Fillers, spillers and thrillers–subding my deck!

Geraniums–a great choice for my mountain home in a very large antique copper pot

In Genesis, God tells us to “subdue” the earth. This word has gone a long way to give me vision in my home–really it has.

I am wired, designed, crafted by God with the abilities, the intelligence, the skills to overcome disorder and to bring a mark of his artistry to my home and life. It is one of the greatest pleasures granted us.

To rule over something in such a way as to bring order, beauty, productivity. To know that it is a grace and glory of a woman to civilize and bring life and excellence in society. I am a purpose-driven sort of girl and if I have a reason why I am doing something, then it gives me more fuel for the fire, so to speak to accomplish something. To me, this is one of the fun parts of my calling.

Truth is, I love flowers and roses. However, my mountain home has resisted me having a  green thumb. Not a lot of great soil. Too cold. Rock and stone just below the surface of my 7250 elevation home. Resistant in every way.

Small pots of flowers at every little table on porches and back deck–these grow better!

Over the years, I have begun to outsmart this resistant earth to my subduing efforts after many attempts. I am often amazed at what little input I sometimes need to do things differently. I love flowers but I don’t necessarily have a gardener’s intuitive skill. But, Joy, seeming like an only child, because she doesn’t have a gang of kids with her like my older ones did, loves to garden–in spite of the fact that our dirt is plant and bloom resistant.

Pink Mountain Roses in a deep pot! Almost beginning to bloom.

I found that my roses are not prolific because of the infertile ground and rock and cold. So, planting them in pots, only high altitude variety, has begun to work well for me. You cannot see this, but I have 6 buds on this bush just about to bloom–I am a happy girl to see life beginning to thrive on my porch.

I felt like I needed some more professional input on how to master this mountain!
So, I asked a friend and her daughter to join Joy and me for a garden demonstration about how to plant professional pots a couple of years ago.
We all had so much fun–but the desired effect was so much better than what we used to do.
I used to go to Wal Mart, Home Depot or a little natural garden near us and buy some flowers and then pot them according to what appealed to us. But at this demonstration, they taught us a 3 point outline to make great pots for your porch or deck.
Joy’s favorite pot!
It has a fern in the middle as our thriller and 3 kinds of purple and pink flowers for fillers and again, some ivy to spill over the side, which, in the past few days has started growing a lot and spilling even more.
First, pick a THRILLER–this is a tall or dramatic plant that stands up above all other plants to give your pot a dimension–something that stands out and gives the pot some height.
Second, give your pot some FILLERS–those flowers and plants that will take up space or spread–pick a color theme that you will follow throughout your porch or area.
Third, give your pot some SPILLERS—these are those plants that will spill over the side to give dimension.
We were also told to get really big pots so that the water could be retained longer and so that it would not all evaporate on a hot day and have to be watered again.
This is a much more beautiful pot than it looks like in this picture. The purple plants are the thrillers, then two read plants fill out the pot–geraniums and the other tall red plant–can’t remember its name; and some ivy spilling over the side. ¬† It has a fern in the middle as our thriller and 3 kinds of purple and pink flowers for fillers and again, some ivy to spill over the side, which, in the past few days has started growing a lot and spilling even more.
Every night, when it is not too cold, we have been eating on our front porch or deck. All of us feel so happy to be surrounded by flowers and also tiny blue lights that sparkle when the sun goes down.
I am still not a great gardner, but slowly over the years, I have had much pleasure in learning to subdue and master the cultivating of my own sort of mountain garden.

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  1. says

    I’m a big fan of flowers – bring them in however, wherever you can! :) I garden in NC and I know that’s totally different than your mountain home, but have you ever tried the knock-out variety of roses? They are the hardiest roses – might be worth a shot in a pot with really good soil & sunshine?

  2. says

    I have over 25 pots of flowers on my porches. I prefer pots to perennials for some reason. I, too, plant pots with the 3-step process. Ferns are my FAVORITE! I am always so happy this time of the year when my pots are babies, not yet in full bloom. It’s so soothing to watch them grow and mature. By the end of summer in Oklahoma I am sick of watering them. But by March each year I am getting the itch for the beauty and nurturing again. Brightens my day; soothes my life.

  3. Lisa Mailhot says

    Oh Sally, you are speaking straight to my heart here. I too love flowers and growing them! I live in sunny Florida so it is a bit different but if it’s available near you, you would love Geranium Ivy. It’s a spilling geranium and it is beautiful. I have one in a hanging basket on my back porch and it’s so cheery. I don’t know if you have ever tried growing things from seeds but if you do, I highly recommend Ferry-Morse Seed Company. They are guaranteed to grow and have always done amazing for us regardless of the flower type we pick. Hope you have a blessed day! Your post blessed me so much… Another reason to hold you close in heart. :). Thanks.

  4. says

    Sally, thank you for these tips! Just today I was conversing with my husband about not having a backyard when we return overseas in July…but this is a wonderful substitute for not having a flower bed.

  5. Brandy says

    Thanks so much for the tips! I am not much at being able to pair plnats together to create a beautiful combo so this really helped me! I am new your blog but I love it! I am a stay at home mom of three and babyysit one and so enjoy reading your posts!! Thanks!

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