Saturday, May 09, 2015
Container Gardens & Mother's Day
I have been teaching quite a few classes this Spring and container gardening was most often. I have a few tips to share with you but the most important one is---use something out of the ordinary for the container. Like a tower of tin tubs topped with a watering can like this shop has made for their window. I found it on pinterest.
1. Only use light soil made specifically for containers. It has to do with "Physics" which I never studied but the heavy soils (which are NOT meant for containers) have no where to "dissipate" and the pressure goes outward toward the side of the container and then pushes back and crushes the plants roots.
2. Use a 4 or 6 month fertilizer in the form of little beads. Osmacote is what I have used at home and at work.
3. Use Moisture Crystals--the smallest amount as they soak up water and enlarge and if you use too many--well, your plants will "pop" right out of the window box after a big rain. The nice thing about the crystals is they provide "insurance" in case you forget to water or the day gets really hot between the before work watering and the after work watering.
4. Baby Diapers. I have learned that the new diapers contain Moisture Crystals and I noticed on Pinterest that a Master Gardener used diapers to line containers, baskets and window boxes. Anyone tried this? The new gal at work has a 3 year old who just outgrew diapers and she has a few extras. So we are going to give it a try. I love a good experiment. I intend to poke holes in the diapers so the excess water can drain away, but this may not be possible with these new age diapers. We'll see.
5. Containers need something tall or striking (thriller) something to drip over the edges (spiller) and something to fill in to make the container look full (filler). Thrillers are usually singular--as too much of them starts to look like "filler" and the shock value is lost. I have used shrubs, rose bushes and large indoor plants for the "Thrill" of it. Spillers are typically that old standby--sweet potato vine. Only it gets carried away and you are left with boxes, containers and window boxes that just look like a "whole lotta sweet potato vine". I like lobelia. It's cloud-like and rather romantic. Filler can be petunias or anything like that. Stuff that has lots of flowers and color.
6. Shade plants for shade and sun plants for sun. Period.
7. Odd containers. We had some succulents planted in an old boot. Herbs planted in an old used colander with big handles. Houseplants in a wire basket lined with wet sheet moss. I am trying to get G to free an old mailbox from the wood support he screwed it to and I will lay a filled container on it's side in the box with the "flap" in the open position. What pretty mail! My employer is giving me some cash to go shopping at Goodwill for interesting containers. I have been hoping for a birdcage or a chandelier. A nice old wooden wine box would be great as well. We used to have a wine shop but it's now a "trendy" small plate restaurant. You know--$75 for dinner and you leave hungry.
8. Have fun. A container is a short timer. You aren't building a relationship with it. If it works--great. If not--well, you can always take it apart and start over. I rebuilt some garden boxes three or four or five times today. I lost track. In the end they looked good. In between, well, not so great. Easy to fix.
9. And Happy Mother's Day. I always love taking orders from sons, daughters and daughter's in law for their moms. It's been a good week at work. Lots of love.
10. A special Thank You to my own daughter for lugging the five foot fig tree down from the attic to the back porch. All by herself. Dad and I were surprised to find it by the door when we got home from our walk with Riley.