Designs, Tricks, and Schemes

I’m the Thriller Filler Spiller Killer!

this pot, with its one plant, is perfect just as it is. No razzmatazz.

this pot, with its one plant, is perfect just as it is. No razzmatazz.

I hate rules.

I mean really, I do. I always have. My brain won’t accept them. If someone tells me that THIS is the way to do a thing, I will try and find another way to do it. It may come from my years as an actor, and theatre training – we are supposed to be curious, inquisitive, open to new things. A rigid rule or a path that takes one from A to B in a straight line just isn’t interesting, and tends to yield bland results. So when I come across “rules” in garden design, I tend to balk.

The worst rule, in my eyes, has to do with container gardening. When I see it re-printed (which it is, constantly) I want to shred the magazine at fault in an old, dull, rusty paper shredder. Imagine the pain. When I see it enthusiastically championed on a website, I have to resist hurling my computer against the wall. I vow never to visit whichever website / blog that regurgitated this peppy garden pap ever again.

Here is the gist of the offending “tip”:

When designing a container, you must use a tall, dramatic plant (Thriller), a medium sized, leafy plant (Filler), and a cascading plant of some sort to break the edge (Spiller). Thriller, filler, spiller – GET IT? It RHYMES!!!! So it must be a good rule, being all rhyme-y and everything.

I want to know who came up with this platitude of container design? I always think of Pallen Smith when I read the phrase, but I don’t know if it is because it truly originated with him or if it just seems  like exactly the sort of thing he would have come up with. Or, (let’s be honest here), it would be more likely that someone came up with it FOR him and he went and ran with it, his syrupy southern drawl making it that much more homey and appealing – and EASY! WOW! Now anyone can have an awesome container, cuz THRILLER FILLER SPILLER!!! It is so catchy! What a cinch to remember!

It isn’t the actual advice that I have a problem with – it is pretty good advice. If you combine a tall dramatic plant with a full, leafy one, and then add a procumbent little friend to hang over the edge of your pot, you’re bound to have yourself a nice container. It’s a look – one of many looks that can be achieved with plants and containers. That’s all. It isn’t magic.

Catchphrases can create an echo chamber that make people think they have just received wisdom. No – what they have is an easily remembered group of words that take the place of actually thinking. Have you ever spoken to someone who is always spouting catchprases and aphorisms? You’ll be trying to open up a conversation, to get to the good talk, to try and understand something, and then they will pop up with something like “Well, you know what they say, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander’” – and you are all like “what?”? Goose? What is a gander anyway? Your conversation has come full stop, and the catchphraser thinks he just said something meaningful and profound, when actually he just threw a word bomb at you that served to do nothing but to stop conversation and thought.

The Thriller Filler Spiller rule is the design version of that. It exists precisely to make things simple, to give you a template that you don’t need to vary – it is the end of a design conversation that you could be having with your containers and your plants. What if you just put a thriller in a fabulous pot? That could be exactly the thing you need in the entry of your midcentury ranch house – clean, dramatic, elegant. None of this jazzy thrill and fill and spill – it may not be appropriate. Or what if you have the crazy idea of just using a spiller to drape over the lip of a low bowl – peaceful and serene, like water cascading over the edge of a fountain? A thriller would just be obnoxious, unnecessary. I personally love a pot with just a filler in it – it is my new “thing”. The repetition of fillers in pots can provide a simple structure to a busy landscape, giving it balance.

All of these ideas, which could be great, would be undiscovered if someone just ran with Thriller Filler Spiller and didn’t enter into a real conversation with the space, the plants, and the containers they are dealing with.

I am not much of a fan of simplifying thoughts. I like simple spaces, but not simple ideas. I love when I see design work that has been beautifully considered – THAT is why I have always had trouble with tips, tricks, and easy formulas. Sure, some people just want to get things done – I get it. For them, there are many of places to learn the easy way to do just about anything. In fact, it seems like the internet may have been invented just for this very reason (or was it for easy access to porn? Hmmm….)

So that’s my rant. Don’t EVEN get me started on Sleep Creep and Leap!!!

Posted by on September 24, 2014 at 2:17 am, in the category Designs, Tricks, and Schemes.
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51 responses to “I’m the Thriller Filler Spiller Killer!”

