Volume 3, Issue 7

February 2005



Container Gardens

A down to earth approach to planting
Uptown, midtown or out of town, no matter where you live, a container garden can spruce up an ordinary setting. Vibrant, versatile and easy to care for, these gardens add instant interest to tiny terraces or large landscapes.

"Container gardens give the flexibility to add plants just about anywhere," said Bob Jacobson, a Home Depot gardening expert. Outdoor Planters

Brighten a front porch, define a pathway or make a nook more noticeable, all with container gardens. And, mobility makes them more enticing.

"Move a garden to a new location in a matter of minutes or switch plants for changing seasons or a special event," said Jacobson. "Chances are, you already have interesting containers around the house. An old metal bucket, a watering can or a wheelbarrow can become a new home for plants and flowers."

However, if the space calls for something new, consider wooden barrels and interesting clay or ceramic pots in varying shapes and sizes. Avoid containers with narrow openings, he said.

Jacobson offers the following suggestions for gorgeous gardening - in a pot.

  • Create curb appeal by hanging baskets overflowing with brightly colored annuals and perennials. For a dramatic effect, group baskets together and suspend from porches and entries.
  • Enchant guests and passersby with charming window boxes. Fill boxes with blooming plants that share colors but vary in growth patterns. Select plants that stand tall and others that will cascade over the boxes.
  • Grow produce on your patio. Veggies, fruits and herbs put a tasty twist on container gardening. Plant juicy cherry tomatoes and ruby-red strawberries for a nutritious snack that's steps away.
  • Plant a pot or two of your favorite herbs and use to spice up ordinary dishes.
  • Topiaries make great container gardens. Use wire coat hangers to make and shape a topiary form. Place it in the center of the container and press into the soil. Plant ivy, leaving space for growth, until you fill the container. As the ivy grows, wind the stems around the forms and prune to maintain shape.
Once your container is complete, follow-up is important to keep the garden looking its best.

Check the moisture level by poking a finger a half-inch into the soil. If your finger comes out spotless, the plant needs a drink.

Use fertilizer with a balanced formula of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium to encourage blooming and fruiting, leafy growth, intense color and strong roots.

Light and fluffy potting soil is your best bet for portable pots. Roots can roam freely without rotting.

Step 1
Fill container half full with potting soil. For smaller plants, stop 2 inches down the rim.

Step 2
Loosen the plant from its container by pressing firmly on all sides.

Step 3
Encourage roots to explore by teasing them apart with your fingers.

Step 4
Nestle the plant in its new pot and fill with potting soil, leaving the top of the root ball exposed.

Step 5
Saturate the plant with water and add more potting soil if needed.

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