Container Garden Winner: Simone Schneegans

This article about the container garden winner in the MSHS Great Gardening Contest 2021 originally appeared in the November/December 2021 issue of Northern Gardener.

Our routine Instagram scrolling ground to a halt when we laid eyes on Simone Schneegans’ giant stump planter. Packed with cascading Dorotheanthus, heaping piles of Tradescantia and Lysimachia and a splash of begonia, this monster cottonwood stump-turned-container was a (heavy!) gift from a friend.

stump planted with greenery

Filled with greenery and a dramatic tropical, this container garden was a winner.

“I love to reuse and repurpose old things in the garden and provide a safe, chemical-free place for wildlife,” Simone says. She uses houseplant cuttings in containers, homemade compost and organic fertilizer, even hand-picks “hundreds of infuriating Japanese and potato beetles this year—woof!” Despite pests, heat and drought, Simone’s container garden thrived, lighting up her front drive with pops of chartreuse and purple foliage and pink and white begonia blooms.

“Grass is not safe around me!” she says of her gardening style Garden beds full of saliva, penstemon, milkweed, elderberry, summersweet (Clethra alnifolia), viburnum, cherries, green beans and heirloom tomatoes have consumed her entire Northfield backyard. And her front yard isn’t far behind—this winning planter has inspired her to begin converting her front lawn into a woodland garden.

You can follow Simone on Instagram at @plants_are_my_people.

The Great Gardening Contest is an annual event, sponsored by MSHS, for gardeners to share photos of their gardens, whether they are community spaces, container gardens or home gardens. The project began in 2020 when the Minnesota State Fair was canceled and continued in 2021. Thanks to all the participants!

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