Thursday, May 14, 2009

Container Gardens and More

It appears that it will be on the chilly side this weekend. That being said, I will be in my yard planting up some 30 or so containers. I like to mix it up and try different things each year and never be predictable. As I previously mentioned, I’m using lots of orange this year in my yard and gardens. I wanted cheery and bright and orange seems perfect. Listed below are seven ideas with pictures of different container gardens. Try something new this year, have some fun with your containers and don’t be predictable. Listed below are some container garden quick tips.

Also this weekend, I may try to make a quick trip to the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen. I try to get out there three times a year – spring, summer and fall. With the daffodils, crabapples and lilacs in bloom it should be a perfect time to take in all the color. Here is a link to their website.

Make your day a good one.

Seven Ideas for Container Gardens

The Monochromatic Container

Pick a color, any color and fill your container with flowers and plants all in the same color family. Nothing creates attention like color. The use of one color will be sure to get attention.

Decorative and Edible

Don't limit herb plants to being grouped together in one container. Mix parsley, rosemary, sage and oregano in all your sun-loving planters with flowers anywhere in your yard. Not only will your planters look great, you can use the herbs for cooking too.

All Foliage Planter

Create a different look in your outdoor planters by filling them will all foliage plants. Choose plants with leaves that are different shapes, textures and colors for a unique look. No flowers needed. The look is sure to draw attention.

Outdoor Succulent Garden

For a trendy touch of the southwest, fill your containers with succulents. Choose a low, squatty container and plant with an assortment of different succulents. Place in full sun and water infrequently. Rain will probably be enough to keep it looking great all summer and into the fall. Bring indoors before the first frost.

Indoor Plants Outdoors

All plants grow outdoors somewhere in the world, so why not plant them outdoors in containers and enjoy during our summer months? Great full sun plants include: crotons, ivy and ficus. For the shade, try ferns, peace lily and philodendrons.

Container Herbs and Vegetables

No space for a vegetable or herb garden? Tomatoes, peppers and eggplants are easy to grow in large containers. Use a container that is 12” or larger and fill with potting soil. Keep in full sun. Water daily and fertilize weekly.

Perennial Beauty

Break away from the predictable. Shade loving perennials such as hosta and coral bells are perfect in containers. The foliage adds a rich texture and distinctive look. In September, plant the perennials in your garden and replace with garden mums.

Container Gardening Quick Tips

Use containers 10” or larger. Smaller containers dry out quickly during hot summer days.

Always use potting soil, replacing it every year.

Mix osmocote slow release fertilizer and Soil Moist in the soil before planting. The Soil Moist will help keep the soil from drying out. Osmocote will release nutrients into the soil every time you water. Some soil mixes already have this, so no need to add more.

Before planting your container gardens water the plants well while they are still in the paks or pots. Moisten the soil in the container too. This way, your first watering after planting will soak in more quickly and the soil will be evenly moist.

Choose plants from three different groups:
Upright plants – add height.
Bushy plants – fill in the middle and add fullness.
Trailing plants – hang over the sides of the container and add softness.

Select plants that can tolerate the sun or shade conditions you have.
Six or less hours of direct light is usually considered shade.
Six or more hours of direct light is usually considered sun.
The north and east sides of a home are considered shade.

Use a liquid fertilizer each week from late June on to help keep the containers growing and lush. Remember that containers have a limited amount of soil to hold nutrients and need fertilizer every single week.

Remove flowers once they start fading to help promote more growth and new flowers.

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