  1. Carolyn says:

    I like one kind of plant to a pot, usually, and my few attempts to do “thriller filler spiller” haven’t been very successful. But I don’t see why you object to rhymes and proverbs on principle. Think of them as folklore. (I’ve always seen the goose/gander one as feminist. Though it may be misused if people no longer know what a gander is.)

    • Ivette Soler Ivette Soler says:

      Hi Carolyn! Yes I am currently in a “one pot one plant” phase myself – I think our eyes become tired of looking at a thing, and overly complicated pots stuffed with everything are just making me weary.
      It isn’t rhymes or proverbs that I object to – it is oversimplification. I adore folklore and am a huge fan or fairy tales and fables, but I see certain idioms and aphorisms as sayings that are true just because they are often repeated – like “Every cloud has a silver lining”. Not true. The idea is that out of every bad thing will come a good thing, and that just isn’t the case. It is a platitude, it may comfort people, but the idea is to get people to just believe, whereas I think actual thought is always a better choice.
      The fact that you decided Thriller Filler Spiller wasn’t for you was exactly the thing I’m talking about – you decided that for your design purposes, one plant one pot was just right. YAY! But I can’t tell you how many people think of that little rhyme as a RULE, and they think they fail if every pot doesn’t have those elements. My desire is to free people from the tyranny of easy rhyming garden rules!!! Thanks for your comment!

    • Ivette Soler Ivette Soler says:

      Carolyn I was just thinking about goose and gander – and I’ve always thought “If it’s good for a goose, then it’s good for a quick look (a gander, right?)” – and of course that makes no sense. Who knows what a gander is, other than that already old “take a gander” (take a peek)? Is a “gander” a Lady Goose? How is anyone supposed to know that? BUT that old saying is still in use, with nobody understanding it, and just making up their own meanings for it, like I do.

      • A. Marina Fournier says:

        I know that a gander is a walk and a male goose is a gander. Watch out where that gander ganders, lest you step in what passed.

        Way too many of us now see Canada Geese all year round…I think there was a Garden Rant on that quite a while ago. Almost every school’s athletic field(s) around here have a flock or five hunting for food.

        Depends on what I’ve planted as to whether I want under-planting. I’ve learned not to put irises under dwarf fruit trees. I’m generally not using that large a pot or planter that three different plantings is healthy for the plants.

        I think the plant in that container is the only thing that ought to be in it–you’d miss so much of it were a filler and a spiller smushed in!

        If EVERY container in one’s yard followed this three-step idea, think how many plants you’d be unable to see!

        • Carolyn says:

          Don’t people read nursery rhymes to children anymore?

          Old Mother Goose when she wanted to wander
          Would fly through the air on a very fine gander.

          Although that probably just confuses the issue. Mother must have explained that a gander is a male goose. In the picture he just looked like a big goose.

          I guess once you get a couple of generations away from the farm, you don’t learn the animal terms. A radio announcer here (Texas) several years ago reported one morning that a mare had been seen running down the highway–and referred to the animal as “him.” That generated a lot of phone calls from ranchers.

          • Ivette Soler Ivette Soler says:

            Carolyn, I have no idea what people read to their children – maybe Harry Potter and 50 Shades of Gray?
            I always assumed “gander” rhymed with “pander” – if it rhymes with “wander” than it is pronounced “GAH-nder”? Silly goose. Silly MALE goose!

  2. karenj says:

    Agreed! While the rule is great if you have one big ol’ pot and the desire is to be a drama queen/king, I am like Carolyn. My wide front porch is full pots of shady annuals, all are one-type-to-a-pot except one pot with two types – tuberous begonias, impatiens (both new guinea and regular) and giant coleus (with the flowers left on because hummers and bees both love them.) Different height pots do a lot to make it interesting. Patio is similar – each in their own container, except a few fillers for the ornamental millet. Meant to accent the shrubs, ground plantings, and general landscape, to allow for rearranging when things get dull and I want to change it up.

    • Ivette Soler Ivette Soler says:

      KarenJ that sounds gorgeous! Yes, see we are on the same wavelength. In many instances, pots will be used as accents in or near a landscape (like the one in the photo accompanying the post) and to have the pot be overly complicated creates a distraction rather than a simple focal point. While large, singular pots anchoring a large patio may be the perfect place for the thriller filler spiller concept, clusters of pots in a smaller space risk looking chaotic if every single pot adheres to the TFS principle.
      I am currently crazy about begonias btw…

  3. Pam J. says:

    I have no opinion on the subject of your rant but I do love learning the word “procumbent.” It could be used to describe the wooly thyme in my backyard that is slowly covering up the big, irregular, randomly arranged flagstones that make up my patio. The roots have very little soil to grow in but seem to love being procumbent on the stones.

