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Tuesday, September 12, 2017 AnnualsContainer GardeningFall

Gardening Near the Arctic Circle

Last year my husband Doug and I took an autumn trip to Iceland.

We drove 1,000 miles around the exterior of the island on the famous ring road, spending the nights in farmhouse B&Bs, watching evening displays of the aurora borealis, seeing whales, dodging a few snowflakes, and chowing down on amazing meals of arctic char and lamb shanks.

Being just 25 miles from the Arctic Circle, I didn’t imagine that we’d be pulling out the camera to photograph gardens (especially as late in the season as we were traveling), but I was wrong. 

On cool gray days, the streets of Iceland's capital city, Reykjavik, were bursting with color thanks to vibrant containers filled with flowering kale, artemisia, ivy, and heather. Large round planters, like those at left, were planted up throughout the city center. There were bright orange and yellow beds of calendula. Window boxes overflowed with neon blue lobelia.
Container GardenThe cool weather (and occasional snow flurry) wasn't a deterrent to the street-side container gardens that bloomed happily outside of hotels, restaurants, shops, and homes.

Clusters of green-and-white theme pots were filled with dwarf conifers and icy white artemisia varieties.  

Both beautiful and bountiful, these urban containers sported hardy mixes of cool-weather annuals and evergreen foliage plants.

And (once again) I understood what a universal thing gardening is: regardless of the latitude, the zone, or the length of the growing season, gardeners crave color and life. It’s a need and love that we all share as humans. The love of plants is a worldwide thing.

I came home with a love of Iceland and a renewed interest in cool-weather gardening!

If you are looking for inspiration for your fall containers, try these other colorful ideas.

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