Friday, April 10, 2015

Contain Your Excitement!

Beautiful planters soften stone walls
Potted gardens are remarkable! They can be mobile, colorful, contain edibles and/or ornamentals, and have a ton of flexibility for use in the garden and patio.
 Valley View Farms has some wonderful talent in our greenhouse and in our perennial area who have become masters at putting together delightful, colorful containers for people, using annuals, perennials, tropicals and even vegetables and herbs. Stop in to talk with Cindi, Nancy, Ruth, Jen, Pat, Joann, Katie, Marian and many others on our staff. Someone is available from 7am to 9pm everyday to answer questions and offer expertise on how to match up plants with pots.
Use container gardens to signal stairs and grade changes

Cindi has put together some designs in our Container Idea Book to get gardeners inspired. The book is located at the front of our greenhouse. I like that there is a photo and 'recipe' for each design featured. Cindi offers substitutes for the plants she uses as well.
We offer several classes a year on container gardening. We'll also teach individual groups,  including garden clubs, civic groups, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts about gardening in window boxes, patio pots and hanging baskets. We regret that we are unable to provide classes in May, but we can generally schedule them the rest of the year.
So, let's get started! Choose a container. Pots seem to made an infinite number materials, including terracotta, concrete, ceramic, metal, wood, plastic, fiberglass and coco-fiber. Colors range from natural browns and greens to neon yellows and pinks. Determine if the container will be left to overwinter outside.Add a good quality potting mix.
My favorites are made by Promix and Espoma, though we have many more from which to choose.
Now, we are ready for planting, Take a look around and at the idea book to determine if you like a particular style. Pick out plants of different heights, foliage interest and, in the case of perennials, bloom time. 
Pinterest is a great place to find ideas too!

We sometimes use the Thriller, (tall plant), Filler, (medium height) and Spiller (trailing plant) method to combine plants. The rest is just a matter of making sure that the plants chosen are compatible in terms of light and water requirements.
Once the pots have been planted, add some fertilizer and water. Check the soil surface daily to see if the soil has dried out. Water to soak the potting mix, allowing excess water to drain from the bottom. If a saucer is under the pot to catch excess water, be sure to dump it out to encourage good drainage.
Gardening in containers is a creative endeavor with limitless possibilities! Stop in and talk to our experts to get your container garden ready for spring and summer.

Plant for all seasons. Look at the texture and color for fall in this planter.

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