My Mediterranean inspired container garden


I love container gardening because I can create gardens in the smallest of spaces and I can easily change my displays as often as I want. I first posted about my little container garden at the front of my house in May, when I had a really colourful display of spring bulbs in containers around my front door.

Inspired by the planting schemes and container gardens I saw during my holiday in Provence, I decided to try and recreate some of this at home. So, I had a change around and purchased some new plants.

The most prominent plants I saw in Provence were agapanthus, lavender, oleander, pelargonium, cactus, cypress trees, roses and bougainvillea. I’ve used these as inspiration and picked a selection of plants that would remind me of my holiday and also work in my sunny front garden.


Inspired by the simple planter I saw in Mouans-Sartoux these classic red pelargoniums are perfect for my window boxes as they prefer full sun and don’t need a lot of water, making them very easy to maintain. The contrast of the bright red colour lifts the pastels of the plants on the ground below and they will flower into the autumn when I’ll overwinter them. To do this I prune back the flower heads, bring them into my house and leave them on a windowsill. I find this works a lot better than covering them with fleece in my greenhouse, which is what I do with some of my other plants over the winter.


Next to my front door (left to right above) I have agapanthus, echinacea, coreopsis, verbena, phlox and my existing pot of succulents. I also chose a little box tree and clipped it into a tall skinny shape to remind me of the striking tall cypress trees that defined the Provençal landscape.

Agapanthus were everywhere in Provence, in containers, in borders and even in central reservations along the roads. Roger Brook from the no dig gardener blog posted this brilliant guide for growing and propagating agapanthus. Since my pot is small and young I’ll be wrapping it in fleece over winter and storing it in my greenhouse.

I’ve never had any success with echinacea purpurea before but I’m determined to have another go because I love how they look. This is another perennial that likes a lot of sunshine so it’s perfect for my sunny location. The snails seem to enjoy a nibble so I’m having to use organic slug killer to protect them.


Coreopsis rosea – American Dream: this hardy perennial is like a dense matt of tiny little pink daisies with wispy green leaves that the bees and hoverflies love.


Alongside the coreopsis this verbena rigida forms a drift of colour and really reminds me of Provence. It too loves full sun and is a half hardy perennial, so it will live wrapped up in my greenhouse over winter too.

There’s tons of phlox varieties out there and I think they’re really underrated. Perhaps more cottage garden than Provence but it still works well with the pinks & purples that remind me so much of my holiday.


On the other side of the doorway I chose a simple pot of parsley to have handy for cooking. A pelargonium that I overwintered last year, a cuphea, my existing sempervivum (houseleek), lavender and I already had the pyracantha and the rose.


pelargoniums  rose

The little evergreen cuphea (below) is outstanding and will continue to flower into the autumn along with the lavender and rose, which provide lovely scent. All these plants are great for wildlife and it’s been wonderful having bees and butterflies right outside my home.


I loved mixing my new purchases in with some of my existing container plants and although I really don’t feel I recreated the stunningly chic displays I saw in Provence, my summer display has brought me a lot of pleasure and has reminded me of my holiday. Next year I want to continue the theme but I really want to add an oleander and an olive tree!

As we move further into September the lavender will remain flowering for a few more weeks, as will the pelargoniums and the cuphea but the others will fade. So I’m already starting to think about my autumn/winter planting schemes and which bulbs I’ll choose for my spring display.

Do you enjoy container gardening and have you started thinking about which plants you’ll chose for autumn and winter?


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33 Responses to “My Mediterranean inspired container garden”

  1. lottielandgirl September 3, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

    Beautiful hot colours. I’m usually a fan of lilacs and whites but these look amazing :D

    • Anna B September 3, 2013 at 12:44 pm #

      Hi Lottie Land Girl! Thanks so much :) I must say pinks and lilacs aren’t really colours I’ve gone for outside my house before but it’s been such a nice change and I definitely need to look after my pots over winter and bring them back next year! I love your new blog by the way :) Thanks so much for your comment!

  2. Jenny September 3, 2013 at 1:40 pm #

    I love how many different flowers you’ve squeezed into the space – it makes such a vibrant display :)

    • Anna B September 3, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

      Thanks so much Jenny! I wish I could squeeze in more! Hope all is good with you and thanks for dropping by :)

  3. Nell Jean September 3, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

    Beautiful display! I never intend to have many container plants, but they just ingratiate themselves. During the winter I’ll force hyacinths and amaryllis. There will be ‘way too many Christmas cactuses because when I pinch, I root the pieces. Begonias make such lovely Christmas plants and so do Kalanchoe. I get carried away with cuttings.

    Thank you for the link to the Agapanthus information. I think I can separate some and have more plants next year. I didn’t follow the advice to not put other plants in with them. Seems the more crowded they were, the more determined to grow they were. Ample rainfall helped, too.

