Review: Container Theme Gardens by Nancy J. Ondra

With spring just around the corner, it's time to start thinking about designing easy container gardens. Container gardens fit perfectly in almost any setting, whether it's a yard with a spacious patio, a balcony, a city rooftop garden or even a fire escape.

Gardening in pots is the perfect solution if you happen to have little or no garden space. For those of you who might not be too familiar with plants, award-winning Bucks County, Pennsylvania garden designer extraordinaire, Nancy J. Ondra, guides gardeners of all levels and budgets in her latest book, Container Theme Gardens.

Create eye-catching container gardens with what Ondra calls a "5-plant palette." Each arrangement follows a theme; plants match each other as well as their containers. Easy-to-grow plants are paired with complementary containers of all shapes and sizes including, wood, clay metal and cement.

With an overwhelming amount of plants available, Ondra focuses on choosing just five plants for each simplified design. She takes the guesswork out of gardening by providing 42 full-proof garden recipes for every style, function and taste. Gardeners only need to pick a theme, determine light condtions and simply plant.

An absolute beginner can create one of the themed container gardens in an afternoon. Seasoned gardeners will appreciate the stunning photographs that showcase individual plants and completed garden designs.

Regardless, of gardening experience, container gardens provide instant impact and easy maintenance. Pinching off faded flowers and leaves once a week along with regular watering is all that is needed in the maintenance department. (Each container garden can be created for around $50.00.)

The book features plants readily available at nurseries and big box stores. A plant shopping list accompanies each design making it easy to purchase what is needed to complete a container. Ondra makes it easy breezy to succeed in low maintenance, creative container gardening.

Themes range from Spring Cheer, Hummingbird Haven, Balcony Beauties, Herbs on the Windowsill and Salad on the Deck.

For more on gardening, visit Ondra's blog,

Container Theme Gardens
Nancy J. Ondra
Storey Publising (December 2015)
Full-color with photographs throughout
272 Pages; 8 x 9 1/2 $19.95 US / $26.95 CAN Paperback