Monday, May 6, 2013

design: container gardening

We had such a great response to my guest bloggers, that I decided to ask them back! All the Anderson girls have a strong creative gene, and Laura is our master gardener. I asked her if she could talk a little bit about container gardens, for those of us who are either short on space or intimidated by doing a whole yard (like me)!

Hi Casa Pino readers, recently I had a good excuse to go to one of my favorite places – the garden store!

Isn’t it just lovely? I could do a whole lot of damage in this store.  Some girls have no control when it comes to shoes or purses, but for me its flowers! It appears that a few of my clay pots got in the middle of my eldest son’s target practice...

And like most of my nice things…total destruction. In all we lost 5 clay pots that day. So, I decided to take one of my little helpers to the garden store with me.

We selected some lovely annuals and picked up some new clay pots.  I garden with a few things in mind:
1) Attracting pollinators.  Bumble Bees are the reason we have most fruits and vegetables.  If you plant it they will come.  Some plants that grow well for me in zone 7 are Lantana, Asters, Marigolds, Mexican Heather and Cosmos.

2) Color.  I love lots of color to contrast my boring cement patio.  Some of my picks this year are Geraniums, Petunias and Persian shield.

3) Amount of sunlight.  My patio faces the Southwest.  So it gets scorched.  I always pick sun-loving, drought-resistant plants.

4) Cooking.  I have a few staple herbs that I like to keep handy.  I have Rosemary, Thyme, Basil, Parsley and Cilantro. When it’s time to season my dishes, I just send one of the kids out to clip some from the plants on the patio – yes, my 7 yr old and 3 yr old know which is which!
When you plant a container garden you want to select plants based on their mature size.  In some containers I have a tall plant mixed in with a filler and then a trailing plant.  My favorite trailing plant is Creeping Jenny.

The large container in the back has Rosemary and Thyme.  Creeping Jenny is the chartreuse colored leafy plant in the container in the front. I bought a variety of clay pots sizes and heights.  I stick with plane ole Italian clay pots, nothing fancy.  I let the flowers get all the attention.  A good trick when before filling your container is to place a coffee filter in the bottom.  This allows water to drain but keeps dirt from coming out of the hole in bottom.  Fill the pot half way (make sure you use soil that is formulated for containers - I use the Miracle Grow container blend).  I loosen the roots a little then arrange the plants in the pot.  I usually play with different combinations and move the pots all around till it looks balanced.  Then I fill in with dirt around the plants making sure the original plant dirt pack is covered and there is an inch lip to the top of the pot.

Make sure you water everyday for at least a week, then as needed.  It’s a fast and inexpensive way to get your gardening fix while brightening up your patio.  Get your hands dirty and have fun!

Thanks Laura! Don't y'all think her container garden is lovely? I do! I'm inspired to go plant!  I cleaned out the beds this weekend... so now, it's off to the garden center for me. A great one in the Northern Virginia area is Merrifield. They are really helpful and patient with the "special" gardeners!

xo Lea Hart

ps- doesn't their yellow lab, Belle, look cute out in the yard!