Saturday, June 20, 2015

Gardening in Containers

Lack of space in the garden should not stop your passion for purchase.  Your patio, deck or porch are perfect homes for beautiful container gardens.  Pots can be purchased in many sizes, shapes and materials and can be wonderful places for growing anything from vegetables to conifers or perennials.  Best of all you can grow plants that aren't hardy in your zone, because you can move pots to a sheltered location during cold weather

Below are just a few container Garden Design Ideas that have caught my eye.

Longwood Gardens Kennet Square PA

Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square PA

Longwood Gardens Kennett Square PA

In the Conservatory at Longwood Gardens


Denver Botanical Gardens

Container success starts with good soil.

Soil (Soilless mix) I use in every container 
Good container soil is critical to successful root growth in containers. I  always use a good quality soilless mix in my containers. Don't use a cheap brand or regular garden soil because they will compress and make root growth difficult over time.  
I typically make my own mix. It works extremely well and the same soil can be used for a few years in the same pot.  Most important this mix allows for the best drainage and root growth.   Al’s Gritty Mix  is in my opinion the best soilless mix you can use.  Information on how to make it and why it works so well can be found on the from the Garden Web Forum (Houze).  You will need to assemble this fantastic mix.  (and yes it is worth the extra time and effort) .
Al's Gritty Mix - Equal parts by volume: Pine or fir bark in 1/8 - 3/8" size (no fines), Turface MVP, Crushed granite (Gran-I-Grit, in grower size) or #2 cherrystone  and gypsum.

My favorite Hypertufa container. Planted with a mini Hynoki Cypress, sempervirums  and Elfin Thyme.


Something new - Succulents in Concrete and Hypertufa containers  hanging in my sunroom.


Container of dwarf conifers and a sedum on my deck.


Dwarf Hynoki , Weigela Fine Wine and Coleus on my deck

 One last container tip -

"Its a myth that a layer of gravel or foam peanuts (inside the bottom of an individual pot) beneath the soil improves container drainage. Instead of extra water draining immediately into the gravel, the water "perches" or gathers in the soil just above the gravel. The water gathers until no air space is left. Once all the available soil air space fills up, then excess water drains into the gravel below. So gravel in the bottom does little to keep soil above is being saturated by overwatering."   

the University Of Illinois Extension

One of my Hypertufa container which featured in garden article by George Weigel, for the Patriot News, Harrisburg.

Bonsai at Longwood Gardens


Unique planting on a slate at the Kral Garden in Rochester NY

Container full of succulents

Hosta at Carolyn's Shade Garden  


Swathmore College, Swathmore PA


David Culp's Garden Brandywine


Enjoy your patio, deck or porch this summer by planting a few containers, and don't let lack of space dampen you  passion for purchase.