Container Gardening? Ask Questions!

Container Gardening can be so much more than just putting pretty flowers in a container.

Using the same design aspect that you would use with in-ground landscaping, you can create vistas for your enjoyment while you are outside. With the placement of pots in the right place you can create framing for visual blockage of unwanted views, traffic pattern and flow, accent existing landscaping, and add interest to patio furniture arrangements.

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Be sure to take into consideration the style of the area that you’re going to be placing these pots in. Is the color of the container going to be crucial? Will it be something to give it a little extra punch to the design area? You need to determine if you looking for containers that are highly decorative or more standard such as Clay.

Container gardening doesn’t stop with just placing your pots in the right location. Once you place the container it’s crucial that you pick the correct plants to go in them. The most important factor to take into consideration when choosing your plants is the environment they are going to be planted in. Is it windy location? Does it receive full sun or partial sun? Are the plans going to be planted in an area that will be hard to maintain? If so you might want to use more durable plants.

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Another thing to consider the fact that you might have animals or children. This would mean you would want to watch for poisonous plants or thorny plants. .

The plant materials that you use will play the biggest part of your container design. Add in the use of herbs and flowers for a please accent or even to repel unwanted past such as mosquitoes The third thing that you would want to take into consideration is your decorating style. Are you a traditional stylist or a little bit more bohemian? What is the overall effect that you’re going for? Are you trying to be conservative and a little bit old-fashioned, or are you trying for tropical effect with palms and exotic flowers?

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It is important that you should have a good understanding to the answers of all these questions before you even set foot into the nursery looking for plants. If you’re lost asked for help and if you don’t feel you’re getting the right help from the people in the store that you’re at, ask for professional to come out to your site and work up a plan that will best meet your needs. You have to live with the results of what you plant and you want to be happy. So be sure to ask lots of questions and be willing to make changes if your ideas and plans don’t mix together.

But regardless if you are designing your own container gardens, or getting the help from a professional gardener, the most important thing to remember is…

Enjoy your planting experience!

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The Four Elemants-Are they in your Garden?

The four elements – you hear about them often;

Earth, Wind, Water and Fire.

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Those four elements you’ll find in the garden as well. Earth, of course, is your garden’s anchor. Whether it be in a container, in the ground or in a hanging basket; the earth element supports your plants. The second element is water. Of course water comes from the rain and gives life to your plants. It’s often an added element in the forms of the bird bath, a fountain or small pond.

Then there is something that you really can’t add and have to rely on nature to provide; wind. You can enjoy the benefits of cooling breeze, the sounds of your wind chimes as the wind pushes through them, or the results of pollination from the wind pushing pollen out of one flower to the next.

The fourth element is fire and it is little bit harder to add. It’s making a big splash on today’s landscape garden, and there are many forms that you can bring it into your garden. Artificially, you can add fire by adding lighting landscape, or hanging lanterns or using Tiki-Torches. But now the biggest trend is fire pits.

Fire Pits seems to bring with them a feeling of closeness and community. They become a gathering spot for friends and family to share, and catch up on the day’s activities with each other. They can be a place of laughter and good times or maybe a solitude spot for a bit of romance.

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You can go to the web and find all kinds of sources for fire pits; do-it-yourself or premade- your imagination is all that holds you back from creating a special location in your landscape than everyone will want to enjoy. Not all fire pits are equal. Some actually use traditional wood that you burn, or some of the new trends that I really like are propane gas pits. You have no mess and all you have to do is turn the switch on and off. Some bit think it’s a bit lazy, not quite the traditional approach, but it works.

And a new item that I’ve recently seen is Fire Glass. This is added to your container and produces no smoke, order or ash. It comes in a range of colors and sizes, which makes it pretty even when not lit.

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So your garden is an extension of your world; a small little microclimate, a place where you can use the four elements of Earth, Wind, Water and Fire to create a beautiful atmosphere just for you.

Do you have all these elements in your garden?

Think Outside the Pot!

Wait! Don’t throw that out, it just might be the perfect container for that Fairy Garden that you’re making or to be used as a unusual container for garden.

It’s time we start thinking outside the pot. Look for different sources for containers and don’t always take the easy route. Just going and pulling a pot off the shelf can lead to ho-hum gardens when there are many other objects out there that could work really well as containers.

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I can remember as a child, my grandfather taking an old tire, painting in the bright color and cutting the top part open so it looks like a flower. Ta-da, my grandmother had a new planter that she planted full of pansies.

Maybe to the generations before us, it wasn’t so much looking for unusual containers as it was being responsible and recycling old items into new purposes. Maybe it’s time that we are all started being responsible as well, there’s some beautiful items out there, that if you just use your imagination you can turn into a great planter.

