Book Review: Container Theme Gardens by Nancy J. Ondra

With spring just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about designing easy container gardens. Container gardens are perfect in almost any setting.Whether it’s a yard with a spacious patio, a balcony, city rooftop garden or even a fire escape; they fit just about anywhere.


Gardening in containers is the perfect solution if you happen to have little or no garden space. And for those of you who might not be too familiar with plants, award-winning Bucks County, Pennsylvania garden designer extraordinaire, Nancy J. Ondra, guides gardeners of all levels and budgets in her latest book, Container Theme Gardens.

What I like most about this book is that you can create eye-catching container gardens with what Ondra calls a “5-plant palette.” Each arrangement follows a theme; plants match each other as well as their containers. Easy-to-grow plants are paired with complementary containers of all shapes and sizes including, wood, clay metal and cement.

For around $50, you can purchase five plants that will give you months of pleasure along with a pot that will last a few years.

With an overwhelming amount of plants available, Ondra focuses on choosing just five plants for each simplified design. She takes the guesswork out of gardening by providing 42 fullproof garden recipes for every style, function and taste. Gardeners only need to pick a theme, determine light condtions and simply plant.

An absolute beginner can create one of the themed container gardens in an afternoon and seasoned gardeners will appreciate the stunning photographs that showcase individual plants and completed garden designs.

Regardless, of gardening experience, container gardens provide instant impact and easy maintenance. Pinching off faded flowers and leaves once a week along with regular watering is all that is needed in the maintenance department.

Featured plants are readily available at nurseries and big box stores. A plant shopping list accompanies each design making it easy to purchase what is needed to complete a container garden.

More than likely you’ll want to design a few containers to create a grouping. Ondra makes it easy breezy to succeed in low maintenance container gardening where you’ll create colorful designs in a short period of time.

Themes range from Spring Cheer, Hummingbird Haven, Balcony Beauties, Herbs on the Windowsill and Salad on the Deck.

Container Theme Gardens will make the perfect gift for just about anyone on your green thumb or non-green thumb gift-giving list. For more on gardening, visit Ondra’s blog,

To read my review on Huffington Post, click here. 

To purchase Container Theme Gardens, click here.


Container Theme Gardens was sent to me for review. If purchased on Amazon, I make a very small commission. This post includes an affiliate link.








2 thoughts on “Book Review: Container Theme Gardens by Nancy J. Ondra

  1. For me, the fun of container gardens is the container.

    I absolutely hate the generic, run of the mill, you see them everywhere containers you see at garden centers and home improvement store.

    I love the unique. I love the unusual. And I love glazed pots and am a sucker for cobalt blue.

    Raku and two or three tone glazes that run into each other are wonderful.

    And I love shapes. Squatty wide ones. Tall ones. I love bonsai containers.

    I also have some nice stands and pedestals.

    I had a generic plastic bowl completely covered and hidden in trailing and other plants and I put it in the broken out seat of an old bentwood chair. Enjoyed that until the chair fell apart.

    I’m getting ready to try a terrarium again this year. Succulents this time I think.

    I’ll also be doing herbs in a nice strawberry pot I picked up that is totally glazes with variegated cobalt blue glaze.

    I also might be pouring a concrete pedestal with a mold I have. Probably in the fall as I have other projects on my plate.

    1. Me too…I’m always on the look out for unusual containers and pots as well as unique vessels for floral arrangements. It’s about the whole package! email me a photo or two or three…

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