continuous color and visual impact from the day of planting. Even better, Encore Azaleas bloom for three seasons – from spring through fall – so the blooms kept coming!

We knew that a container garden would bring immediate results, but we learned a few other benefits to this type of gardening along our growing way:

  • No digging, no back strain. Container plantings mean no back-breaking digging in the ground. After planting containers, you can just set them on a patio, or cover the ground with mulch and add step-stones for your planters to sit.
  • Affordability. Outdoor container options come in various materials, shapes, sizes and colors. Depending on what you pick, they’re relatively inexpensive – especially when you find them on sale! In addition, it’s rewarding to find an economical way to achieve more color in the garden without breaking the bank. (The Encore Azaleas put on quite a show for three continuous seasons, and the cascading plants were inexpensive to add.)
  • Movable beauty. Want a new look? Just reposition the pots! (As our plants matured, we moved them around for a different feel to our yard.)
  • Unexpected privacy. Because our container garden grew larger and faster than I had expected, our planters provided unexpected privacy, with the flexibility to screen an area with a tall grass or a cluster of pots.
  • Extended growing season. It’s easy to protect containers from frost. Simply cover them with sheets, or move them to an indoor location until the cold threat is gone.
  • New season, new look. As a container garden grows and matures through the seasons, the look of the garden changes constantly, from tender new blooms in spring to lush color and texture in summer and fall.

Our container garden is beautiful, whether we’re admiring it from inside our house, from the back yard or from a different perspective from the nearby golf course. What’s more, the plants and containers provide a little more privacy, depending on our needs, without blocking the view.

We learned that the key to continuous blooms is to give our plants plenty of water, fertilizer and bloom food. (It also helps that Encore Azaleas provide the extra benefit of that three-seasons-worth of blooms for continuous color.) While we knew container gardening had its advantages, we never imagined that just a few containers and plants would yield this much impact – and so many compliments from our neighbors!