Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Pots and Planters

I wrote this last year (2014) and totally forgot to post.  Yes, that little blip was my own fault.  I'm going ahead and posting it this cold winter day because - I want to!  I hope you will simply think of it as a lead in to spring 2015 or just forgive me anyway.

King Tut ornamental grass & pink geraniums

With spring and summer coming late in 2014, many of us didn't get our outside pots, planters and window boxes planted much before the middle of June.

Also, most nurseries that planted their own ran behind time for the same reason so their starts were smaller than usual.  Those that received them from other places had to baby the root bound and leggy plants before the customer was ready to buy.   And now gardeners have planted their annuals and seeds and are enjoying a summer full of beauty.   EXCEPT for those of us who wander nurseries all summer and can't resist one more plant.

The successful petunias in the shade box.
I finally changed out the wilting pansies in the window box.  I love this window box full of flowers because it's visible from my kitchen window, everyone passes it when they're coming to the door and it's only a minor hassle watering.  Although it gets indirect light, it's basically in the shade of the overhang and I've always planted it with shade loving plants with some success.  This year I planted petunias thinking the indirect glare might be enough to keep them healthy.  Gardening is always an experiment.  

I have the best intentions on plant color schemes for all my pots until I get to the nursery.  Or rather nurseries.  I have a yellow house, trimmed in white with blue accents.  I have mostly blue pots with a couple of yellow.  Seems simple to fill them to coordinate.

This year I was going with pinks and chartreuse.  So many choices and so pretty.  I planted several and was totally happy.
Straying off the plan.

A week later I went to another nursery for the rest of my plants and became enamored with purple and yellow.  Yeah, it's an odd lot I have going this year.  They are lovely and they don't totally look wrong but certainly not a coordinated effort on my part.

Now back to the window box:  It has crazy thrived and looks better than any year before.  Who knew?

The deal on planters and pots come September:  Typically they begin to look a little sad this time of the year unless you're really diligent about pruning, watering and fertilizing.  Even with those steps, there comes a time when they are spent.  It's time to think about replacing some with fall plants.

I've tried removing the worst plants and inserting fall plants with the surviving summer plants with little success.  All it does is damage the existing roots and the new plants make the old plants look shabbier.  If you simply cannot throw away a summer annual before it dies, consider transplanting them into the ground - perhaps at the front of your garden.  Annuals tend to make a huge comeback if put in the ground in the fall.  (Tip:  they must be watered.)

Marigolds tucked under daylilies
Some fall selections:
Ornamental cabbage is really a beautiful plant and almost carefree.
Everyone has used decorative annual mums and my only tip is to buy plants not blooming.  Otherwise, you will have this lovely planter for a few weeks and then the rest of autumn your plants will be done and simply a green bush in your pot.   Fall annual mums are not winter hardy.  I've had some survive in protected places but lost them all last winter.  Marigolds are beautiful in the fall if you can still find them at the nurseries.

2015 addendum:  Enjoy this planning stage of gardening - I'm sure it will be another fun year.

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