After a visit south of the border, my eyes were opened to the infinite possibilities of container gardening. Hanging baskets, pots, unique items used as pots, and containers brimming with flowers spilling down from walls have enormous potential for brightening up your outdoor spaces.
Containers with annuals or perennials lead your eye where you want it to go. They can be used not only to dress up the front door but also add interest to any place along a home’s facade. An exciting container can keep the eye from noticing flaws in the home or yard. A stellar container with eye-catching contents can lead you down a path into another part of the yard.
Potted plant rules are few. Plant like plants together. Plants needing full sun won’t do well with shade lovers. Water frequently because most container plantings dry out quickly, especially those in terra cotta planters. Feed the container plants because they don’t “eat” or bloom well if you don’t give them some blooming fertilizer food. A 15-30-15 boost each week or every other week is a good idea. Make sure your container offers drainage. Most plants do not like to be mired down in swampy soil. Pack in smaller plants only, allowing room for roots to grow. Be generous.
You can think of plants grown in containers, whether annual or perennial, as short term, seasonal plantings. But lots of places in the world expand on that vision. Why not a more permanent planting in a container? Trees grown in large containers are super chic. A double row of terra cotta pots filled with boxwoods lining a small patio or courtyard as you would in-ground shrubs is super chic.
Some offbeat containers are old bathtubs, tin cans, a lined old wicker laundry basket, a hanging shoe organizer (for small veggies?), and an old shoe or rain boot with drainage holes drilled. Make a walled circle out of old bricks you may have around and you have a space to fill with soil and garden. Some hardcore recyclers turn used mesh produce bags into hanging planters. You may choose to go a tad more traditional with terra cotta or other commercially available pots,
Some gardeners like to mix multi-color varieties in one container, but lots of professionals stick to a mass planting of exactly the same plant or color in each pot. Make your potted vision large or small. Make it all green or colorful. You are the artist. Just like the painter with brush and watercolors, you are creating a 3-D “paintinga” with flowers and greenery.
As a side note, Jefferson County Master Gardeners would like to thank the community for its support in the annual Spring Plant Sale at the Jefferson County airport. With their hard work and the support of gardeners just like you, they raised considerable funds to keep teaching, training and learning about gardening in our community. For information on becoming a master gardener, call Texas Agri-Life at (409) 835-8461. Ask for Peggy or master gardener and president Jackie Steen.
Joette is an avid gardener and prides herself on staying up-to-date on the latest gardening activities and tips. To share your gardening news with Joette, call (409) 832-1400 or fax her at (409) 832-6222. Her e-mail is joreger [at] msn [dot] com.