    • Ivette Soler Ivette Soler says:

      I LOVE words Pam J – just as much as I love plants. The descriptions of plants embedded in their “latin” names are so evocative and lovely – “arborescent”, “attenuata”, “lutea”, “triloba” – “procumbens”, and so many more, add a level of richness to the experience of studying plants. When you see your ground cover thyme and know that it is procumbent, i.e. -crawling across the ground or laying flat, you can apply that knowledge to any plant you read about that has the word procumbens or prostrata attached to it. A smart system!

  4. Naomi says:

    I think Steve Silk originated the phrase in Fine Gardening magazine, and Kathy Puhfahl made it popular. Both create (created in the case of Kathy) extraordinarily beautiful container plantings, so I don’t wince when I hear this.

    • Ivette Soler Ivette Soler says:

      Good to know Naomi.
      I don’t know why I always go to Pallen!
      And yes, the catchphrase CAN create great container plantings – but again, many laypeople get stuck on rules and are fearful to explore further. I like to allow for play and discovery on one’s own! ESPECIALLY when we are talking about containers, which are the perfect place to take risks. If it doesn’t work, that’s ok – try it again! Thriller Filler Spiller is but one option

  5. Daedre says:

    I agree those terms are cheesy, but I don’t see anything wrong with using a mnemonic device that helps people understand a concept. I’ve used the thriller/filler/spiller spiel recently and people really seem to like it (mostly because it’s easy to remember). There really aren’t any rules in gardening, so I use the terms more to categorize potential uses for plants, not as hard-and-fast rules for design.

    • Ivette Soler Ivette Soler says:

      Daedre, WE may know that there are no hard and fast rules in gardening, but all over the internet there are “10 Rules For A Perfect Planting” and “8 Tricks for Picturesque Pots” and the like – we know it’s click bait, but many people see them as real RULES, not as suggestions and guideposts. I’ll wager that the people who love the Thriller Filler Spiller “trick” will use it, and that’s cool – but my point is that by just thinking, trying things, playing around, they can come to beautiful plantings that are originated from their interaction with their materials and their consideration of the space around them. I get that not everybody wants to get all “thinky” – they just want a pot by their front door. It’s just not my preferred way, and not what I encourage in my practice.

  6. Tibs says:

    When I try the thriller spiller filler thing I end up with only one of them living. Can’t seem to find compatible plants. So I go mono.
    I am guilty of overuse of aphroisms. As a reader of old pulp fiction I use really out of date sayings which confuse the hell out of Everryone.
    “Might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb. ”
    “Like taking coals to Newcastle.”

    • Ivette Soler Ivette Soler says:

      Tibs you made me laugh so hard. The use of outdated aphorisms that nobody understands – now THAT is FUNNY!!!! If I was writing a play right now, I’d definitely write a character that has that peculiar habit. I love it!!!!

    • A. Marina Fournier says:

      Do you go ’round Robin Hood’s Barn when you’re taking your coals to Newcastle? Not on my tintype!

      Due to reading more historical than contemporary-set fiction, especially in my youth, modern slang is very hard for me to grok. Throw obscure and antiquated expressions at me, and I’m right there.

  7. plantanista (Maureen D) says:

    I first heard this from a client in Chevy Chase, MD (yes, there is a place named the same as the now-annoying actor). She had heard it from a floral arranger. We applied the principles to great effect. She also mentioned something about uninvited guests to the wedding, but my mind was outta there because I did not have any interest in floral arrangement at the time.

    This was way back in the early 90’s, when horticultural soundbites were not commonplace. They honestly would have been handy when dealing with retail nursery customers. Most folks need to feel as if they can master a gardening action within their comfort zone. And, if the phrase can be repeated to an impressed neighbor, in-law, or

    Then there are people like you who come along and shatter the horticultural dreams and achievements of others, and my hat is off to you! This is probably why I was terrible at retail sales. “Just try it. If it dies, you’ll learn something from the experience”.

    Actually, in all seriousness, I killed in retail sales, and see the need for phrases like this to feed the maw of folks who must devour gardening information in the fashion of perhaps, a Twix. They do not want to hear about soil amendment, compost, time as the most important factor to consider in design, etc.. There are many, and the market responds to them.

