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Pot prototyping. Muddy Trowel discoveries.

What makes a good garden container great? Can you combine impact with ease of maintenance? What’s so good about plant pots and window boxes anyway?

These are the questions we wanted to answer at Muddy Trowel.

What the internet says

If you research ‘container planting’, you are very likely to have come across the phrase: thriller, filler and spiller. This describes the role and type of plants you should think about including in a container.

Thriller: often a tall, striking plant variety that brings an architectural centrepiece to your arrangement.

Filler: More compact, bushy plants that sit around your thriller centrepiece to provide a contrast in size, shape and fill the container so it provides the impression of abundance.

Spiller: Plants that have a trailing habit that can be planted at the outer edges of your container. They spill down the sides of the container, extending the eye’s interest from the top of the centrepiece thriller to the tips of the trailing plant.

These are useful guidelines and we actively apply them in some of our designs, but at Muddy Trowel, we wanted to go further.

What we say

We created some key principles. We then prototyped these, a lot.

#1: Instant impact

To live up to Joy, Delivered (our motto), we wanted to design collections that are immediately beautiful. That doesn’t necessarily involve the plants being smothered in flowers, but we do want customers to revel in their foliage, form and colour from the moment they arrive on the doorstep.

This means we work closely with UK nurseries to understand which plants look their best at the point we launch each of our collections. Importantly though, these plants need to be on the cusp of their peak performance and must continue to bring joy for at least a few months.

#2: Longevity and sustainability

We don’t have anything against annual plants. They can be unashamedly brash and colourful. We love that. We also know that many people might think that instant impact has to equal annuals. 

We wanted to adopt a different approach to offer customers greater ongoing value and the opportunity to nurture and enjoy their plants for more than just one season.

The Muddy Trowel philosophy is to enable you to develop a connection with your plants. This is why we mainly supply plants that will come back year after year: perennials.

We want our customers to experience the glory of perennials, their changes throughout the season, their rejuvenation in Spring. They really are Mother Nature personified. Many of the perennial plants we include in our collections are tough and will withstand UK winters. Some will require a bit more nurturing, but this is when the fun really starts.

#3: Interactive and engaging

Lastly, at Muddy Trowel, we think gardening is wonderfully therapeutic, great for the soul and can be almost meditative in its focus in the moment. We wanted to make gardening accessible, less stressful and fun. Like a gentle heartbeat that connects you back to the rhythm of nature periodically, no matter where you are and what kind of outdoor space you have.

This is why we have designed collections that you create and put together, with a small bag of compost to settle your plants into their home. We decided that collectible plant postcards would be a great way of introducing you to the plants in your collection. These are included in your order. 

Low impact and quick care tips will be included with every order and on our website to help you keep your plants looking their best for as long as possible.

The final trick up the sleeve for perennial plants is that they can often be used to create more plants and we tell you how to make multiple ‘free’ plants. We will create helpful how-to guidance to support you every step of the way. From a single collection, you really can start to make your outdoor space or garden grow.

Why Containers?

So many reasons. 

The obvious answer is that not everyone has a garden and we don’t think that should stop our customers getting joy from their outdoor space. 

Container gardening brings many freedoms. You can experiment with where you place your pot or window box. 

You can play around with creating effects with different containers and collections of plants. 

It’s easy to replace tired planting schemes with new fresh combinations. You can decant the contents of pots into other pots or areas of your garden.

Containers make gardening manageable and can keep more vigorous plants in check so they don’t take over the world (unless you want them to).

Containers are also ideal gifts, are brilliant for those who have reduced mobility or who have a physical disability and kids also love them. 

If you aren’t convinced, give it a try, head over to our Shop page and we are sure you will find something that brings you, or a special person in your life, joy.