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Beautiful Container Gardens: Ideas from the Riverwalk

Looking for ideas for a fall container garden for your home or business? Tiffani Picco, the Park District staff member who designs the floral displays at the Riverwalk, shared some ideas based on the principle of having three main components: a thriller, filler and spiller.

For example, this summer’s container gardens on the Riverwalk included these three elements. The large flower pots near the Dandelion Fountain have a Hydrangea tree and Silky Gold Milkweed as the tall elements (thriller), Persian Shield, Magenta Sunpatiens and Lantana Bananarama as fillers, and Wave Petunias, Orange Million Bells and Silver Falls Dichondra as spillers.

This is one of the Riverwalk container gardens in early August, with the hydrangea blossoms blooming white. 

The same flowers matured beautifully through the late summer and looked like this by late September, with the hydrangea blossoms turning a dusty rose color and the “spiller” flowers trailing delicately. You can see the Silky Gold Milkweed also has filled in near the hydrangea, acting as both a “thriller” and “filler.”

Riverwalk container garden in late September

Another Riverwalk container garden in late September    

To design a fall planter for October and November, Tiffani recommends the following:
•    Tall perennial grasses (which you then can plant in your garden before the ground freezes!)
•    Mums
•    Ornamental kale and cabbage 
•    Pansies and violas
•    Black-eyed Susans

Tall grasses along the Riverwalk

Ornamental kale and mums

Here is an example of a fall planter with tall grasses, kale and cabbage

And another with perennial grass, pansy and alyssum.

Stroll the Riverwalk to enjoy fall beauty and gather gardening ideas for fall or next summer.
Many of the annual flower beds on the Riverwalk will bloom through early fall. 

This annual bed near the Dandelion Fountain is made up of the following varieties: Bloomstruck Hydrangea, Lantana Bananarama, Lipstick Pentas and Wave Petunias.

Another example of a summer container garden is the one in front of the Alfred Rubin Riverwalk Community Center, still bursting with color. The flowers in this pot are: Red Canna (thriller), Persian Shield (filler), Lantana Bananarama (filler), Wave petunias (spiller) and Silver Falls Dichondra (spiller).

Annual bed overlooking the river, including Persian Shield, Purple Stripe Angelonia, Sunpatiens, and Wave Petunias.

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