    I would like to see us come up with a whole series of soundbites for various horticultural situations. I’ll start:

    “A hailer, a flailer, and a jailer”– the condition of a three-gallon pot crammed with “potting media”, a phormium, and a delphinium being strangled by a horrendous staking job

    Or, a more useful (and positive) one:

    “What you need here, ma’am, is a hoe-er, not a blower. Or even better yet, a sculpture, a mulcher, and some hugelkulture.”

    • Ivette Soler Ivette Soler says:

      Maureen – I LOVE YOU!!!!
      But you already knew that!!!
      Yes, I get that these saying that roll off the tongue are HUGELY BELOVED in nurseries – they help drive sales and they give tired weary people who just need to plant something in the damned pot a bit of encouragement. So nursery people are allowed – go forth and Thrill it, Fill it, Spill it!!!
      But then there is a point (I hope, at least), where many people will want to interact with their landscapes on a more thoughtful, subtle level. I’d like to encourage THAT behavior, as a designer who hopes her clients will become wise stewards of the gardens I make for them. I often go shopping with them and we talk about containers, and I like to encourage their exploration rather than just telling them – hey, put a thriller there and a filler there and a spiller there and TA-DAAAA!!!! Example – I have a client who owns a gallery. Very successful guy – also very rigid and needing to always be “right”. He wanted me to teach him how to plant the very lovely fancy pots he had been collecting – they needed to look perfect. I told him that those pots couldn’t help but look perfect (Cressey pots!), so he should just plant them with his 3 year old daughter. The pots look amazing, he and his daughter have a thing they love doing together, and he isn’t stuck on yet another formula for achieving the dream.
      I really liked that.
      My hort catchphrase offering “I know morning glories are beautiful, but it will soon be a case of ‘Tangler, Strangler, Mangler’ if you know what I mean!”
      XOXOXOXOXOXO!!!!!

    • A. Marina Fournier says:

      If only more of the “mow, blow, and go” crews knew what a hoe was for….

  8. Laura Bell says:

    Oh, Ivette! You speak to my heart!

    I cannot tolerate the Thriller Filler Spiller formula. I barely tolerate formulas themselves simply because they are so formulaic. But TFS gets to me because it implies that this plant – whichever letter it may be – isn’t good enough to stand on its own. Why would you have a plant you consider too dull to stand alone in your garden in the first place? Don’t even get me started on that poor forgotten middle child, the Filler. Simply there to fill the gap between the two stars of the show? Gah!

    On a more practical note, I have all too often adopted TFS containers from friends, neighbors, and co-workers wherein at least one of the plants is suffering some mysterious malady and withering away. I feel like asking the florist who assembled it, “Oh really? You thought it was a good idea to put English ivy with a mini-palm tree and a sedum? Did you really think that would work out, or are you hoping the recipient will blame themselves for its failure?” No, really. My boss had one such basket & his assistant snuck it to me to do what I could with it. What I could do was transplant each into its own appropriate container. They are now thriving separately.

    • Ivette Soler Ivette Soler says:

      You bring up SUCH a good point, Laura Bell! So often the three chosen to live together in the pot are chosen for looks and are not culturally adapted, and people don’t care because “It’s only a pot”. As much as I like playing around, one needs to expect that if they overstuff a pot, or plant 3 completely incompatible plants close together, the results may be … problematic. In many instances these pots are meant to live only a few months and then they are re-planted, adding to the bottom line of the nursery or florist who planted them. BUT what about people who want their containers to grow and thrive? Keeping up a Thriller Filler Spiller planting can be trying for a beginner – exactly the people for whom the catchphrase would be useful!
      And you spoke to my heart too, because I am an advocate of the FILLER, the one that is nothing special – the plant that just takes up space in the middle. Snif. I love a filler. I want the filler to have its moment in the sun!
      Always lovely hearing from you!

      • Joe Schmitt says:

        I’ve been on a lifelong mission to eliminate the word “filler” from the florist’s lexicon. As a commercial grower of dozens of plants often referred to with the “F’ word, I have more than one dog in this fight. It’s always pejorative, suggesting something worthless or cheap, merely taking up space, like cornmeal in scrapple, white bread in meatloaf. I try always to call them “textural accents” or counterpoints, or touches of whimsey or a bit of wiggle or bubbles over the champagne. And I charge accordingly.

