Change your planting containers, and your approach to planting may change. That's what happened recently at M&M Nursery in Orange, when designers planted seasonal color in galvanized tin buckets and tubs instead of the usual terra-cotta pots.
The casual containers imposed their own style--clean, cheerful, carefree. Nursery staffers found themselves using annuals with stems longer than usual, combining colors with a freer hand, and producing more informal compositions. "The buckets look like you've just picked a bunch of flowers out of a country garden," says Ted Mayeda, the nursery's owner. "Customers love them."
A feast of flowers fills four buckets of varying sizes. A 5-1/2-gallon bucket (on chair) contains white gauras, 'Cinnamon Red Hots' dianthus, yellow 'Goldmarie' bidens, 'Blue Bird' nemesias, annual phlox, and pink petunias. Three 4-gallon buckets each contain dianthus, brachycomes, helichrysum 'Baby Gold', marigolds, yellow pansies, and petunias.