A Heuchera And Caladium Container

IMG 2627 A Heuchera And Caladium Container

Container gardens don’t always have to feature endless rotations of flowers, a bright collage of leafy foliage works just as well!

For this container in partial sun and shade I chose to use a few Caladium, Heuchera, and Lobelia plants, to add light and texture to an open patio corner.  Heuchera is gaining in popularity as a container plant, particularly when it is layered into a garden with several different colors.  For this container I used ‘Black Beauty,’ and ‘Caramel’ Heuchera to contrast each other.   The Caladium colors I used where ‘Pink Beauty’ and ‘White Christmas,’ and over the course of the season they should grow to be very large, and regal, making tall centerpieces in this container.

The light blue flower spilling over the edge of the pot is Lobelia erinus, which is a solid selection for any warm weather container when you need flowers, and a ground cover in one plant.

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A Formal Rose Container Design

IMG 2625 607x1024 A Formal Rose Container Design

Formal container designs look organized and crisp in any setting, but my favorite place to use these is around doorway entrances. This week I chose to flank the front door to a busy office building with two matching formal rose designs that look like this, using a blue and hot pink palette.

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Spring Container Garden Idea: The Three P’s

IMG 2515 1024x1024 Spring Container Garden Idea: The Three P’s

Spring’s on-again, off-again weather fluctuations can cause problems when you are looking for a reliable set of plants that can take the chilly nights and sunny days. The three “P’s” in this cool weather spring themed container are Pansies, Prim Roses and Purple Spider Osteospermum.

The Purple Spider Osteospermum, and Pansies are annuals, and the Prim Roses are perennials and self spreaders. All of these work well in a partially sunny, or fully sunny area, and the Osteospermum will help stretch the flowering of the design until the summer.  Once the Pansies drop their flowers and die back, replace them with a summer annual, or your favorite flowering perennial.

For a loose free feel, choose uneven numbers of each variety of plant, and fill the pot to the brim with a variety of colors

IMG 25151 150x150 Spring Container Garden Idea: The Three P’s IMG 25152 150x150 Spring Container Garden Idea: The Three P’s IMG 25153 150x150 Spring Container Garden Idea: The Three P’s

Purple Spider Osteospermum, Prim Rose, and Pansy

A Begonia and Vinca Vine Container Garden Idea for Partial Shade

img 1934 768x1024 A Begonia and Vinca Vine Container Garden Idea for Partial Shade

Begonias are great container plants for both the summer and fall seasons.   This recipe is one of of the easiest partial shade designs to make. The quantities listed are designed to work in 24 inch diameter pots, although you can alter your own quanties for your container.

scan 736x1024 A Begonia and Vinca Vine Container Garden Idea for Partial Shade

What You Need:

  • Circle #1:  Two 4-6inch pots of Pink Begonias
  • Circle #2:  Two 4-6 inch pots White Begonias
  • Circle #3:  One Geranium
  • Four to Eight Annual Vinca Vines around the perimeter

Plant the pot according to the chart on the right, and water two to three times a week in warm weather, and once per week in cool weather.

Cool Weather Tips:

If you live in an area with cool fall and winter months where temperatures regularly dip below 40 degrees, bring the begonias and geranium indoors for the winter.

A DIY Three-Tiered Planter

img 1767 768x1024 A DIY Three Tiered Planter

Here is a creative idea I came across this week that turns three plastic pots into an eye catching three-tiered planter.  This design is easily recreated with various sized planters you may already have at home, this model uses three shallow, wide-mouthed containers, with a section of PVC pipe, and some PVC glue.  Additional Terra Cotta spray paint is optional, but can really improve the appearance with your final product.

How To Use This Idea At Your Place:

  1. To follow this model, place the largest pot on your patio and fill it completely with soil.
  2. Choose PVC pipe with a wide diameter, and trim one piece of it to a length greater than 12 inches.  The section in our model was about 14 inches long, but can be greater in length to allow for taller plants in your middle planter.
  3. Place your medium sized pot on the soil of your base pot, and begin filling it with dirt.
  4. Find the center of your medium pot, and work the PVC section into it, while continuing to add soil to the pot, and to the middle of your “planted” PVC section. Place the rough end of your trimmed PVC section down in the dirt, leaving the smooth end for gluing.
  5. Fill the PVC section with dirt only to the soil line of the rest of the pot to stabilize the structure you are making.
  6. Using the PVC glue, coat the exposed lip of the PVC and center your empty top pot over it.
  7. Leave the structure to dry for 24 hours before touching or filling the top pot.
  8. Use a Terra Cotta spray paint to coat the outside of the PVC pipe, and to tie the Tiered Planter together visually.

