Thriller, Filler & Spiller

My husband had Saturday off this weekend (which really never happens during football season), and he was determined to work on our yard. He hasn't been able to pay any attention to the yard since football began at the beginning of August, and it was looking pretty sad.

The first thing we did was head to our local Calloway's to get educated about prepping our grass for winter/spring. That's where I learned my new favorite gardening term, Thriller, Filler & Spiller.

I was asking for advice about what to plant in our two planting boxes in the front yard. The Calloway's salesman told me that when he plants the big "wow" pots at their nursery, he always has a thriller, a filler and a spiller. The thriller is the main attraction, the filler takes up space and the spiller grows over the side of the pot for extra interest. I love a catchy saying, so of course I latched onto that one immediately!

Here's my version of the Thriller, Filler & Spiller!

The juniper in the middle is the thriller, with its nice color and height. It's supposed to look great year-round, according to the salesman. The pansies are the filler, and they should add some nice color as they fill out. The ivy, another super durable plant, is the spiller. 

Honestly, I'm not great at gardening. I love the way it looks to have a perfectly manicured lawn with gorgeous gardens, but it's not my best skill. We broke a record this summer for the number of days with temperatures over 100 degrees, and I gave up on the plants pretty early into that streak. 

They were looking awful:

Oddly enough, each planter had attracted tons of weeds and a baby oak tree. The oak tree in the bottom was still alive, so I carefully transplanted it into a flower pot to see if I can get it to grow into an actual tree. 

Now they definitely look better:

I'm really excited about the junipers because I think they will look better and better as they grow taller and taller! I'm hoping they frame the front door nicely, and they could even be a fun place to add Christmas lights this holiday season. 

While I was trying to salvage those front planters and make them less embarrassing, Scott was working in the backyard to plant some grass plugs. Our grass had died in this perfect border around our new patio, and it needed some help. 

The experts at the nursery thought we could plant these grass plugs and then fertilize, winterize, add a pre-emergent... blah blah blah, I basically tuned out after the fourth or fifth chemical. That's Scott's job, right? I was too busy looking at the pretty flowers and the adorable pumpkin patch. The hope is that when spring comes around, our grass will be re-juvented and will spread to fill in the current dead zones. 

For right now, we've got cute little plugs of grass dotting our landscaping. We're crossing our fingers that the dogs don't dig them up!

I came home from the nursery with some other pretty plants, too. I really liked the look (and price) of this Croton, so I grabbed two of them. One is now occupying the big pot in our backyard...

... and one of them is by the front door, with our fall pumpkin display.

I couldn't resist the Celosia plants, either. They were stunning! The nursery had them arranged in rows by color, from yellow to orange, and fuschia to deep red.  I had to get some! I put them in our ice bucket/planter by the back door. It will be great to see something pretty every time we come home, since the back door is our main entrance. 

Check out our two transplanted trees– they look so puny in that huge flower pot!

The landscaping is looking a little better after our efforts this weekend, but we're hoping to see the major impact in the spring when everything starts blooming again. 

Do you do anything for your lawn to prep it for the winter? As novice homeowners with little lawn care knowledge, we're always open to advice. We definitely didn't do a great job caring for the lawn in our first year as home owners, so we're hoping to redeem ourselves in year two!

* Loving the smell of this rain! *

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