Have you ever bought something you really liked, used it to serve its purpose for short time and then you got tired of? A perfect example is an old metal fire pit was purchased before the stone became so popular. Our customer use that for year and then didn’t like it anymore; so we cleaned it out and made it into a huge planter that sits on a wrought iron stand.

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And just because a pot is broken doesn’t mean that needs to be thrown out either. Surely, you’ve seen the pictures of a play pot laying on it’s side in a landscape bed with annuals just filling out across the ground it makes for a beautiful site.

If you’re using a different container in your interiors, a simple way to avoid leakage is to line the bottom with heavy florist foil that will hold water and soil in. Don’t be afraid to try something completely different: a wood box, an old water bucket, an unused fountain or bird bath.

So it’s time to start looking at the items around you in a different light; trying figure out a new use for something before you throw it away. That beautiful broken cracked pot that used to belong to your grandmother can be perfect for miniature garden, or to hold an African Violet.

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Those are just a few tips & I hope they work for you… remember think outside the pot!

Lost in Gardening Heaven.

smallweb2014 covThe calendar says that it’s spring.  The weather is trying to act like spring.  And the ads from the big box stores are telling us that spring is here!  If you watch these ads, then you know that we are being told that we must spend our weekends getting our gardens ready to enjoy, and we need to rush right out to their stores before we lose the opportunity to have the best garden possible.

That’s all well and fine.  But have you ever gone to a Garden  Center to explore and not gotten lost for hours?

There are so many exciting new products that need to be thoroughly checked out.  And then there are our old favorites that we routinely use every year.  I think that the garden center is the one spot that can offer something to everyone.  For the more hands on type of person, there are all kinds of power tools.  From the simple weed eater to the newest riding lawnmower, they can be lost to their partner for hours.

For the more detailed, creative person there are more flowers and bushes than you can possible plant in one weekend.  And the Gardening accents are vast and varied;  whimsical statues, containers of all shapes and sizes ornate fountains, lights, flags, wind chimes…the list goes on.

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And now there is even a section full of kid’s gardening tools.  Personally, I think this is great.  Train that next generation to love plants and respect the earth!  Can you think of a more wholesome family activity than gardening.  Cultivate a child’s imagination and let them have their own garden spot where they can do what they want.  The results may just surprise you.

The Garden Center can even help you plan your entertainment activities.  The proper grill, comfortable lawn furniture, lighting, maybe even a fire pit.  To me that just screams for the planning of a weekend barbeque with friends.

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The Garden Center can even be a spot for a couple to spend time together.  There is something that pulls a couple in love together when they are planning for their future.  Picking out the right colors, deciding where the newest pot of flowers is going to be set, envisioning how everything will grow shows a commitment to the future. 

Isn’t that what gardening is… planning and planting for the future? 

Spring Break

Spring Break…those two words put together can have different meanings to different groups of people. To the young families struggling through a long winter stuck indoors, it can mean a week’s vacation to a warmer, family friendly destination. To young adults is often brings to mind endless beach parties and fun, fun times. To the many Grandparents out there it could mean the visit from returning college students. To those living in these destination spots it could mean all the woes and traffic headaches that the tourist can bring.
 bowl at frontBut to the Southern Gardener, well Spring Break means it’s time to show off! Winter annuals are at their peak about now, the days are warm, the nights a little cooler, winds have calmed down from those strong North-easterners and the rain has yet to become the summer’s downpours. And this means the flowers and gardens are looking their best.
There is a certain point when flowers are full and glorious, just before they become overgrown and weary. It can last for a week or several weeks. The experienced Gardner knows the best timing and methods of pruning and fertilizing to prolong this period and bask in the glow of all those complements from the novice standing in awe over your skills.

It doesn’t matter if you want to brag about your skills, or just stand back and let others enjoy the results of your hard work, this is the time when it all comes to celebrate the garden.  If your containers are at your front entry or in a public area,  expect your visitors to exclaim how beautiful your flowers are.  Share your tips for a successful show, for they will be sure to ask not only how you did that, but what you used.

IMG_0545(If you have a gardener, be sure that they have provided you with a list of the plants in your gardens!)

On the other hand if you would prefer to keep your garden a secret all to yourself, then by all means, do so.  Be sure that you have created a garden that you can spend hours in, escaping the struggles (and tourist) of the day, and relax.  I love to not only have color in this type of garden, but also plants that are going to please my sense of smell as well.  A few well placed herbs such as Rosemary or Lavender can do the job.

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And remember, it’s Spring Break.  So pour yourself a tall glass of sweet tea (or mimosa) and get out in your garden to enjoy it, not work it!