Continuous Container Gardens by Sara Begg Townsend and Roanne Robbins

BR ContinuousContainerContinuous Container Gardens: Swap In the Plants of the Season to Create Fresh Designs Year-Round
by Sara Begg Townsend and Roanne Robbins (Storey Publishing, 2010)

Revolutionary is not a word associated with container gardening. Yet Continuous Container Gardens is nothing short of radical. In the book, Sara Begg Townsend and Roanne Robbins introduce the reader to an entirely new approach to designing containers that is both seasonal and sustainable. Each of the containers the authors create makes use of natural elements and repurposed plants. Rather than fall victim to the yearly rush to the garden center or big-box store for single-season annuals or cut greens that will eventually be tossed into a compost pile, Sara and Roanne suggest using plants from your own backyard or woods, along with others—such as trees, shrubs, and perennials—that will survive year-round. In this way, Continuous Container Gardens is akin to a similar movement—a food revolution that encourages local, organic, and seasonal fare.

According to Roanne, their approach puts nature back into container gardening. “To garden with trees, shrubs, and perennials is to garden with seasonality—with change. We moved away from the instant gratification of annuals and opted to create a more garden-inspired mini-landscape.” Annuals, if used at all, are a “small part of the equation, a happy bonus that adds depth, surprise, and interest,” she says.

Containers that are designed with trees, shrubs, bulbs, perennials, and found objects such as moss or lichen encourage a connection with the Earth heretofore missing from traditional container planting. And as we are discovering with local foods, such a connection has benefits well beyond our backyards.

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