One thing I like about this design is the separated containers. Annuals can be changed out regularly in only one level at a time, and the moment one layer of plants begins to fade you can substitute new flowers there right away for perfect long lasting color.  When completely filled and mature the planter looks like a solid cone of flowers, and it looks great on balconies and patios that are short on gardening space.

Your Thoughts: Have you tried a stacked design before in your garden?

A Coleus Container Garden For Partial Shade

img 1561 225x300 A Coleus Container Garden For Partial Shade

Coleus is a colorful annual that is great for brightening up your shady spots. It comes in dozens of different color variations, and it grows to be quite bushy in only a few weeks, so it makes a wonderful pot filler.

Ingredients:

  • One 24 inch pot
  • 2 Coleus Plants of differing varieties
  • 4-5 Blue Star Creeper plants
  • 4 Brown Faced Pansies
  • 2 Pale Spiked Lobelia

This design uses two varieties of Coleus, ‘Splish Splash’ on the right, and ‘Granny Smith’ on the left, to fill in the background of this container. The foreground of the pot is encircled with delicate ‘Blue Star Creeper,’ which is actually a groundcover that does a great job of filling in any open spaces around the edges. The mid-ground of the container is mixed with wide Brown Faced Pansies, and the delicately blooming Pale Spiked Lobelia.

Mixing Annuals and Perennials:

This idea like many others mixes annuals and perennials, which can allow you to change out the spent annuals seasonally to add fresh and relevant plants to your display every couple of months. Changing just a few flowers with the season can lend you a bit of continuity in your designs while giving you the option of adding fresh colors and textures cheaply depending on what is available in small sizes at your local nursery or grocery store. The Coleus, and Pansies in this pot are annuals, and will not return for you after the fall season – although the Pansies often self seed, and plant themselves in new spots. The the Lobelia is actually a North American native perennial, and will come back for you repeatedly, as will the Blue Star ‘Laurentia,’ which is not native.

Be sure to plant your flowers in a layer of compost or leaf mold, or add a time release fertilizer like  Ozmocote to guarantee fast growth, and lots of healthy blooms.

Container Garden Ideas: Hanging Basket For Full Sun (#003)

container garden 003 225x300 Container Garden Ideas: Hanging Basket For Full Sun (#003)Here is a bright idea for a full sun area that will assist you in cheerfully welcoming visitors to your home. This basket idea is simple, and only requires two varieties of plants!

Both considered annuals in areas with frost, African Daisies (Osteospermum), and Lantana (any variety) blend beautifully in this hanging basket, attracting butterflies, and comments galore.  I prefer this basket with only two main colors present, but both the African Daisy, and the Lantana come in several colors, which can be mixed, and matched for whatever look you want to achieve.  The African Daisy will bloom for approximately three months, and can be pruned to encourage re-blooming.  Lantana’s charm is in its tiny multi-colored blooms, which often darken with age, creating the effect of more colors present in one flower head.

Both of these plant will need to be watered on a daily basis until two weeks past the planting date, to help them establish well in the container. After that time, a regular watering schedule a few times per week will prevent the root systems from drying up.

Tip: Drier, hotter weather in the summer requires daily watering for hanging baskets, who’s root systems are not fully protected from the sun, or evaporation.  The drainage holes on a container, or the woven natural fiber lining of a cage basket, all contribute to a hanging baskets water loss, as they assist in the dehydration process.  Remember, a dry and stressed plant will first reduce the amount of blooms it produces, and a lack of watering can directly translate into a basket producing nothing but green leaves.

Your thoughts: Have you ever made a hanging basket for the summer?  What combinations of flowers did you use?  I’m always looking for new ideas!

Container Garden Ideas: Scents from the Spa (#002)

Recently I was asked to put together a few container gardens for an educational program focusing on the five senses, and jumped at the chance to experiment! I hadn’t done much mixing of flowers and herbs in the same pot before, so I wasn’t really sure what combination I would try. While I was pretty sure I would use Mint, Lavender and Lambs Ears, for their smell, taste, and touch-ability, the other selections were all up in the air. My goal was to create a “touchable” pot that would knock the socks off anyone who would open a window nearby and catch a whiff!

img 0179 225x300 Container Garden Ideas: Scents from the Spa (#002)

I headed through the nursery isles that featured perennials, and herbs, and bought Pincushion FlowerFoxgloveGoldilocksBee Balm,LavenderLambs EarsMint and a tiny sprig of Rosemary (which I kept shuffling around in the open flatbed cart until I felt like I had a potential arrangement in mind). I bought 4 inch pots of everything but the herbs, which I purchased as small starter sprigs so that I could fit a lot in one pot. I purchased one Pincushion Flower, Lavender plant and Rosemary sprig, and two of everything else. The Goldilocks really had no scent that I could discover, but their texture and color were great, and as draping plants they soften the edges of the pot with their foliage.

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