    • Anna B September 3, 2013 at 3:17 pm #

      Hello there! Interesting about your agapanthus! Seems if they want to grow they will find a way! Sounds like you have some good ideas for winter that should really brighten up the long days. I like your tip for the Christmas cactus plants! Thanks so much for dropping by :)

  4. Linda September 3, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

    Your container planting must give you a lot of pleasure. I like your metal container planted up with pelargoniums and that’s the type of planter I would like to buy to add to my plans for a Mediterranean style
    display. At the moment I’m waiting for plants to die down before doing a bigger makeover and still enjoying the roses that are re-blooming, the lavender etc.

    • Anna B September 3, 2013 at 7:51 pm #

      Hi Linda! I think over the next few weeks I’ll gradually be making some changes and I’m thinking about good foliage plants for over the winter. I’ve just popped a rosemary plant out there this afternoon too! I did have one but it frazzled while I was away in France! Great to hear what you’re plans are. Thanks so much for dropping by :)

  5. rusty duck September 3, 2013 at 5:46 pm #

    Love this, the colour scheme really works. Like you, I’ve struggled with echinacea and am trying it again this year. Sounds like I need to be keeping an eye on those pesky slugs!

    • Anna B September 3, 2013 at 7:57 pm #

      Hi Rusty Duck! I’ve always grown my echinacea in borders so I’ve never really known why they’ve never come back but since having them right outside in pots I’ve learnt a lot more about them and it wouldn’t surprise me if slugs and snails have been the cause of their decline in the past! I hope you’re well and thanks so much for your comment :)

  6. CJ September 3, 2013 at 8:47 pm #

    Your containers are lovely, well done you. I’ve got quite a few, but mostly green plants. I think I need some more flowers.

    • Anna B September 3, 2013 at 9:12 pm #

      Hi CJ! I’m looking forward to introducing colour and texture through just foliage over winter. Thanks so much for your comment :)

  7. Cathy September 3, 2013 at 8:50 pm #

    Hi Anna. Yes, I love containers too! Your summer pots are lovely, and I really like the idea of growing perennials in containers, such as that pretty Verbena and the Echinacea. I have problems with slugs and snails too, and watering the whole garden is just not on, but watering pots is so much easier. I use copper tape around some pots and it has always worked for me. Thanks for inspiring me… I think I’ll try growing Echinacea again in a container next year!

    • Anna B September 3, 2013 at 9:19 pm #

      Hi Cathy! I feel like I get more value for money with perennials! When they grow too big I can plant them out in my borders. I agree about it being easier to water pots than the whole garden but the thought of watering pots is also what puts a lot of people off! Even in my full sun location watering is not the problem – the slugs and snails are! Thanks for the copper tape tip and thanks so much for dropping by :)

  8. nataliescarberry September 3, 2013 at 10:04 pm #

    Thanks for sending me you post. I enjoyed reading about your little container gardens. I have mixed some of those in my garden as well. Blessings, Natalie

    • Anna B September 4, 2013 at 6:43 am #

      Hi Natalie! Thanks very much for your comment :) I’m glad you enjoyed my post!

  9. Jo September 4, 2013 at 11:14 am #

    Your container planting looks wonderful. I don’t have as many ornamentals planted up in containers as I used to, veg has taken over a bit at home as well as the allotment, but I do have some things in containers. I have some bright red pelargoniums in tall, blue pots on each side of my back door, and they look really good. The red against the blue really works. I love the different types of pot you use too, different colours, textures and shapes definitely add something to a display, just as the different flowers do.

    • Anna B September 4, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

      Hi Jo! Your blue pots with red pelargoniums sound very Mediterranean! I bet they look great :) I wish I had some nicer pots to be honest, I love worn out looking terracotta pots but then also striking colours are good too! I want to grow some pak choi in a pot at home over the winter and I’ve just replaced my rosemary that didn’t survive the heatwave while I was away. Lovely to hear about what you’re doing, thanks so much for dropping by!

  10. Of Gardens September 4, 2013 at 1:07 pm #

    I like to put annuals in containers. They give such a burst of color for long periods of time, and they can be put places where there is no dirt, like patios and steps. I have always loved how the French put geraniums in lots and lots of pots and have them in all kinds of places outdoors. Inspired by the French, I use geraniums a lot in pots. Geraniums are not considered very fashionable in my part of the world, but I love how easy, tough and colorful they are.

    • Anna B September 4, 2013 at 3:04 pm #

      Who cares about fashion hey! Plants are plants and can and should be admired for their beauty regardless of how fashionable they are. I have a cotoneaster growing up the side of my wall, it came over from next door and that is considered very common and not fashionable at all but I love it! Geraniums are gorgeous and I’m glad you love them too. I love annuals like cosmos and have had my front steps filled with those in the past and your comment has got me thinking about doing that again next year! Thanks so much for dropping by and sharing your ideas :)

  11. Holleygarden September 4, 2013 at 1:40 pm #

    In the past, I have not done a lot of container gardening, but I am becoming more interested in it the past couple of years. I even purchased a citrus tree for one of my containers – I’m hoping I can keep it alive through the winter! Your container plantings look so very pretty. I love all the purples, but the agapanthus really caught my eye. I love this plant, but it’s not hardy here. I had never thought to put it in a pot! Thanks for the idea!

