Monday, November 7, 2016

Best of Everything

I've added some Facebook pictures from some of
my favorite local nurseries.  This is from Nature's Creations,
Galva IL
In the spring, a gardener's fancy turns to wanting the most beautiful pre-made potted flowers in the local nursery.  You KNOW you do.  Walk an isle in the nursery and hanging at eye level are the most beautiful perfect flower arrangements just waiting to decorate your home.  Or walk by that bench with the latest unusual pots filled with new plant wonders that you KNOW you neeeeeeeed.  
From Sunnyfield Nursery, Kewanee IL
Inexperienced and old timers both feel the draw of getting instant and perfect beauty.  And most of the flowers are at their peak of beauty and perfection in springtime.  Now the question:  Should you buy a filled pot if it looks the best it's ever going to look?  Clue:  There's not right or wrong answers.
From Distinctive Gardens, Dixon IL
The answer depends on what you wish to achieve and when.  But the truth is you can't have it all.  Oh how many times have we heard that little truth and cringed.  

If you buy a hanging planter at it's peak of bloom and beauty in May, it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to have it still at this peak come August.  The exception is slow growing annuals such as some succulents and shade plants.  
From Dew Fresh Market, Kewanee IL
Some nurseries will pack their pre-made potted flowers/foliage with so many flowers they will be totally root bound by middle summer.  Think about pictures you see on your favorite social media sites of planters and the ones used in decorator books.  They have tall, full, lush plants of many varieties and looking perfect.  If you can't resist these, you need to keep gently repotting into larger containers as the months progress.  Don't break up the mass, simply add more potting soil to the bottom and sides.  Or, immediately take it out of the nursery container and repot into something much larger.

This beauty on my porch stayed lush and 
lovely all summer.  Sorry about the whipped cream 
container aka tacky cat watering bowl.
Some nurseries focus on the design more than compatibility.  We've all had one of those that something immediately dies and something bullies out the others - no matter what we do.  That said,  many of our local nurseries do such a great job of putting planted pots together it will look wonderful for months.   

I've heard gardeners blame the nursery for a pot that's gone over the  hill towards the later part of summer.  Most of the time, it's not their fault as much as it's "the way it is"with annual plants in pots.  
Hornbaker, Princton IL
Even if you pinch/prune back religiously, water the proper amount and fertilize appropriately some plants feel the end of the season coming and will simply not make it through the season.  In that case, take out the still blooming plants and move them to little places that need color in your garden beds.  Compost the ones that aren't doing well.  If you still want color in the fall, get new plants such as mums, pansies and some lovely foliage plants.  I suggest preparing the pots as you do in the spring by washing, disinfecting and using new potting soil.  No sense dooming a new plant right from the start.
Red Barn Nursery, Sheffield IL
If you want to take the middle road, buy spring pots that haven't quite started to bloom fully.  

The fact is no matter if you want to have blooms early or late, there will be a time when you probably won't have it perfect every day, all the time, the entire summer.  One fact for certain, our area nurseries have a wonderful selection of potted plants or plants to make your own at home.  

(Note:  All our area nurseries have wonderful potted examples in every style and price range.  When purchasing, be sure to ask just exactly how to care for them.  They know and want you to have the best season with your purchase.)  

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