Personal Garden Coach

The Motivational Gardener at Large

Brainstorming A Container Garden Design: “Black & Tan” June 11, 2010

Brainstorming ideas for container gardens is really no different from any other type of garden inspiration process. An idea can jump-start from anything really.

Garden art:

Or the container itself can demand a certain color combination:

My “Teal Pot Theory” in action🙂

But in this case, it was a little plant that inspired this combination for me! The “Phantom” Black petunia, with its creamy, rich stripe had me at “Hello”! Even through the pouring, cold rain, I was inspired to maximize the caramel, chocolate, purple tones of the petunia to the max.

This container design was a custom request, with my very FAVORITE requisite, “make it awesome”. I love a challenge like that! Below is the result of my creative passion today. Hopefully it will fill out the way I think it will and be a huge, sexy mass of interesting texture and luscious colors and tones.

The “Black & Tan” name for this combo is thanks to @MJausson via Twitter, with a little nod to @PatFitzgerald thrown in for good measure!

I made this in mirror image so that it could be viewed from both sides too!

This turned out to be one of my favorite containers that I have ever done, I can’t wait to get a picture of it in a month or two!

**Bonus for staying with me all the way to the bottom of this post: If you want to win a super cool spin composter from

Clean Air Gardening, then leave a comment on this post. I will draw a name randomly from a hat and you will have a new composter on your doorstep before you can say “sustainable gardening”!!

Thank you Clean Air Gardening!

Like this post? Please share with friends! You can also find me on Facebook here where I post TONS of fun things daily!


35 Responses to “Brainstorming A Container Garden Design: “Black & Tan””

  1. Matt Says:

    Once again, your combos ROCK THE UNIVERSE! Gorgeous Christina.

  2. Lisa Says:

    Wow! I love those petunias. Striking.

  3. Jackie Maples Says:


    Love it, Love it, Love it! Can’t wait to bring it home. Now hubby has to come lift it in the truck for me! You are awesome! Thank you so much!

  4. Amazing Christina! It’s like a wonderfully curated art gallery.

  5. Martha Says:

    Beautiful! I saw this petunia the other day & it’s lovely! You did a great job with the combination!

  6. Martha Says:

    Beautiful! I saw this petunia the other day & it’s lovely. What a striking combination!

  7. Eva Says:

    Love this combo! So many interesting textures and colors. I envy your skill.

  8. JeanAnnvK Says:

    OK, first of all, that petunia makes me weep…the colors are MAGNIFICENT! I love that you used it as inspiration and think the resulting containers are fab. You are super creative!

  9. I hope that I get to see this in a month or two. I expect the petunia to kick this over the top, when it blooms. It’ll be fun to see how this evolves. (beautiful container!)

  10. J B Kaikinger Says:

    The container is beautiful, definitely a piece of art!

  11. lloyd traven Says:

    OMG!!! Christina—you’re doing it again. We grow EVERY single plant in this combo already, available to all our wholesale and mail order customers. We will steal this idea with gusto, use it ad nauseum, and let everyone think we came up with it ourselves. But…deep down, inside our soul, we’ll KNOW that we are total shams, usurpers, weak and unworthy of accolades, and where the true genius comes from. Then we’ll make more…..

  12. […] Black and Tan Container: love, Love, LOVE this container design by Christina Salwitz. So amazingly beautiful. […]

  13. Darla Says:

    Just beautiful. I have never seen a petunia like this!!!

  14. Kim W Says:

    Love this container……both for the design and the beer reference!

  15. Kay-Jay Says:

    Wow, gorgeous. Hope you can post more pictures of this later in the season.

  16. Amylia Barnes Says:

    I LOVE the container! I am going to remember some of these that look so good together! Thank you!

  17. Debbie Robertson Says:

    Love the black petunia- where can I get it? I’m in OK- zone 7.

  18. Julie Panusis Says:

    Beautiful. You are such an inspiration.

  19. Stephanie Says:

    I found your blog via Life on the Balcony and boy am I glad! Those creamy dahlias are lovely… and so is the pig.🙂 Thank you for sharing your corner of the world with us.

  20. Jennifer Says:

    What a great combination! I wish I had talent like that!

  21. That ‘Phantom’ petunia is a stunner. Great container ideas, Christina.

  22. Sandy in Fort Worth Says:

    Beautiful container. I came here via ‘Life on the Balcony’.

  23. Sara Fryar Says:

    Absolutely lovely – great combos.

  24. Tess Says:

    LOVE that black and tan petunia

  25. SOOOO very cool- just like you!

  26. […] out her Black and Tan designs, or her ideas for using Tricolor Sage in a foliage combination. Love […]

  27. wanto Says:

    I completely am in awe of this blog🙂 totally gonna have to put this on my bookmarks.

  28. Great article.. Keep it up!

  29. Jennifer Ross Says:

    Your container gardening combos look great! You are very talented.

  30. […] Care for your container plants: they need regular watering and feeding! Some nice planting ideas: […]


    Petunia’s are a favorite of mine since childhood. I love how they smell on a warm summer evening. The arrangement of them in this container is just amazing! The colors and the variety =WOW ! I am impressed!

    • personalgardencoach Says:

      Thanks Melissa! This was a special one that I did for the Boss- I was really happy it turned out too. Phew!

  32. Robin Lensi Says:

    Thanks so much for the great ideas!

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