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June 1, 2010


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GARDENING

Polished Pots
by Alejandro Saralegui

TAKE A FRESH APPROACH TO
FRONT-DOOR PLANTINGS

Click on any photo below for a larger view.

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Masses of pink and white Supertunias look au courant in oversize olive jars. Euphorbia 'Diamond Frost', an unkillable, constantly blooming annual, adds a bit of froth to the mix.

Your house probably has a flaw here and there that's easy to ignore, but curb appeal is always important, from the edge of the property all the way to the front door. Those pretty (and sometimes expensive) pots gracing the entryway to your home deserve more than a few scraggly geraniums from the supermarket. Just follow these simple rules for summer-long pleasure.

Always make sure the pot, plant and door are in proper proportion to one another and make sense with the style of your home. Have a large front porch? Big plants are the rule of the day. Is your house all modern angles? Then maybe skip the marigolds. It's imperative, too, to choose plants that are welcoming and friendly. I once convinced Martha Stewart to stay away from agaves; spiky, dangerous-looking plants at the front door, I suggested, are not the nicest way to say hello to guests. She decided on a bunch of soft lamb's ears, deadpanning, "I can't get friendlier than this!"

No matter what look and style you're trying to achieve, use plants that are easy to care for (especially if you're a weekender) and offer season-long interest—you're less likely to rotate plantings in late July, when you'd rather be at the beach. If you have a sunny, south-facing entrance, succulents are a good choice, whereas a covered porch or a large, shady tree nearby might call for a mass of ferns. Mixed pots of annuals are a thing of the past; garden designers are focusing on singular plants for maximum impact. And there's nothing wrong with red geraniums, really—they look great bunched together in big planters. Just don't forget to deadhead them!
 

A FEW GREAT PLANTS FOR FRONT-DOOR POTS:

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This green-and-white combination matches the house to a T. Set at different heights, the pots of ferns and Torenia create visual interest next to the shallow steps.

 

Landscape designer Joseph Tyree filled this square long tom zinc pot with Bulbine fructescens, a South African succulent that doesn't require much water and blooms continuously.

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Catherine Warren of Broadview Gardens in East Hampton nestled a five-foot-tall olive standard in a slender bongo-shaped container for added vertical drama.

 

Marders in Bridgehampton is the go-to garden center for boxwoods of any type or size. Here, a pair of chic conical pots elevate the plant to a new level.

ENJOY GREAT DESIGN

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