Sunday, May 11, 2008

Purse Planters

You can make a planter out of nearly anything that can hold soil, and have drain holes installed. Learn more about how to make these purse pots.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Cool new things ?

Click on link for article.Urban Oasis Gardening: Cool new things

Herb Hanging baskets

I was struggling to come up with plant material to demonstrate making a moss basket. It was too early in the season for the typical basket stuffers, and I was avoiding another pansy basket. I considered succulents, but rejected that as I had my succulent chair, and various succulent planters with me.

I wandered through my nursery looking for anything that might show color or interest this early in the season. In a moment closer to desperation than inspiration I decided a herb basket would be perfect. They were available, and I figured good choices in that they were drought tolerant, and should thrive nicely in the basket environ.

The baskets turned out well, but what was remarkable was the interest they generated. Everyone thought it was such a good idea, it seems the renewed interest in growing food made these babies really popular. Each basket has 15 herb plants, to provide 7 different herbs in one container, perfect for condo dwellers, or anyone who likes to cook and doesn't have in ground space for a herb garden.

Friday, March 28, 2008

container basics

Container gardening

Container gardening continues to grow in popularity. It suits today’s busy lifestyle, and often-limited garden space. It can bring life and color to balconies, and decks, and areas where conditions preclude planting, such as over tree roots, or on rock.
Containers are flexible, and easier to maintain than beds. They can be moved, changed, rotated seasonally, even taken with you if you move. You can control the environment, over winter tropical and exotics, accommodate drought or moisture lovers, restrain invasive thugs, and even create a mini water garden.
An explosion of reasonably priced pottery available from all around the globe makes for exciting possibilities. There are as many containers as the imagination can contrive. I love haunting thrift stores for unique object’s d art I can press into service. Anything that can be made to hold medium can be planted; I have adapted an old chair with chicken wire, and moss. The most important thing is that your find has drainage. Aim for drainage holes with a half-inch diameter to be safe.
Use a theme or common element when grouping pots. They need not be identical, color, style, shape, material, or the plants in them can unify the group. Outdoors big is usually better for aesthetics in scale, and ease of care; you may want to opt for one big pot over several small ones.
Avoid narrow openings, and wood treated with toxic preservatives. Cheap plastic may deteriorate rapidly. Terra cotta breathes, but dries out quickly and is susceptible to frost damage. Wood is great for custom designing to fit a specific spot, choose redwood or cedar for longer life. Light colors don’t absorb as much heat as their dark counterparts, so are best for in hot spots.
When filling your containers choose an appropriate potting mix, there are many ready made or find your own recipe. Hanging baskets do better with moisture retaining additives, where succulents need sharp drainage. Garden soil is too heavy, impairing drainage, air circulation, and may introduce soil borne diseases, weeds, and pests. Soggy pots can freeze solid in the winter, killing plants or breaking.
If your worried about soil washing through the drain holes before plants establish place a leaf, moss, scrap of newspaper, or ground cloth over them. Leave a couple inches at the top of the pot when you fill, for efficient watering, and future top dressing. If your container is too big, or too heavy and has extra space you can displace soil and weight with Styrofoam packing, perlite, or plastic containers with their lids on. Small plants swimming in a too big pot may suffer root rot.
There is an abundance of plant choices for containers. Choose what appeals to you there is no wrong aesthetics here. A few guidelines will help. Choose plants that thrive in containers, dwarf shrubs are good bets, ask at your local nursery for suggestions. There are perennials and annuals to suit any situation, be prepared to browse your choices are staggering. Again ask questions, do you have sun, shade, drought, wind, salt or wet? Perennials are generally less intense care, can provide permanent structure, and winter interest, but there is nothing like annuals for non-stop color. Planting annuals spring and fall will provide a year round show here in Victoria.
There are many planting recipe’s available in books and online if you prefer to know in advance what your planter will be. I find half the fun is creating combo’s on the fly, often you will need to work with what is available, so be open, be prepared to spend time, enjoy the process. If your going for a riot of color use some repetition of plants, add white, or foliage so the eye has some place to rest. That way it can isolate and enjoy the individuals in the show.
Texture is important consider pairing fine and broad leaves, fuzzy with shiny for contrast. Consider height, choose something for vertical interest, some filler, then trailing for the edges if you want a full look; or maybe one striking formal specimen is your style. Don’t forget a bit of whimsy; look for a fun accessory, stake or obelisk to add a unique touch.
I have noticed an increase in the interest of growing vegetables. All the above information holds true, but it should be noted most planter mixes are slightly acidic. Some veggies will appreciate the addition of lime.
Take care to choose a container large enough not to stress the plants, lettuces in particular will bolt. Three gallons is minimum size, going up to about twenty for some of the big guys. If growing tomatoes or other heavy vines use a big pot, the heavier the better, and ensure you install adequate support while they are still small. They are thirsty, and their large leaf masses transpire a lot of moisture, if in a small pot it will be hard to keep hydrated, and dry top heavy pots fall over under their own weight, never mind any wind.
Have fun with your pots, follow a few simple guidelines, break some rules, choose what makes you feel good.

Monday, March 17, 2008

My chair was a thrift store find planted with sedums, hens and chicks, and thyme.
This gift basket planted with a juniper would make a cute housewarming present.

My old shoes, worn out around the garden centre, and now recycled.

Here is a container made with a thrift store find wire basket. I picked up several of these for about fifty cents each.

They make for a quick unique planter; for something really different you can creatively adapt all sorts of objects.