Free Container Designs From Better Homes and Gardens

ss 100422941 Free Container Designs From Better Homes and Gardens

You don’t have to have a green thumb or endless container garden know-how to create an impressive pot of blooms, all you have to know is the right place to look for inspiration! Better Homes and Gardens website is a great place to start looking for ideas when you hit a mental roadblock.  They have a rotating slide show of 30 recipes for beautiful container gardens ready for your perusal, with names and labels on each plant to help you.  The recipes feature plants that are tried and true, and that work well together in a container garden. The pictures can be printed out and taken with you to the garden center for easy matching, or a rough idea of what textures and heights to mix together.

Next time you need an idea or two check out their site for a little inspiration, I know I do!

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 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.

Natural Cat Repellent: A Natural Way to Keep Away Stray Cats

cat under cover 300x199 Natural Cat Repellent: A Natural Way to Keep Away Stray CatsThere is always a way to maximize the uses you get out of your garden, and the plants you grow there, and sometimes what you discover as a new use for an old plant may surprise you!

This is one great “green idea” that I stumbled on myself quite accidentally!  When moving fresh cut Rosemary from my yard into my kitchen to hang and dry, my cat dashed in to check out the leafy greens in my hand, no doubt to see how edible they were.  His fascination led him to continually dart his head close to the plant, only to jump back, and blink in confusion.  He swatted at the plant a few times, and then repeated the same pattern, but as the oils from the plant attached to the paws of his front feet he began to back away from me, and then back away from the smells of the Rosemary plant (now attached to his front paws) that he perceived to be following him.  Over the next few minutes he backed himself around my kitchen several times trying to sneak away from the offending smell, and I took pity on him after he made a few mad dashes to and from the living room, trying to outrun his front paws.  Once my perverse enjoyment of this entertainment passed, I realized I had struck gold in the all-natural cat control department.

How To Make It Work For You:

  • Plant Rosemary in your garden to deter stray cats from leaving deposits in your yard, or hunting your songbirds.
  • Lay fresh trimmings of Rosemary on carpet areas you want a house-cat to avoid.  The oils in the plant are long lasting, and can work at deterring a cat from a designated area for up to two weeks, giving you time to re-train the cat’s behavior.
  • To keep cats away from computer wires, heirloom furniture, or china displays, lay trimmings of Rosemary in the areas around what you are protecting, or place the trimmings in the area the cat uses to access the object.
  • For problem areas, or for repeat offenders, a cotton ball lightly soaked (so as not to leave oil stains) in Rosemary Essential Oil, and placed near the object of your house-cat’s attention can deter the visiting behavior.  Also a dab of the oil of hard surfaces, such as a chair leg, or piece of furniture, will also deter your cat sufficiently.

Try this method out as an alternative to pet store remedies, and see if you can’t solve your cat problem with this great “green” alternative!

Your Thoughts: Have you tried Rosemary (or any other herb) to repell, or deter unwanted feline behavior?  How has it worked for you?  I’d love to hear from you!

(Photo credit: OiMax)

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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