Landscapes of any size will benefit with the added color and beauty of container gardens. Adding a color spot on an apartment balcony, back yard deck, or adorning your front entry brings added value and beauty to your environment.
Benefits of Container Gardens:
- A container garden is great for beginning gardeners or as a family project to introduce children to the delights of planting. Children (and many adults too) enjoy getting their hands in the rich soil and gently placing a plant into the pot. With each passing day, as the garden grows, your children will be able to relish in their participation in fostering their living plants.
- No room for a vegetable garden plot? Plant your veggies in containers! Even the smallest balcony should have room to hold a planter or two where you can grow your favorite vegetable.
- There is less work involved in maintaining container gardens. When selecting your planters, select those with a height that brings you ease when working on them.
- If you may be moving but do not want to give up the beauty of your favorite plants, containers allow for portability. Nothing says home better than a garden, and if you move then you can take your container garden with you to your new home.
- Containers can be purchased new or created from a wonderful repurposed item. You can design your container garden to fit your personality: plant in a circa 1950’s red wagon, a well-loved lantern base, or whatever you may discover that is uniquely you. The variety and options are endless, allowing you to design a space that fits your needs.
- Our four legged friends will be less likely to dine on plants in your container garden and our own pets will not be able to trample on your plants while playing fetch.
Preparing to Plant your Container Garden:
Begin by determining if you want flowers, vegetables, herbs or a combination of all and then select your containers. Don’t hesitate to mix and match container sizes, colors and shapes. The goal is to find what feels good for your own tastes. Container gardens holding flowers can be filled so the plants will complement each other as they grow and their colors blend. Vegetable and herb container gardens should be planted in such a way to give each plant space. Some herbs, such as mint, can be invasive as they grow and need to be in a container of their very own.
Large containers can become quite heavy when filled with soil. The roots of your plants will only utilize the top 10 to 18 inches of soil so you can
place light weight filler in the bottom of your pots to displace the weight of the soil. One suggestion for filler is foamed polystyrene, sometimes referred to generically by the brand name, Styrofoam. While we don’t encourage the purchase of new foamed polystyrene as it is very difficult to recycle, using pieces of Styrofoam already in existence prevents it from going to a landfill. Place the foamed polystyrene in the bottom of your planter, add your nutrient enriched soil, and then place your plants.
Designing Your Container Garden:
The first rule of designing your own container garden is to fill it with plants you love. Purchase plants that will work with the size of your container and with the location you will place it in. Your local garden center will carry a wide variety for you to choose from. Each plant should have a tag listing how large it will grow to be and what type of lighting it needs.
If your planter will be viewed from all sides, follow the “thriller, filler and spiller” guidelines. Select a “thriller” plant for the center of your container. This plant should grow taller than the others you choose and have features that draw your attention to the container garden. Next, select your “filler” plants. These may vary in variety and should grow to half the height of your “thriller” plant. Lastly, select trailing plant varieties as “spillers”. Plant these around the outer edge of your planter so as they grow they will cascade over the edge.
Not all containers fall into this category. If you are planting a repurposed lantern to hang in your garden you may select plants based on sun and shade conditions. Begonias grow will in shady areas and do very well in the warm soil an enclosed planter provides.
Caring For Your Container Garden:
All plants need nourishment. We recommend a slow release fertilizer used when planting, regular watering, and an organic pesticide to prevent slug and snail damage. Monitor your container’s soil and take care to not over water.
Enjoy your Container Garden:
Once your garden is designed, planted and nourished, don’t forget to sit back and enjoy its beauty! If your container garden has been a family project, encourage your children to check each plant’s growth throughout the summer. Depending on your plant selections, you may be able to create a beautifully cut bouquet to adorn your table or harvest fresh vegetables to enjoy with dinner. Your Container Garden will bring you great enjoyment from Spring through Fall.
If you would like help designing or planting your container garden please contact us today!