I seemed out over the expanse of deck that surrounds the pool space and I knew I had loads of work to do. My mission was to melt the arduous strains of the hardscape. What higher method to do that than with boldly planted pots? With a fast scan of the scene, it was evident that the 4 present redwood containers had been very small and in poor situation. Nonetheless, I am all the time up for a gardening problem, so I dove in head first.
My first motion was to switch the redwood containers with massive, sturdy concrete containers. So, as a result of I like a tropical look, I chosen vegetation with daring architectural shapes, like bananas, canes, and dracaenas, and planted every pot to its full capability. The end result was containers that had been plentiful, dramatic, and bursting with colour and visible curiosity.
- western mugwort (Artemisia ludovicianaUSDA Hardiness Zones 4–9)
- ‘Margarita’ candy potato vine (morning glory potatoes ‘Margarita’, Zone 11)
- Zinnia ‘Profusion Orange’ (zinnia ‘Profusion Orange’, annual)
- Dracaena (Dracaena sp., Zone 11)
- Dahlia ‘Snoho Surprise’ (Dahlia ‘Snoho Surprise’, Zones Sep 11)
- Canna from ‘Intrigue’ (Cane ‘Intrigue’, Zones 8–11)
- ‘Sonata’ petunia (Petunia ‘Sonata’, annual)
- ‘Rubiginosa’ alternanthera (Alternanthera dentata ‘Rubiginosa’, Zones 9–11)
planning the extravaganza
I discover the large, daring, leafy vegetation with numerous textures, colours and habits to be an important component of my container gardens. My planting plans are primarily based on profitable designs I’ve used up to now, however I am all the time open to experimentation and probability.
Since I like my containers to be plentiful, I select vegetation that I do know will do effectively in tight quarters. Shade can be a consider my choice, and I attempt to choose two or three annual flower colours that complement the primary architectural vegetation in every container. I discover a restricted palette extra harmonious, along with making the seek for vegetation a lot simpler. I take advantage of heat colours in my tropical designs and have had nice success with monochrome colour schemes in addition to combos that featured purple and crimson flowers; apricot and lavender flowers; and orange, yellow and white flowers. I feel the toughest colours to work with are magenta and blue. I take advantage of all hues of chosen colours and select inexperienced, yellow, purple and grey leafy vegetation to make use of as a backdrop.
- lobelia (Lobelia ricacardiiYearly)
- blue fescue (glaucous fescueZones 4–8)
- Snapdragon ‘Rocket Crimson’ (antirrhinum majus ‘Rocket Crimson’, annual)
- blue bush sage (salvia uricaZones 9–10)
- Pitcher Sage ‘Nekan’ (blue sage ‘Nekan’, Zones 4-9)
- Iris (Iris cv., Zones 3–9)
- Castor bean ‘Carmencita’ (ricinus communis ‘Carmencita’, annual)
- Big hyssop ‘Liquorice Blue’ (Agastache scrophulariifolia ‘Blue Licorice’, Zones 4-9)
- Texas Sage ‘Woman in Crimson’ (salvia coccinea ‘Woman in Crimson’, annual)
- Petunia ‘Blue Pearls’ (Petunia ‘Azure Pearls’, annual)
- Petunia ‘Crimson Insanity’ (Petunia ‘Crimson Insanity’, annual)
- ‘Cabernet’ rubber manufacturing facility (elastic ficus* ‘Cabernet’, Zone 11)
Making the pots prosper
For me, the best container measurement is 26 inches tall and 30 inches large. I favor to make use of concrete pots due to their sturdiness and distinctive sculptural qualities. I like to recommend drilling two ½ inch diameter holes on all sides of the container, 4 inches above the bottom, plus a drainage gap within the backside. These discreet holes, simply created with a masonry drill, not solely permit for higher drainage, but additionally create a reservoir for water. If these aspect holes get clogged, I drill them with a bamboo stake to permit extra water to empty out.
