Okay – so how is this for a test of doing versus not-doing.
I aim to … no I intend to … no I am going to put up a tip of the day for CONTAINER GARDENERS starting from today for at least 30 days.
Then I shall dare myself to do it for another 30 days. I wonder when I’ll run out of tips? Not sure. Maybe you will help me?
I hope you find these useful as maybe it will cover something new for you to consider or maybe they will just act as important reminders about some of the basics. Forget to forget and remember to remember!
Anyway here goes for September 12 to October 11 2020.
CONTAINER GARDENING TIP OF THE DAY
Nothing else will make your containers more beautiful for you than if you choose the flowers and plants that please you and match your lifestyle. Ask yourself why you are gardening in containers then act accordingly. How much time do you have to garden daily? Weekly? What’s your budget? How much light/sunshine does your space get and when? There are many other questions to ask but here’s the tip for today – match your container garden with your lifestyle.
When making plant choices, go with the ones you like, with the ones that suit your container space and their placement. Choose the ones that suit the light available – full sun, dappled shade or full shade. The garden centre will have all that are in season in your area or zone, consider their advice, but overall, choose plants you like.
Small pots and containers hold a smaller volume of soil (of course!), which means that they will dry out more quickly and need more attention. Bigger pots need to be watered less frequently so consider buying a bigger pot than you think you’ll need, especially when planting up a new container. There will be different advice and tips for when you are re-potting.
I’ve read about how the bottoms of containers are filled with lighter-than-soil materials (like polystyrene bits or plastic bottles and so on) to make it easier to move the planter (not so heavy) or save money (not so much soil), BUT I disagree. I can’t argue, it may work for many people, but my advice would be to choose your containers with care for the job at hand and then fill them with soil to give your container plants the best chance of growing and blooming and all else.
Butterflies and bees and ladybirds and their friends are welcome in any container garden so be sure to include plants that will attract these to your space. Salvia, Lavender, Bee Balm, Coreopsis, Butterfly Bush … oh so many more too … blues and purples and whites and ‘scenteds’ will all do this well.
Do you have roses in a container? If so, one of the pests you may have to deal with are aphids. Not good – but they are comparatively easy to control. Be persistent and use natural products whenever you can. Neem oil, or a mix of your own oils and water sprayed on will usually do the trick. You can also use a dishwashing liquid/water and cayenne pepper mix. Be careful to spray selectively as these measures will also kill beneficial insects. If you have the space, grow marigold nearby or lavender – aphids hate the scents these two plants give off.
It takes some thinking to understand that saying ‘less is more’ but it can be a good one to consider when you are planning your containers, especially if you only have room for a one or two pots. Don’t cram your pot full of every flower you like – go for a focal or specimen plant and complement it with others that match growing conditions. It’s your choice, don’t worry about what others will say. If ‘you do you’ your container garden will do the rest!
Watering your containers regularly and ‘correctly’ should probably head up your ‘To Do’ list. Surface watering is no good, you need to ensure the roots get the water, check the soil is moist and thoroughly watered. Capture the water in a drip tray (or saucer), allow to settle for a while then clear the drip tray – many if not most plants do not like sitting in water or having ‘wet feet’.
A change is as good as a holiday they say (and I agree). The change of season is also helpful but why not take stock of your containers and see what can be changed, swapped with a willing neighbour or just kissed goodbye? What about planning a theme pot garden … green and white? …yellow only (or monochrome any colour) … scented? There are so many wonderful plants and options that could step up to this plate that you will be spoilt for choice. Whatever, the end result will always be nice, because you did it.