A Year Full of Pots, Container Flowers for All Seasons Book Review

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If limited outdoor space is preventing you from realizing your horticultural dreams, it’s time to check out a new book called “A Year Full of Pots, Container Flowers for All Seasons” by Sarah Raven.

It’s a compact, comprehensive month-to-month guide to creating long-lasting container gardens for year-round enjoyment.

A Year Full of Pots, Container Flowers for All Seasons

The book is available via Amazon.

From her farm, Perch Hill, in East Sussex, England, multi-award-winning Raven pursues her passions for gardening and healthy cooking and shares her knowledge and experience via podcasts, teaching, television, and writing.

Join us for a review of this book’s highlights.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

A Year Full of Pots, by Sarah Raven

Let’s dive in!

First Impressions

I enjoy container gardening, and the thought of creating a rotating display of pots by my entryway was exciting – until I realized that the temperature extremes of my Pennsylvania climate were a far cry from temperate, coastal Sussex, England. 

A close up vertical image of a terra cotta pot with a variety of colorful flowers including dahlias and marigolds.
Photo by Jonathan Buckley. Used with permission.

But while there is no USDA Hardiness Zone that directly corresponds to the writer’s locale, this book is more than a well-photographed excursion to a British gardening paradise.

The detailed floral and design material have broad appeal.

Raven’s online nursery does not ship outside the UK, so try not to fall in love with the specific cultivars mentioned, as they may not be available from nurseries in your location.

Instead, familiarize yourself with the general characteristics of species, like dahlias and tulips, and work with the flowers available to you at the appropriate times of year for your Zone.

Between the Covers

A warm introduction describes and illustrates the scope of container gardening that takes place at Perch Hill, and assures readers that they will be privy to the “recipes” for creating similarly spectacular vessels in their own outdoor living spaces per a month-by-month guide.

A close up horizontal image of a cottage garden with a variety of different potted flowers and shrubs.
Photo by Jonathan Buckley. Used with permission.

A design section follows that details the importance of crucial elements, such as the selection of compatible plants that bloom at the same time or in succession.

Subsections on color and form describe the traditional “thriller,” “spiller,” “filler” formula complemented by the addition of a stand-out “pillar” variety for an added wow factor.

Next are month-by-month breakdowns with flower-specific subsections, or tasks like bulb planting, that take place during the designated time frame.

Here is where you’ll need to adapt the recommendations to your specific growing zone.

The subsections on particular flowers are in-depth and informative, and include species such as amaryllis, dahlia, nemesia, petunia, salvia, tulip, and viola.

In addition, there are skill-building sections on topics like deadheading, making fertilizer, preparing pots for planting, and taking cuttings of perennials for propagation.

There are also instructions for forcing amaryllis and hyacinth bulbs.

Details like using products such as “John Innes No. 3” are likely of no use to American readers, as this particular product is not available, but fortunately Raven tells us that this is a peat-free bulb compost, and that’s an item we can locate.

So while a bit of the language may be unfamiliar, and some of the cultivars hard to find or unavailable, there is still much useful information for the American gardener.

Coupled with the beautiful photography by Jonathan Buckley, you’ll find an abundance of inspiration for your own container garden.

Where to Buy

You can find “A Year Full of Pots, Container Flowers for All Seasons” available on Amazon in Kindle and hardcover formats. 

A Year Full of Pots, Container Flowers for All Seasons

Published by Bloomsbury Publishing in April 2024, this 416-page book measures 6.7 x 1.3 x 9.1 inches.

More Is More

So many times we hear the expression, “less is more.” In “A Year Full of Pots,” Raven adamantly takes the opposite point of view. She states:

​​”With pots, there is one cast iron rule: more is more. I follow that rule to the letter. I’ve just had a walk round the garden and counted 382 of them.”

However, she doesn’t advocate for cacophonous color, but rather copious quantities of plants artfully grouped.

A horizontal image of colorful container plantings consisting of narcissus and tulips in a cottage garden.
Photo by Jonathan Buckley. Used with permission.

She fills an eclectic assortment of containers to the brim with single species, multiple species of a single color, and well-balanced “Bride,” “Bridesmaid,” and “Gatecrasher” “recipes.”

And while it would be nice if her planting months were an exact match for mine, I find Raven’s guidance valuable for creating attractive seasonal containers, and enjoy the glimpse into her enviable gardening life at Perch Hill.

Have you read this colorful and informative book? What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Photo of author


Nan Schiller is a writer with deep roots in the soil of southeastern Pennsylvania. Her background includes landscape and floral design, a BS in business from Villanova University, and a Certificate of Merit in floral design from Longwood Gardens. An advocate of organic gardening with native plants, she’s always got dirt under her nails and freckles on her nose. With wit and hopefully some wisdom, she shares what she’s learned and is always ready to dig into a new project!
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