Good Life: The Mix: Plant Ahead

How to get your city garden ready for fall

In the spring of 2005, Chestnut Hill-based garden designers Mary Costello and Peter Smith realized there wasn’t a place that sold the stuff — window boxes, lightweight pots, all-weather planters — that makes city gardens bloom. So they filled the void themselves. Earlier this summer, the duo rehabbed an old warehouse in Northern Liberties and opened City Planter, where urbanites whose gardens come in clay pots, rather than big green yards, can find everything they need to remain patio-perfect — including expert advice. Here, the pair’s tips on transitioning your end-of-summer container garden into the fall and winter chill. City Planter, 814 North 4th Street, 215-627-6169,



Pamper your pots. Cold temps will crack terra-cotta or glazed pots. Bring them in and replant with indoor tropicals. (You can put them back out in mid-March.)

Think big. Larger containers work better for cold-weather plants outdoors — they hold more moisture, meaning even less maintenance.

Buy tougher stuff. Replanting containers in the fall with weather-hardy shrubs and ornamentals will make them showy all winter. No clue what to plant? For a list of City Planter-approved options, log onto