• Center for Rural Culture

A Bountiful Fall Container

By Jacqueline Murphy of Semperflora


Fall is for planting — and for planning.


And it’s the perfect time to consider planning a container design that involves beautiful, colorful edibles. Below you’ll find a few recipes for edible container gardens using locally grown plants. You’ll find one container planted with three different ornamental edible designs below.


Planting Recipes


These recipes are inspired by some the plants currently on offer from Fall Line Farms and Local Roots' producers. Recipes are designed for a single half whiskey or wine barrel planter or a comparable container 26–28 inches in diameter. A half barrel holds about four cubic feet of soil and you can find bags of soil for sale at Fall Line Farms and Local Roots, too. Each design includes a mix of edibles that are also ornamental.


1 Rosemary ‘Salem’

Johnny-Jump-Up

Thyme ‘Golden Edge Lemon’


Plant the rosemary at the center and use a mixture of Johnny-Jump-Ups and thyme around the edges of the container. If you’re placing the planter against a wall, place the rosemary slightly off center and toward the back of the container and cluster the smaller plants in a half-moon shape at the front.



3 Red-veined Sorrel


Plant three red-veined sorrels. Harvest from the outside of the plants (cut-and-come-again) often to prevent overcrowding.


1 Lavender

Johnny-Jump-Up

Thyme ‘Golden Edge Lemon’


Plant the lavender at the center and use a mixture of Johnny-Jump-Ups and thyme around the edges of the container. If you’re placing the planter against a wall, place the lavender slightly off center and toward the back of the container and cluster the smaller plants in a half-moon shape at the front.


Place your container garden in a location that gets about six hours of sunlight per day for the most bountiful harvest.


The Plants and How to Use Them

Rosemary ‘Salem’ is an upright and particularly hardy form. It makes a fine-textured architectural focal point in a container. It also makes a great addition to hardy fall soups and stews, to roast chicken and other meat dishes. You can also snip a few stems and add them to a hot bath to help soothe tired muscles. Tie up the stems in a clean cloth to prevent leaves from sticking to you.


Toss the flowers of Johnny-Jump-Ups, or violas, into salads or to add a touch of color to any dish. They’re particularly lovely as cake decorations.


Use thyme in scrambled eggs, soups, or almost any dish for its clean, slightly astringent flavor.


Red-veined sorrel is another architectural plant with a dramatic upright form. Add a few leaves to salads and to season soups, omelets, poultry, beef, pork, and fish dishes.


At the moment, our farmers are offering a variety of potted edible plants including:

  • Arugula

  • Broccoli rabe

  • Johnny-Jump-Up

  • Kale

  • Red and green cabbage

  • Red-veined sorrel

  • Rosemary ‘Salem’

Jacqueline Murphy loves to talk plants! She practices her garden artistry at home in Cumberland, Virginia, and also at the homes and businesses of her clients. Visit semperflora.com or find Jacqueline on social media at Instagram @semperflora_virginia or Facebook @semperflora. Roughly translated, Semperflora means “always plants.”

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