Thursday, July 10, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Texture-rama

"Concentrate on texture," Susan Whiteley says. She's an expert on ornamental container design, which should be obvious from this one. It sits on a low wall on her back patio. Has a lot of elements, but one thing they have in common is unusual texture.

Texture-rama

"Concentrate on texture," Susan Whiteley says. She's an expert on ornamental container design, which should be obvious from this one. It sits on a low wall on her back patio. Has a lot of elements, but one thing they have in common is unusual texture.

Susan has combined red twig dogwood, one of her favorite "anchor plants" for its color and verticality and something she grows in her yard, with skimmia, which has shiny green leaves and gorgeous copper-color flowers; osmanthus, which has yellow and green foliage with small fragrant flowers; a trailing juniper, and carex ('Ever Gold').

And note the cranberry ball, something Susan just whipped up to give the arrangement a rounded shape and yet another texture. She bought a Styrofoam ball at a craft shop and attached fresh cranberries with floral pins. "It's something original to put in a container," she says.

I think this pot is a plastic composite, not too expensive. Susan is a serious shopper for pots. She buys wherever she finds something good, which could mean the high-end Campania, where pots range from $75-$350, or Home Depot, where a good sized one can run $50-$125. Costco also sells polyethylene planters in the spring that are similarly priced.

As always, the greens in these designs are critical. But "green," as you see in this photo, can actually be quite yellow or variegated.

Story about Susan and her beautiful holiday containers is in the works for Friday, Dec. 23.

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
About this blog
Ginny Smith, a Philadelphia native, joined the Inquirer at 1985. After stints as both reporter and editor in the city and suburbs, she’s been happily writing – and learning - about gardening full time since 2006. She’s won two silver medals of achievement from the national Garden Writers Association and in 2011, Bartram’s Garden honored her with its Green Exemplar award for her stories about “the region’s deeply rooted horticultural history, cultural attractions and bountiful gardens.” She plays in her own – mostly - bountiful garden in East Falls. Reach Virginia A. at vsmith@phillynews.com .

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
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