Container Gardening 101

container gardening

Successful container gardening is easy with these basics:

Remember that when you are planting a container you are dealing with a different environment than you are when you plant directly into your garden.

Fall Planting Container Gardening

You have to treat the container as a micro-environment, not as part of the entire garden. 

Here’s what you need to do:

 

 

  1. Choose the right container for the plants and visa versa
  2. Make sure the container has drainage holes in the bottom so that it doesn’t become water logged
  3. Add some drainage medium – small gravel or stones works well – in the bottom of the container
  4. Use potting mix as your planting medium, not just soil you dug up from your garden
  5. Soak the plants you’re going to plant in the container in a bucket of water – push the pot into the water until all the air bubbles escape.  Leave the plant to soak while you prepare the container.
  6. Remove the plants you’re going to put in the container from the pots in which they were sold – use your fingers or a small garden fork to tease the roots apart.  Many of these plant have become somewhat root bound and will grow better if you ‘unbind’ the roots so they can reach out for water.
  7. Add bone meal and fertilizer. Ask your garden center which will work best with your chosen plants.
  8. Wet the soil mix  in the container and then plant the plants in the grouping you want.  Ask your garden center for advice about container companion planting to ensure your plants are compatible and that they’ll produce a nice show of flowers and foliage throughout the season.
  9. Be sure to get the soil off the leaves and stems of the plants.  Cover the roots. with soil
  10. Water the planted container thoroughly but not so much that the water runs out the bottom as this will wash out all the nutrients.
  11. Water the container at least twice a day, especially as the weather warms.  Remember that container soil will warm up and dry out quicker than garden soil as it’s exposed on the sides to the sun and the heat.
  12. When blooms fade, if the plant requires deadheading do this to prolong the blooming seasonContainer Gardening

Helping Your Garden Recover From Winter

helping your garden recover from winter

This Winter was a doozy!  Here are a few tips to help you bring your garden back to its vibrant best.

 

Tip 1:

The good news is that lots of snow isn’t always bad.  Snow actually insulates the roots of plants.  When it doesn’t snow and just gets cold, roots are not protected and they run the risk of freezing which will often kill off the plants.

Tip 2:

helping your garden recover from winterCut off the dead leaves and twigs and aerate the soil around the roots.  Water as usual and wait a while.  Those ‘dead’ plants may well surprise you with new shoots as the weather warms.

 

 

Tip 3:

helping your garden recover from winterCheck for split or broken branches, road salt damage or other damage that could hinder the plant’s recovery.  Trim off these damaged areas. In the case of split or broken branches, make a clean cut above the break so that the branch can heal. Make sure to hire a professional arborist to remove larger branches as these can be very unstable and dangerous.  If in doubt, take a photo and ask your local garden center’s advice.

Tip 4:

helping your garden recover from winterA quick way to tell if a plant has actually died or if life still lingers is to check to see if the stems are completely dry and brown inside or if there appears to be a hint of green or white inside which indicates that there’s still sap flowing.

 

 

Tip 5;

If the stems or branches appear dead, sometimes the plant will shoot again from the roots, so be patient and wait a while before ripping it out of the ground.

Tip 6:

helping your garden recover from winterTake care when trimming evergreens with foliage damage.  Don’t prune the foliage any more than normal as you might end up with bare patches.  Instead wait a while as new foliage will likely make an appearance soon.

 

 

Tip 7:

As the weather warms, prune, water and fertilize.  Ask your local garden center about the correct fertilizer and amount of water for your specific plant.

Tip 8:

helping your garden recover from winterIf you notice that your shrubs such as hydrangeas are not blooming after this hard winter, don’t worry too much.  They will probably begin blooming again the next season.

 

 

Tip 9:

For shrubs and plants that were flattened under the snow, give them time to rejuvenate unless they are actually broken or the roots pulled out.

Tip 10:

Make a note to mulch around your plants, shrubs and trees before next winter sets in.  This is the best way to avoid damage to the roots.

Planning Ahead for Color in Winter and Spring

winter-garden

Many people think of November as ‘dead’ time in the garden, but that’s not necessarily true.

There are plenty of things still to do on the milder West Coast, including planning for Winter and Spring color and interest.  It’s the time of year when you’ll need to be planting those Spring bulbs and wildflower seeds so that you can enjoy  flowers early next year.

winter garden choresIt’s also the time to get the garden cleaned up so that you can see where it really needs color and interest during the cold Winter months.

As we mentioned in our Ornamental Grass series, there are plenty of beautiful colder weather grasses that add interest, movement and texture.  These are staples in the garden, and while, on their own, they might look quite unobtrusive, planted in the right spots, they more than hold their own with more exotic choices.  They’re great for ‘fillers’ and they create a lovely foil for other plants both summer and winter.

It’s the perfect time to plant a pretty Fall / Winter Container.

fall color pansiesSome of the plants you could consider right now are the cooler weather annuals such as Winter Pansies, Violas, and Ornamental Cabbage.  Don’t forget that there are varieties of Ornamental Grasses that do very well in containers as well.

winter-containerIf you’re feeling festive, you could also create a container with a more seasonal decorative flair.  Cut evergreen branches and team them with interesting bare twigs, berries, cones, dried flowers and anything else you fancy.  Arranging these in an urn or other outdoors container at your front door will liven up your entrance and create a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

If you would like a little help in creating a lovely, colorful look in your garden this season, please feel free to come into Tanglebank and chat with our professional horticulturalists.