    • Anna B September 4, 2013 at 3:07 pm #

      Hey there! I love citrus trees in pots! Again, very Mediterranean :) I have some small trees in pots and over winter I wrap them in fleece and move them into my greenhouse. If your pot is too heavy you could just wrap it up outside. I’ve seen people use bubble wrap too and even fleece with hessian wrapped around the outside. So happy to hear you like my post. Thank you so much for your comment :)

  12. Anna September 4, 2013 at 9:36 pm #

    What an attractive display Anna to greet you when you arrive home – you must have had fun putting it all together. I would love to grow red pelargoniums but the smell of the leaves does not agree with me :( Busy now contemplating bulb order some of which will end up in containers.

    • Anna B September 5, 2013 at 6:44 am #

      Hi Anna! Ah that’s a shame about the smell of the leaves, I must admit I didn’t know they had a smell, I shall go and sniff them! I did have fun shopping for the new plants and rearranging all my pots. It’s nice to have a spruce up. Won’t be long before I do it again! I’ve started thinking about bulbs too. As soon as I start to think of the grim winter I remind myself that we still have some good weather left yet, plus lovely autumn and of course, the bulbs to plant! Thanks so much for dropping by :)

  13. Ricki Grady September 5, 2013 at 1:27 am #

    Very clever of you to extend your holiday this way, and generous to share it with us.

    • Anna B September 5, 2013 at 6:42 am #

      Hi Ricki! When we went to Turkey we came back and Adam built our ‘Turkish bed’ seating area so I think we just love our holidays and want to try and extend it back home as much as possible! Thanks so much for your comment :)

  14. Cathy September 5, 2013 at 8:42 am #

    That’s looking great. Anna – and I am glad (?) to hear I am not the only one who seems to struggle with echinaceas, although I too am trying again! Well done for working hard at your pots – it takes organisation and advanced thinking, doesn’t it [I forgot bulbs for pots in my bulb order ;) ]?

    • Anna B September 5, 2013 at 9:46 am #

      Hi Cathy! Yes, I’ve always struggled with them but I just love them! I usually just re-use perennials each year and buy new plants that I like but this year I wanted to buy some of the plants I saw on holiday so there was a bit of planning / sourcing involved there. It’s nice to mix & match and change things about a bit off the cuff really. I am thinking about bulbs now too! Thanks so much for your comment :)

  15. Caro September 7, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

    Hey Anna! I see the Dixter influence has prevailed and been further inspired by your Provence holiday! It’s all looking really great! I have echinacea and it loves to just be in the ground, spreading out and getting stronger year on year; try putting it in a deep and wide pot, would look lovely with some sempervivums or herbs around the base! And I promise I’ll try and get organised with my pots very soon! Am also being distracted by bulb catalogues!!

    • Anna B September 7, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

      Hello Caro! Great Dixter definitely had a very profound effect on me and as a container garden enthusiast when I saw their pots and heard Fergus talk about how much they enjoy changing their displays it was like music to my ears! Thanks for the advice regarding the echinacea, I really don’t want to lose them again so deep wide pot it is! What a great idea for planting round the base!! You’ve inspired me :) Thanks Caro and lovely to hear from you, enjoy your catalogues!!

  16. wellywoman September 12, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

    I’m finally managing to work through everyone’s posts. Better late than never. I’m going to make more of an effort with pots next year I think. Other than my herb planters and a collection of hostas I haven’t done any this year. Probably just as well as I think they would have been neglected. I love your collection of pots. Wow I really like the cuphea. Is it hardy or do you need to bring it into the greenhouse over winter? I haven’t had much luck with echinaceas either and that’s with them in the ground. I think they like quite free draining conditions and slugs do seem to love them.

    • Anna B September 26, 2013 at 9:30 am #

      Hello wellywoman! If I leave the cuphea at the front of the house over winter then it should be ok. It’s an evergreen and pretty tough but like anything in a pot if it gets too much exposure to the elements over the winter then it could damage it. The front of the house is warm and sheltered. If I move it though then I will pop it in my greenhouse, better to be safe than sorry and it’s small enough to very very transportable! I’m thinking of a nice foliage display over winter, some nice tones and textures so it might well stay there. I keep seeing and reading about people who grow echinaceas with great success but also hearing from so many people who also struggle. What is the secret of success with them?!?!?!!? Definitely keeping the slugs off like you say – they devour them! Thanks so much for dropping by :)


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