Old olive pails were once used during the harvest to pick and wash the olives. They make attractive and practical garden planters, having the advantage of ready-made drainage holes. They're also large enough to accommodate several plants. In this display, the lime-green of the euphorbia works beautifully with the deep reds and purples of the aquilegia and astrantia, with a few simple cream anemones positioned at the front of the container to ﬁnish the look.
You will need
Old olive-harvesting pail (bucket)
Sheet moss (available from garden centres and ﬂorists)
2 Anemone magellanica (windﬂower)
1 each of Aquilegia State Series ‘Louisiana’ and A. vulgaris var. stellate ‘Nora Barlow’ (columbine)
1 Astrantia major Gill Richardson Group (masterwort)
1 Euphorbia x martini ‘Ascot Rainbow’ (Martin’s spurge)
1. Soak the rootballs of all the plants in water for about 20 minutes, or until they are wet through. Meanwhile, add a few drainage crocks to the base of the pail (bucket) and then line the base and sides with pieces of moss, to stop the potting mix from escaping through the holes. Add handfuls of potting mix as you go, to help keep the moss in place.
2. Add more potting mix, pressing it down ﬁ rmly and ensuring there are no air pockets. Press the potting mix against the sides of the pail to keep the moss in place, but make sure you leave enough room for the plants.
3. Take the aquilegias from their plastic pots and plant them at the back of the pail.
4. Next, remove the euphorbia from its plastic pot and plant it in front of the aquilegias.
5. Decide on a suitable position for the astrantia and plant it in the pail next. Firm down all the plants, so they are sitting nice and upright.
6. Take the anemones from their plastic pots and plant them at the front of the pail, positioning them to ﬁ ll any gaps between the other ﬂowers. Add a few handfuls of potting mix around the plants and ﬁ rm down the surface.
7. Give the planter a decorative top-dressing by adding more moss to the surface of the potting mix. Water the pail and let drain.