Posted by Ryan Forshaw

If you think that transforming your garden into a dazzling haven of colour warrants the re-mortgaging of your house – think again! Yes – “Self Sufficiency” is our middle name here at Grow Your Ideas and we take great satisfaction in finding ways to innovate gardens up and down the country with the simplest of equipment, the easiest of methods and the most beautiful of the Succulent and Alpine world.

No matter what size and style your garden is, there is always room for an eye catching planter whether it be made from an old work bench, a kitchen sink or an old muddy welly! But today we show you our most recent project which makes use of a large urn. Appearing on garden lawns and terraces of the world’s most exquisite stately homes, urns whether large or small, evoke a strong sense of classic style. Their antique appeal which evolves as the quality cast stone weathers with age, makes for a truly stunning focal point in any garden or driveway. Urns will undoubtedly suit a sensational variety of brightly colored Sedums whilst also remaining quietly understated. Don’t believe us? Well… read on and we’ll show you!

If you are as much a keen gardener as us, you will have had plenty of experience mixing and matching tubs for your shrubs in and around your garden. But you may be missing a sound piece of advice when it comes to design ideas and laying out your focal features! The key to using larger urns and planters alike is to keep them in context with everything surrounding them. Plants like anything, need to work with everything around them so it is always worth considering the colours and textures of your house along with neighboring planters and borders. Nevertheless, big pots and planters make HUGE statements. Planters with a dramatic selection of vibrant Sedums can effortlessly turn your urn into a jubilant centre piece of your garden. Like a good flower arrangement, the residents of your urn should harmonize in shape, colour and growing habits and once planted together they need to culminate a real sense of energy and abundance.

So firstly, let’s give you a little advice on some great Succulent varieties to use over the late summer. Cape Blanco is one of our personal favorites and spreads beautifully tiny rosettes that cascade over the sides of the pot. The foliage is exceptionally eye catching with silvery blue tones that interact well with yellow star shaped flowers which explode during the summer and often last through to Autumn. Sedum Adolphii is a beautifully trailing Succulent with bright chartreuse leaves that become a golden yellow with exposure to sunlight. Alternatively if you are looking for a little more depth and colour, Sedum Rubrotinctum bear elegant jelly bea- shaped leaves with red tips which turn an intense yellow golden colour during late summer. The urn that we used in the following project was created using (please type species here). So… enough of the technical stuff – more of the practical! Here’s how we did it and remember, we would love to see your creations. Send them in to feature on our facebook page and spread a little inspiration!

Step one: We quite like the rustic appeal that our stone urn had in its raw state. The beauty of these large planters is that once the urn has been left to the elements for some time, their exteriors gather moss and a natural darkening from the harsh external conditions of the changing seasons. But if your prefer to give yours a little sprucing up, you can quite easily return the stone pot to a beautiful condition by giving it a light clean with a mild Fairy Liquid solution and a soft brush. After this – a bit of Cementone Brick and Patio Cleaner should do just the trick for the more stubborn stuff.

Step two: Next we filled our urn around a third full with some broken-up polystyrene bits. These not only replace some of the compost that you would need to fill the urn up with, but they also act as great tools for a good drainage system. Tip: Polystyrene bits also prevent any loss of soil out of the bottom of your planters if you are using pots with holes in the bottom! We then completed the filling-in process by adding a mixture of John Innes number two with equal measures of horticultural grit, followed by a good drink of water! An additional supplement of slow-release fertilizer such as Miracle Gro Fertilizer ensures that your plants get off to the best start in life and will feed these hardy plants for the first six months.


Steph three: Plant away! I think you will agree by our super cool photos that Sedum Angelina really sets this urn off with its vibrant zesty lime hue and chartreuse needle-like foliage that spikes out adding dimension and character to the ensemble. If you decide to go with some Sedum Angelina in your urn, prepare yourself for a spectacular transformation as the tips of the leaves evolve into a beautiful warm orange during the late Autumn-Winter months.


Step four: Fill any remaining spaces in with additional compost. As the nights start to draw in and the sun’s rays weaken over the cooler months, remember to continue watering your plants, although reduce this down to just once a month. Always make sure that you don’t allow for your Sedums to sit in damp soggy soil. Instead the soil needs to be thoroughly dried out before re-watering and your plants will not need feeding over the Winter months either! We also added some accompanying cyclamen to the container to give a bit of extra colour during the autumn months.


Oh… and say “Hi” to our lovely fuzzy little bumblebee here. Sedum Likadense is a highly popular nectar source for the buzzies and the butterflies who simple adore the vibrant purple shades over the sunnier months.


And now it’s your turn – please give is a wave and a thumbs up if you enjoyed the blog! We always love to hear about what you are creating and look forward to seeing your fabulous photos after trying out our creative projects!

Happy gardening and remember – keep Growing your Ideas!