Photo of Katie Ketelsen

Container Gardening

Fresh Ideas for Creative Containers

with Katie Ketelsen
Container Gardening
Containers add instant impact to garden spaces, inside and out. Learn pro secrets to beautiful floral and edible container gardens.

In this 10-lesson course, Better Homes and Gardens Editor Katie Ketelsen shows you how to build a water garden in less than 30 minutes, grow the freshest herbs right on your tabletop and create perfect plant combinations for season-long color. Discover unexpected containers and update your old standbys — from moss-lined baskets to galvanized metal tubs — with sophisticated new designs. Your entryway will dazzle after you learn the pro's "secret 3 things" every container must have. Katie introduces you to new plants and improved varieties of your old favorites and mixes in some surprising plants you didn't expect to use!  *NOTE: This class contains archived instructor responses but no active instructor participation. It features student-led (rather than instructor-led) discussion only. If you have questions, one of the many experienced gardeners in your class surely will have the answer! 

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Lesson plan


Lesson 1. Introduction

  • Meet instructor Katie Ketelsen as she shows you how to find interesting and unusual containers, fill them with the right plants for your growing conditions and care for them so they look wonderful without a lot of effort.


Lesson 2. Classic Container Design: Thriller, Filler, Spiller

  • Professionals use the "thriller, filler, spiller" rule to create elegant and enduring plantings. In this lesson, you'll learn this technique and apply it to both exciting new plants like the spiraling rex begonia "Escargot," and dynamic color combinations from hot red coleus to shimmering white caladium.


Lesson 3. Color for Sun and Shade

  • Ready to move beyond pink petunias? Let Katie guide you to a greenhouse full of new varieties, surprising textures and unique color combinations.


Lesson 4. Surprising Plants for Containers

  • Surprising plant selections let you create unique new looks in your containers. Combine tropical foliage with silvery eucalyptus and bright blossoms, or the color-changing Endless Summer hydrangea with Japanese forest grass.


Lesson 5. Culinary Containers

  • Homegrown tomatoes on a city balcony? Salad greens on your kitchen table? Absolutely! Grow fresh herbs, vegetables and fruit in the smallest living spaces by creating herb containers, a living salad bowl and a washtub salsa garden.


Lesson 6. Containers for All Seasons

  • Smart plant selection lets you transform one planter into many dramatic looks, from spring's first blossoms to a beautiful holiday display.


Lesson 7. Specialty Containers

  • Strawberry jars aren't just for berries! Turn them into floral displays and herb gardens. This lesson also includes fresh concepts for window boxes and hanging baskets.


Lesson 8. Low-Maintenance Container Gardens

  • Succulents are the secret to beautiful, water-wise container plantings that work in all zones. Discover their range of color, shapes and textures, and learn how these drought-tolerant selections enhance a sleek tabletop bowl, a cottage-style hanging basket and a vintage chicken feeder.


Lesson 9. Water Gardens

  • Katie shows you how to create a beautiful, easy-care water garden in less than an hour. Plants that love wet feet, floating flowers and even fish turn an ordinary container into a lush oasis for your patio or balcony.


Lesson 10. Gardening Vertically

  • Using innovative new garden products, Katie shows you how to create living art to decorate spaces inside and outside your home. Produce dramatic results with flowering annuals, green perennials, herbs and succulents.

I have no experience in gardening and always admire the hanging containers for summer at your local garden store, but the price is usually high. The "thriller, filler and spiller" is a catchy way to remember how to plant and have your container look awesome. I used this method in a container for inside the house and it has worked beautifully.
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For $29.99 you get:

  • 10 HD video lessons with anytime, anywhere access
  • Comprehensive course packets that include supply lists and container options 
  • Hours of close-up instruction
  • Answers from your fellow students in our virtual classroom
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Student-Led Discussions

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