April 21, 2012

A Simple and Sweet Lavender Container

Flowers spilling out of a container add instant charm to a garden. However, I'm not the best model of how to tend containers that require trimming, watering and feeding. Over the last several years, I've opted toward a more permanent solution by using drought-tolerant, water-wise perennials. With this approach, it takes a bit longer for the container to mature. Patience, but little work is required once my containers are planted.

While shopping at Big Bloomers Flower Farm in Sanford, North Carolina, I fell for a sweet planter that was too French for me to pass up. I purchased the planter (it was on sale for 30% off). I chose a variegated lavender, lavendula x intermedia 'Silver Edge' that should mature at twenty-four inches high in bloom—what I consider the right scale for this planter.

The lavender is just a sprig right now, but I have visions of purple blooms at the end of the wands. Being a water-wise plant, I won't have to fuss over the container to keep it looking good. The fragrant foliage is a wonderful thing to brush with my fingers when I go onto the front porch. Although I am planting the lavender in a container, it is deer and rabbit resistant should you choose to plant it in a sunny, dry space in your garden.

Rated for zones 6-9 (according to the tag), 'Silver Edge' is well-suited for my zone 7b garden. I will let it over-winter on the covered porch to keep the container from freezing and thawing during winter rains.

Given that birds, especially Carolina Wrens love to nest in my planters, I added gravel to the top of the soil. Wanting a dash of color, I spray painted ordinary crushed gravel with purple—to coordinate with the future lavender blooms. Sure enough, I saw the Wren checking out the container this morning! She rejected the lavender pot as a nesting site when she realized the rock was a deterrent.

I put the gravel in a square plastic pot with holes in the bottom. I shook out the excess dirt, then sprayed the gravel. I kept shaking and spraying to cover throughly. I let the paint dry, but kept shaking the container several times while I was out gardening. This kept the gravel pieces from sticking together.

For now, I have to use my imagination for the future of this container. I'm pretty happy with the dream!

The pale green color and the design (a season on each side)
reminded me of France, so I had to plant a lavender in this pot!
I will rotate the pot as the seasons change for this perennial.
Gravel, spray painted purple for a splash of color,
deters the birds from nesting and squirrels from digging.

Words and photos by Freda Cameron, Defining Your Home, Garden and Travel. Deer and rabbit resistance varies based upon the animal population and availability of food. All company or product or patented names mentioned are registered trademarks, copyrights, or patents owned by those respective companies or persons.
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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