Summer Pots For The Garden

Author: Lottie Manns

The last few years our flowerbeds have been filled with all manner of gorgeous blooms, from sweetpeas to fox gloves, but we have been seriously lacking on the pot front. Mainly as I’ve been pretty rubbish at getting out and watering whilst Edd is away in the week.

This year I was adamant we would be reintroducing colour to the patios and we would have hanging baskets adorning the front of the house. I have so far succeeded in the watering too.

Edd is a super keen gardener and grows a wondrous amount of flowers and vegetables for the garden. I’m pretty lucky as throughout the summer I have vases full of fresh flowers and bowls full of a vast array of fresh raspberries, blueberries and broad beans, to name a few. This year he has outdone himself on the pots front and I have so many I’m not entirely sure where to put them all! His Fuchsia trees he has grown are immense.

As it is British Flowers Week I’ve convinced Edd to impart a spot of his gardening wisdom when it comes to all things floral and over on Rock My Family he is sharing some top tips for gardening with the kids. The beauty of planting pots is that you don’t have to have a massive garden to make it look pretty. There is no digging of flower beds and they are excellent for brightening up patios or windowsills. If you live in a flat they are perfect for a balcony or a small window box is a lovely way to add some colour.

{Choose Your Container}

You don’t need to spend a fortune on planters, although I have had my eye on some rather lovely zinc ones from Cox & Cox, and I think terracotta pots looks lovely. Go for a mixture of sizes and styles to add variety. You can also get creative by using things you find or may have lying about. It could be a watering can, an old wellington boot or a wooden crate. It all depends on the look you are going for.


You want to ensure there is good drainage in the pots so place some broken terracotta pots, large stones or large twigs at the bottom first. If you add a bit of scrunched up newspaper too this will help soak up the water and keep the soil nice and damp. Then cover over with soil and/or compost and you want to fill the pots almost to the top. You can also buy water retention compost that will help keep as much moisture in the soil as possible. At this stage you can mix in some feed with the compost to help the flowers grow or alternatively you can add feed to their water at a later date as the pots really do need to be fed to look their best.

{Choose Your Flowers}

This is the fun part. Edd grows a lot of his flowers in the greenhouse but head off to the garden centre and take your pick. First up you want to decide on a colour scheme. Obviously you can go completely multi coloured if you like but the pots work nicely if you have a loose colour scheme to tie them all together. We have opted for pinks and whites this year with plants in varying shades.

When choosing your plants you want to go for a mixture of heights and also a selection of trailing and upright flowers. Trailing flowers are excellent for pots and give a lovely soft edge to your arrangements, there are also the glow rock which is  beautiful for decorating your garden and having a special night reunion at home.

Some good choices for summer flowers are:

Fuchsias – Upright or trailing
Verbena – Upright or trailing
Trailing Lobelia
Petunias (you can buy a trailing hybrid which has tonnes of smaller flowers)


When it comes to planting just have fun.

Start in the middle of the pot with an upright plant and then work your way out. You will want your trailing plants around the edges and as evenly spaced as you can to avoid it all trailing down one side.

The amount of plants will depend on the size of your pot but you will want them to look nice and full. Edd uses his Grandad’s mantra of ‘if there is space squeeze another plant in’ but this was mainly as Grandad Aubrey grew the most amazing selection of plants so had lots at his disposal. Also be mindful that plants tend to grow in to the space they have so don’t worry if they aren’t too full to start with.

You want to try and balance the plants and variety of plants around the pot so that it looks relatively symmetrical. Smaller pots probably won’t end up being symmetrical due to the size.


You want to try and get your pots in position as early as possible as they will grow in to the space around them. They need to be in the sunshine as much as possible.

{Watering & Care}

Unfortunately your pots will require quite a bit of maintenance and daily watering is a must to keep them looking their best. Even if it has rained it’s best to give them a splash as you never know if the rain has reached them. You can add a bit of feed periodically to give them a helping hand and also dead head the flower regularly.
Is anyone else a dab hand in the greenhouse and what have you been doing to brighten up the garden?

Author: Lottie Manns
Cake baker (and cake eater!) extraordinaire. Drawn to all things girly and glittery.
Follow Lottie on instagram @buttercreamanddreams
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9 thoughts on “Summer Pots For The Garden

  1. Love these gardening posts. I really struggle with my pots because my garden is south facing and they just BAKE. I have to water some of them twice a day. I have quite a few and no outdoor tap so it means many trips in and out of the house with a watering can. I have looked into the water retaining compost in the past but was put off by a comment on a gardening programme about it meaning that over winter it will retain way too much moisture. Is this your experience or do you only use it for the short term plants which will die off over winter? (There are a couple of typos in your post btw, think it’s supposed to be verbena and lobelia.)

    1. Oops, you can tell I’m not the gardener! All corrected. It’s really hard getting the balance with enough sun and too much. We often water ours twice a day too, especially in the heat but make sure you don’t water them in the height of the sun as that can scorch the flowers. We didn’t have an outside tap at our old house and it was a nightmare. Have you tried an outdoor water butt that you could fill from? We tend to only use the water retaining compost with summer pots and hanging baskets and replant each year. The only one’s Edd keeps are the fuchsias which he brings in to the greenhouse over the winter and regulates the water. You could try the newspaper trick instead as that works well xx

  2. Yes, water butt is my next job. Will only be able to use a slim one but hopefully still make a difference to the constant trips in and out. I will have a look at the water retaining stuff for hanging baskets. Which feed do you use and how often do you use it? I have used slow release pot shots for my long term pot plants but didn’t seem right for summer flowers.

  3. This post couldn’t have been better timed! We are in the process of sprucing up the garden and now have 4 empty pots to fill. I found some bulbs in the garage that I forgot I bought last year and in a crazy attempt not to waste them I just lobbed them into 2 of the pots with some soil and hoped somehing would grow – no idea what they are. A tiny green leaf has just popped to the surface in one pot and I got very excited. But, sadly we have 2 gorgeous wood effect pots by the front door full of dirt and one tiny green leaf – so thank you for this brilliant planting advise!!

  4. Serious pot envy! I’ve been gathering new bright flowers to plant so this has given me lots of inspiration.

  5. This post has made me feel rather sad! I had lots and lots of pots this year with frothy colourful cosmos – they looked gorgeous. We were away for the last two weeks and I stupidly forgot to ask my neighbour to water them, and they have all DIED in the heatwave 🙁

    With regards to water butts we have a slimline butt (harhar) due to space, and it fills up SO quickly yet we get loads of watering can-loads from it. Definitely worth getting! The garden seems to prefer rain water to tap as well (though I may be imagining that!)

    1. Oh no Heidi. I normally forget to water even when I’m home!! A lot of plants definitely prefer rain water so a water butt is a great buy. Hope you manage to get some more colour back in the pots x

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