February 1, 2010

Container Garden Recipes

It doesn't take a gardener to appreciate the beauty of containers. The perfect spot of color doesn't go unnoticed.

Shopping malls and streets often boast containers year-round. Many are planted with evergreens that get added punches of color from annuals and perennials with the changing seasons. You can find container garden inspiration everywhere.

Creating your own beautiful container garden is easy and you don't have to be a gardener to follow the instructions and have success.

There is no shortage of container garden "recipes" from magazines, growers and retailers. Many of these recipes are easy to find online. If you don't want to plant a container yourself, then you can purchase pre-planted container gardens at many nurseries. There are also many gardeners, garden centers and florists who specialize in creating custom containers.

Resources for recipes and container gardening tips:

Better Homes and Gardens
Fine Gardening
P. Allen Smith Garden Home
Proven Winners
Southern Living
Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.

If you want the plants from published container garden recipes, you'd best shop early!

With everyone reading the same resources, the featured plants are the first to sell out. I bought most of my container annuals in March last year! In fact, the greenhouse owner told me that he'd be sold out of thousands of plants by the first week in April. Be prepared to have substitutions in mind, and remember that every container doesn't have to be elaborate. I keep my early purchases in a sheltered holding area until the freezes end in mid-April.

That said, you don't have to plant all of your containers in the spring. In late summer, when the garden is fading, the nurseries will be stocking fall-blooming plants so you can freshen up your porches and patios.

For all-season containers, try a small shrub, tree or rose that is interesting throughout the year. I have arborvitae in huge pots by my swimming pool; a potted miniature rose by my waterfall; and, a container herb garden in my front cottage garden. I let the annual grasses in my containers remain through the winter - though they lose their color and fade to tan, the structure provides interest in ice and snow.

A beautiful container can be the focal point instead of the flowers, too. I use a simple combination of purple petunias and basil on my outdoor dining table because I love the clay pot.

The basil and petunias are pinched back to keep the arrangement tidy and low so that we can have conversations across the table. The basil smells great and is edible, too. Basil, and other herbs make great companions to flowers.

Enjoy the fun and reward of creating your own container garden recipe!

My best tip for creating a container garden recipe of your own is to go to a nursery with a color scheme in mind. Pick your tall plant first to be your focal point - based on color, sun/shade and your container. Then, walk around with that plant until you see mounding plants, with the same growing conditions, that complement your focal point plant. Select one or two mounding plants, then try to find a plant that will spill over the edges. Sometimes, I just tilt a mounding plant in the pot so that it spills over the edge.

Be warned, container gardening is addictive - once you start, you'll have containers everywhere!

Click on the images for these container recipes


I'd love to see the container garden photos and recipes from other bloggers - so, please link in the comments.

Words and photos by Freda Cameron, Defining Your Home, Garden and Travel. All company or product or patented names mentioned are registered trademarks/copyrights/patents owned by those respective companies or persons.

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Defining Your Home, Garden & Travel

Home, garden and travel tips by Freda Cameron

Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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