It’s Container Garden Time!

It’s finally warm enough to bring my plants off the porch, outside and to get them into containers. You saw one of them last Wednesday for “Wordless Wednesday.”

Here are some of the others.20180520_162346

This is an herb container. You may remember the Spanish Lavender from an earlier post. I have surrounded it with rosemary, thyme, chives (already starting to flower) and parsley.

20180520_162340

You can see that I am already starting my “edibles” wall. It has to be this way since my vegetable garden soil is still “poisoned” from last year’s unfortunate incident with the erring landscape company. I may find that I like everything so close to the kitchen that I never go back to the raised beds–who knows?

As for the Spoiler, he’s already said that he likes the flowers in the raised bed.

20180520_162557

I had a container garden lecture on Tuesday so I planted up some containers that I might not ordinarily do. This one is a “riff” on the geranium, vinca, dracena spike combo, but done with houseplants so the whole thing can be brought in for the winter if you choose.

20180520_162412

And since not everyone loves the look of all succulents (and we don’t live in Arizona or the desert southwest, so really, why do we insist on planting them everywhere?) this is my take on a dry container that will go a long time without water. (Actually I do love the look of succulents–but I keep them as house plants instead!)

20180520_162437

Finally, for those of you that were with me last year, you may remember that I did this combo last summer. The two colors of million bells fill in nicely under the croton and blend together to form an orange-y yellow carper over the top of the whole pot. It’s very nice. It the end of the season, I compost the million bells, fill in those spots with fresh soil and return the croton to a sunny window indoors.

So that’s some fun with containers at my house!

Container Gardeners, These Are For Us

20180404_160404

If you are growing plants in containers, have you tried the fabric pots yet?

I tried one for the first time last year and I liked it so well that I bought 5 more this year. They have everything going for them.

First, if space is an issue, they are a breeze to keep and store. This is a 5 gallon pot. It folds down to the size of a large, glossy magazine–just about as high and thick. I  bought a 5 pack of them. They arrived, folded, in an express mail envelope. Try doing that with any other sort of container!

They’re made right here in the United States, in Oklahoma City, to be exact, by a family company that began manufacturing them for trees.

20170521_135222

This is mine from  last year,  planted with a tomato and some herbs.  The tomato grew so well that I eventually pulled out two of the 4 herbs.

This year I am planning to be even more ambitious . I am planning a couple of tomatoes –1 per bag, obviously–& a bag of cucamelons. I will do a bag of just herbs, to give them room of their own. And I have a fig for one, that’s begging for extra room.

So I should have a nice edible garden–if I can get the Spoiler to haul the soil for me. Thanks to Amie, I won’t be moving much.

And I found–& buy–these all on my own. I get no credit or anything else for promoting this product.  In fact,  I know that there are other fabric type bags out there. I buy these because I like supporting an American company.  You can make your own choices.

The Plant that Keeps on Giving

20171112_080151

I bought this plant (the one in the base of the citrus) as a 6″ annual for an outdoor hummingbird container I was planting in 2015. It was called “Jewels of Opar” (don’t you love common names sometime? They’re so romantic!) The botanical name is talinum ‘limon’ presumably for the chartreuse foliage.

As I was scouting around for the botanical on this, lo and behold, I also discovered it was edible! Gracious! This really is the plant that keeps on giving! When I entitled the post that, I merely meant that since 2015, it has self-sowed into various containers of mine and continues to bloom all over the place. You see it here in 3 containers in 3 different stages: blooming, near bloom, and seedling.

20171112_080205

It was blooming outside in my garden beds as well. When I find these flower stalks going to seed, I shake the seeds over my beds and borders and the next season I find plants coming up in the gardens. How delightful. Plants without work. I am all for that!

The article I link to above makes mention of how wonderful these itty bitty tiny flowers are for pollinators. So many of us grow huge hulking flowers to draw in bees and butterflies but we forget about our smaller bees. There are bees that are the size of a grain of white rice and we need to be mindful of those pollinators too!

Of course, if you are going to attempt to eat what you are growing, make sure that you are growing it organically. No pesticides of any kind, especially on the plants but even in your soils. Be mindful of that.

Otherwise, just enjoy these lovely plants and flowers.

 

House Plants in Containers

Whenever I lecture on either house plants or on container garden design,  on of my  mainstays is to talk about using house  plants in outdoor containers.  I think this is a very under-done practice, and when gardeners do do it, they often discard ( or compost) the house plants at the end of the season with the annuals.  Not only is that unnecessary,  but it deprives the gardener of something that can be reused for many seasons and often in different designs each season.

Last weekend,  I took a stroll around a nearby town and photographed some of the containers to show house plants creatively used. These are all on borrowed time–we are already 2 weeks past our first frost date. But most of them look great!

20171021_090948

This is a diffenbachia together with some fuchsia and purple leafed sweet potato vine.  Very pretty.

20171021_090907

A simple arrangement of aralia, scaveola, and impatiens.

20171021_091311

Tricolor dracena, more impatiens and begonias.

20171021_091126

More sweet potato vine–chartreuse this time– more impatiens and another diffenbachia.

20171021_090922

Some variegated tradescantia, yet more impatiens and a ti plant. There were many of these ti plants all over town but these were the best looking. Some were completely overwhelmed by the other flowers and foliage.

20171021_090805

And now for something completely different,  just a peace lily in a basketimely. This can easily be whisked inside for cooler weather.

20171021_090747

Finally  this is not the best looking planter, but I love the use of thyme as a ” spiller.”

Container Renovation for Fall

20170609_154902

This container has sat next to my driveway since early May. This photo is from June 9, about a month after we got it.

We bought it pre-planted because I had surgery May 18 and there was only so much gardening that I could do. It worked out fairly well  considering its location and the fact that the Spoiler,  who was responsible for dragging the heavy hoses around for a lot of the summer,  didn’t get down to this container nearly as often as he should have.

20170916_092706.jpg

But this is what it looks like now. It’s not pretty and clearly it needs to be redone.

So I hemmed and hawed and thought about what I could do. You’re not going to find me planting mums. I think they are a waste of money. At this point in the season,  their life span is too short–& they offer nothing to wildlife.

Asters are a better choice but even those are about past their prime for containers. I wanted something that would look reasonably good until a hard freeze–and possibly thereafter.

20170916_114259

That left me with very few options.  I was happy to find the foamy bells (heucherellas) and a coral bells (heuchera).  At the moment, the heuchera, Palace Purple, is buried under the foliage from the red spike but I don’t expect that to last long. That left me with just one “annual,” the cabbage, which will take a lot of chill. And when it starts looking ratty, I’ll turn the pot so that’s at the back.

This should survive nicely until I get my Christmas greens.

And in the spring, I will have some nice perennials for the garden.