Since my containers are filled with vegetation, the soil tends to stay to the roots. So I begin every season with a brand new soil: a compost combine; pearlite; and 14-14-14 slow-release granular fertilizer. As soon as the vegetation are in place, they flourish of their massive containers so long as I preserve them effectively watered, both by a dependable computerized sprinkler system or an uninterrupted hose handler. I additionally present them with a weekly feeding of liquid fertilizer and topple them commonly.
I preserve a gardening journal for every year’s container design, dedicating a web page to every container and utilizing a circle diagram to notice the location and identify of every plant. I additionally hooked up a digital photograph of the container to the web page. Report retaining sounds tedious, however in the long term it offers me invaluable data. I be taught which vegetation not solely make good companions, however are additionally straightforward to keep up and seasonally sturdy. It took some trial and error to be taught which vegetation work greatest collectively, however that is a part of the enjoyable of rising potted vegetation.
- Abyssinian crimson banana (Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelii’, Zones 9–11)
- New Zealand purple flax (phormium tenax ‘Purpureum’, Zones 8-11)
- Oriental lily ‘Casa Blanca’ (lily ‘Casa Blanca’, Zones 6–9)
- ‘Nicky Ok’ dahlia (Dahlia ‘Nicky Ok’, Zones 8–11)
- dusty miller (senecio viraviraZones 8–10)
- english ivy (hedera helix* cv., Zones 5–11)
- blue fescue (glaucous fescueZones 4–8)
- crimson mattress dahlia (Dahlia cv., Zones 8–11)
- Salvia ‘Sizzler Burgundy’ (salvia splendens ‘Sizzler Burgundy’, annual)
- ‘coral’ bougainvillea (bougainvillea ‘Coral’, Zones 9–11)
- lion’s ear (Leonotis leonurusZones 10–11)
- honey bush (Melianthus mainZones 8–11)
- sedum ‘meteor’ (spectable sedum ‘Meteor’, Zones 4–9)
*These vegetation are thought-about invasive in some areas. please confirm invadeplantatlas.org or your state’s invasive plant record for extra data.
Two planting strategies
After I began container gardening, I shamelessly packed every container with 30 vegetation. After a number of years, I had extra success utilizing fewer vegetation, roughly 18-20 in every container. Annuals bought in 4-inch sq. pots somewhat than cell packs are higher in a position to survive in overcrowded situations as a result of their root programs are extra developed. I organize the vegetation in order that they’re most distinguished on the aspect the place they are going to be seen. I additionally pull out any vegetation that are not behaving. Listed below are two planting strategies I take advantage of when packing my full measurement containers. Give each varieties of preparations an extended, sluggish soak as soon as the vegetation are in place; that is particularly necessary when utilizing the choice methodology to stop soil runoff.
When my undertaking requires a sturdy heart plan, I merely place the middle plan (mixture 3) near the middle of the pot and place as many assist vegetation as potential.
- Fill the container roughly midway with contemporary, moist soil and slow-release fertilizer.
- Heart the middle plant barely in the back of the pot.
- Add extra soil and slow-release fertilizer to inside 8 inches of the highest of the container.
- Prepare the filler vegetation round the primary plant, putting them as shut collectively as potential and including soil to carry every plant in place.
When utilizing a central plant with a smaller base or trunk (combos 1 and a pair of), I take advantage of a planting methodology that I’ve been experimenting with for the previous couple of years. I like this methodology as a result of it offers the middle plant extra peak and creates extra planting space for me to huddle the vegetation.
- Fill the container roughly three-quarters full with contemporary, moist soil and slow-release fertilizer.
- Place the middle plant within the heart of the container, ensuring the bottom degree of the plant is roughly 2 inches above the highest of the container.
- Add extra soil and slow-release fertilizer to the container to kind a mound.
- Place the filler vegetation as shut collectively as potential within the mound in order that they cascade over the sting of the container.
Juanita Nye surrounds her house in Portland, Oregon, with lavishly planted pots.
Pictures, besides the place famous: Allan Mandell
Illustrations: Melissa Lucas
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