        • Ivette Soler Ivette Soler says:

          Joe Schmitt I want to join your army! Be my fearless leader and I will follow! Poor “Filler”!!! I think Textural Interest is way better than “filler” – the white bread in meatloaf, as you so eloquently put it. Without texture we are NO WHERE! The Filler should actually be the Thriller, and the Thriller should be re-named PHYLLIS DILLER!!!

          • Joe Schmitt says:

            Just the fracts, ma’am, nothing but the fracts. Fractally speaking, texture beats amorphous blobs of color, hands down. The trick is in getting folks to focus on the details. I used to think sea life had the most amazing and improbable life forms on the planet, but the more I learn about plants . . . it’s a tossup.

        • A. Marina Fournier says:

          love the way you think!

          My belle-mere is a watercolorist, and I’ve learned a bit about composition/design from her. She never thinks of anything in a painting or drawing as less important than another part, and texture is as important as color.

          Without texture, everything is flat and boring–but there are amazing plants with a variety of tactile and visual textures.

          • Ivette Soler Ivette Soler says:

            A. Marina – YES!!! Yes to TEXTURE!!!! I’ve been simplifying the colors in my designs lately, and while I’ve always ben somewhat of a texture monster, I see it’s value even more as I tone down the color. I’m very glad you brought up watercolor, because we as gardeners can learn so much from looking at painting, even abstraction and portraiture – it’s all there!
            Thanks for the comment!

  9. ks says:

    I use’Poofy-Spikey-Droopy’ myself. And furthermore I, yes I , originated the Poofy-Spikey-Droopy nomenclature. Will it be spoken by future generations, or will TFS rule the day ? In spite of my fabu invention, it’s mostly mono pots around here this year—although I still love and perform the Hobbsian ‘succulent pizza’ technique …

    • Ivette Soler Ivette Soler says:

      ks, I will try my best to use Poofy Spikey Droopy whenever I can, just so that it can make its way into the lexicon and you can have bragging rights! We heard it here FIRST, Ranters – POOFY SPIKEY DROOPY!!!!

  10. Indie says:

    I love it, and I couldn’t agree more! My favorite containers are usually ones just full of spillers. It totally depends on the look you want and the garden.

  11. Kristin says:

    Well said, Ivette!
    Indeed, catchphrases end all critical thinking,– both about the meaning of the catchphrase and any further exploration. They become devoid of meaning, much in the way that an overused style trick becomes devoid of design.

    One of my pet peeves, and it’s one that unfortunately influences my behavior, is that many of my clients for whom I’ve planted containers over the years think I’ve gotten lazy if I dont want to do the jazzed up thrilly spilly container for them anymore. Many pots are just too small for that nonsense and it’s so much better to find just the right plant.

    Thanks for calling a spade a spade, to use another catchphrase 😉

    • Ivette Soler Ivette Soler says:

      Kristin are we the same person? Thank you for backing me up, and for saying “thrilly spilly” – I am going to use it as a pejorative whenever I see an overly complicated container, and I’ll wrinkly my nose while I do it. Cheers!

  12. filippine says:

    When I lived in the city, I had only space for two hanging boxes , Only geraniums? of course not! I could have invented the Thriller, filler, spiller thing, one or two big plants (Trees), some filler (shrubs) and a spiller (flowers) and I was the happy owner of two wonderful mini gardens. It wouldn’t have been beyond me to put in little elf chairs and a small table.
    But I know people that have plastic plants in their pot, ‘to have some color in winter’. Anything that makes the pot work for us, or the geese, I guess.

    • Ivette Soler Ivette Soler says:

      Filippine, I like what you are saying because are an example of how, if you just sit there and deal with your containers and the needs of your space, YOU will come up with exactly what YOU need, and in your case it was TFS – no one imposed it upon you – you created it! I love that! Like I said in the post, it isn’t the actual advice that I’m against, it is the RULE-iness of it. DO THIS and all your container gardening problems are solved. Not so. Be involved with your plants and your space, and solve your problems as they come, because they will always come … that is what I think is smart. Better to look, think, and react than do what someone tells you to do without question or experiment. Just my thoughts!

  13. Steph B. says:

    As someone that completely stinks when it comes to container plants, I really should be in support of the phrase that shall not be spoken of, but I always hated containers with some dopey spikey plant surround by petunias and drowning in sweet potato vine. They just seem so formulaic and unimaginative!

