Container Garden Tips

I woke up this morning with my eyes swollen shut. Don’t worry; they eventually opened (with a little coaxing). Once they did, they were all goopy and red. With bags that would make Louis Vuitton jealous. It feels like tiny little granules of synthetic sand have been lodged all up in my retinas.

Clearly, somebody or something has beaten the mess out of me. My eyes sting like hell and it doesn’t look like they’re gonna get better anytime soon.

Last week, my face was covered in spots. Tiny little red bumps danced around my nose, under my eyes and on my cheeks. These dots had tiny little feet, with tiny little toes that itched like hemorrhoids on a very, very, bad day. All of this makes my face extremely dry and scaly. Where smooth skin used to be, now I have wrinkles. Where moisture was once apparent, there is dryness to rival the Mohave Desert.

I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. Though, I’m not opposed to the sympathy vote. I just feel that it’s necessary to tell you these things to illustrate the depths to which I love spring.

Yesterday, I went on an Easter Egg Hunt with my family in a field of pollinating grass.

I didn’t care. *scratches eyes*

Yesterday, I scoured through Home Improvement Stores and Plant Nursery’s looking for the most perfect plants for my garden.

I didn’t care. *eyes are now tearing from contact*

Today, I will plant petunias, run with begonias, and smell daisies.

I don’t care. *nose is getting itchy*

Today, I will take my children outside to ride their bikes, play at the park, and cover the sidewalk in chalk. *achoo, achoo, achoo*

And tomorrow, I will lay the groundwork for a vegetable garden that will contend with the greatest gardens in history!

I don’t care. *nose is running profusely*

So, bring on your ragweed, your grass, and your silly little oak pollen, I DON’T CARE! *throat is getting scratchy*

I LOVE SPRING!!! And nothing *throat is starting to close* I mean nothing *cough, cough* is going to keep me from enjoying it .*faints*

“It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from. The ability to triumph begins with you. Always. ” Oprah Winfrey

Container Gardening 101:

When I get spring fever, all I want to do is garden in containers. I need a quick fix. I need something that will get me through the period of time that I must wait until my vegetables grow big enough to brag about. Depending on your climate, arrangements in containers can last from spring until fall, so it’s worth the added preparation to ensure a happy environment. Here is a list of things that I always consider when gardening in containers.

1. COLOR – First and foremost, I am trying to invoke a feeling of well being with my containers, so the first thing I consider is color. Generally, I pick purples and blues for my patio and front porch, because when I see them it makes me feel calm and relaxed. I choose white for places that I want to attract attention, but in a subtle way. For windows, I pick the most vibrant of colors on the color wheel, like reds, hot pinks, and corrals. When I’m inside the house, and I look out my kitchen window, and I see lovely flowers in shades of pinks and reds, they whisper my name, calling me to come out and play.

2. PLACEMENT -Generally speaking, I want to get the biggest bang for my buck. So, I consider where my family will get the most enjoyment from our plants. One day, I’d love to have a garden full of containers along with a lush landscape, but I know that takes time. So, until then, I place plants in the areas of our landscape that we visit most often. Currently, we have two pots on the front porch, four hanging baskets outside the kitchen windows, and one large pot on the back patio.

3. PLANT GROWING HABIT – I have learned this step the hard way, and not without real grief. You can not grow a plant meant for the shade in the sun, and vice versa. You may absolutely love impatiens, with their bountiful color, and never ending flowers, but they will not thrive in the sun, in fact if they don’t die, they’ll look so bad you’ll wish they had! Even if the tag says part shade, don’t fool yourself into thinking you can make it work. You’ll be happier if you choose plants that are well suited for your climate. For instance, this year, I went crazy with petunias because . .. . . .

A) I love them
B.) They do really well in the Texas heat
C.) They can survive off of less water than many plants that I’ve found

D.) They are generally very inexpensive. The ones pictured in this post where purchased from Lowes for $5 for a 10″ pot.
When shopping for plants, it is a good idea to call the nursery ahead of time and find out which days they get their shipments in. That way, you’re sure to get the pick of the lot!
4. GROUPINGS – You don’t have to be like me and stick to single groupings of plants in containers. It’s really beautiful to combine differnt colors, textures, foliage, and flowers. That way, even when the flowers fade, the container will still be beautiful.

5. SOIL – This step is pretty key. The soil that you use to prepare your containers is what the plants will be growing in for the next 5 or so months, maybe longer. Not only will it nourish them, it will provide them with enough water to keep them hydrated during the hot summer months. There is a formula of the things you can use to make the perfect batch of potting soil, but honestly I don’t have the patience for it. I just use Miracle Grow Potting Soil. I have used other brands before, and they do moderately well. But, in my experience, my plants grow faster and healthier with Miracle Grow.

6. Fertilizing and Maintenance – Water regularly. When you put your fingers into the soil it should be damp. If it’s dry you need to water. I won’t even pretend to be a horticulturist. Everything I know, I know because of my own experience. . . .and ummmm. . . .because my mom told me. But, I will say that I have had hanging baskets and containers that have lasted from March until November with just regular watering and fertilizing. Generally, in the summer I water everyday, if it’s hot twice a day. I fertilize every 2-4 weeks with a watered in fertilizer, by. . . .you guessed it Miracle Gro. I promise; they are not paying me. . . . . .but should be!

Anyway, go stick some flowers in a pot today. What’s the worst that could happen? They die, and then you can buy some more! Have fun gardening.

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2 thoughts on “Container Garden Tips

  1. I am thinking Gardening also and will be starting some seedings with kids on my blog on Thursd. But in the meantime I was wondering what to do with all those Easter Baskets and I am thinking that the wicker ones may make some cute hanging flower baskets… what do you think?

  2. Such a fantastic idea!!!! I think that would be absolutely adorable. Its fun to add a whimsical element to gardening. I’m hoping to incorporate some whimsy into my garden as well. How exciting about the seedlings. I’ll pop on over to your blog on Thursday to see how it’s going. I’m hoping to get our veggie garden seeds started this week. Happy planting!

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