    But I don’t think it’s the phrase itself that is the problem, it’s people doing design by rule or checkbox. I like the idea of good guidelines, but gardens by rote is just wrong.

  14. Kim says:

    I love this rant! Interestingly, the latest Fine Gardening has an interview with a garden designer Roanne Robbins, who states “I’m not for the whole ‘thrillers, fillers, spillers’ mantra. I think we should move away from oversimplifying container design and bring real design terms into the conversation.”

    I will say, until I saw her work, I disliked every mixed-planting container I saw…now I know it’s because of that crap cliche.

    • Ivette Soler Ivette Soler says:

      Kim I’m so glad you told me – I’ll have to check out the interview! Great minds think alike! It doesn’t surprise me that a thoughtful garden designer would balk, as many of us do, at such an over-simplification of a process that can be rich and rewarding. Containers are a very important part of our gardens, and needn’t be given short shrift! Why not apply the range of design techniques? I like that woman!

  15. Ivette, I don’t really like formulas either, so we definitely have that in common! When you follow a formula, your sh*t just looks like everyone else’s. Please. But I can say that I have met Allen Smith on a number of occasions, and I’ve never heard him mention this phrase. For the record, he’s a genuinely good and talented person — I’ve never met anyone with his knowledge of garden history before! Don’t be a hatah! 😉

    • Ivette Soler Ivette Soler says:

      Jenny my dearest, you are an ORIGINAL, and I could never imagine you latching on to some silly catchphrase – NEVER!!! The beauty and balance of your work shows how much thought goes in to what you do.
      HAhaha I know it sounds like I’m a Pallen Hater, but I’m truly not – I just like to poke at him like I poke at Martha, but I poke at Pallen a little harder because he is a gentleman and I know he won’t come after me with a backhoe and a pack of killler French Bulldogs – and Martha might. It is true badge of success, when people see you as a target. I can’t WAIT for the day that I am that successful! I want some loudmouth upstart designer getting her panties all in a knot about something she perceived me to have done! Then I will know that I have arrived. Hopefully, I will have a gorgeous farm in a verdant valley, so the pain will be a little easier to take! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  16. Thriller , Spiller, Filler is a lot easier to explain than Euclids Theory of Proportion.
    I’m not one for dumbing down for the masses but in this case I can understand the over simplification.
    If it works in assisting those who might struggle with attaining a nice composition then I don’t see the harm.
    Word and phrase association is known to be a great tool in cognitive comprehension.
    Whatever works.

    • Ivette Soler Ivette Soler says:

      Hi Michelle! Sure, it works, in a paint-by- numbers kind of way. Those three words aren’t magic and they don’t guarantee that a great Thriller will be chosen, or that the filler won’t wither, or that the spiller won’t develop a bigger profile and actually be a filler. And I don’t think proportion is that hard to explain – one may not want to get into an in depth analysis of Equality/ Comparison or Ratios or Multiples/Parts, but by using examples from classical architecture and garden work it is possible to show why these things matter, even when attacking a simple pot.
      Yes, mnemonics can be a great tool, but it can also be a trap – especially when a phrase has become so overused as to make its meaning practically moot. Sure, it works, but in my opinion, this phrase is not the way to help people create inspired plantings.

  17. The idea of the three kinds of plants in a container dates back to the Victorian style of container gardening popular in this country in the nineteenth century. Rochester,NY seed company owner James Vick (1818-1882) often discussed that kind of container gardening in both his seed catalog and his magazine. It was just assumed that this kind of container was the way to add color to the front lawn. He offered quite clear directions about the trailing plant. It should never touch the ground. And, of course, he recommended only two vases, otherwise the lawn looks ‘cluttered’.

    • Ivette Soler Ivette Soler says:

      Yep – see, Thomas, there people go, always reinventing the wheel. Victorians were garden fiends, and many of the ornamental techniques we hold as “rules” today were suggested by those empire-building plant maniacs!

  18. David mcMullin says:

    For the record I must say that Kristin learned everything she knows from me! Everything.
    I need a catchphrase for all the empty pots in my garden that I gave up on watering years ago. They all have some sort of brown stuff in them but nothing that could be described as a “thriller”.
    Oh, except for the one big non-draining container I have that has pitcher plants and other bog plants in it… its been gorgeous for years with absolutely no effort except for setting it on fire every spring.
    I need a catchphrase for that too.

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