Saturday, April 29, 2017

Container Gardens Are Flexible and Easy

Torenia and pentas love the sun.
Container gardens offer a lot of flexibility making it easy to grow herbs, flowers, even vegetables, in a small space. When I lived in a condo in D.C. I grew herbs and flowers on my 5th-floor window sill. Now that I live in a house with a yard, containers will add a lot of variety to my landscape this summer. They can also help use your space as it presents itself-clay soil, wet spots, harsh sun, dense shade, or maybe you rent and you can't dig up the yard.

Work With What You Have
I have what I call micro-climates in my yard and containers allow me to grow successfully in those spaces. Take the back steps as an example. It is about 10 feet wide and has extreme sun and total shade in the same small space. When I plan for those pots each spring, I have to remember they will not grow the same things well. Begonias and parsley grow beautifully in the shady section but would be burnt to a crisp just a few feet away in the sunny section. Pentas and torenia (wishbone plant) love the sun and flower all summer long in the sunny section, but would not flower so nicely in the shade all day.
Clockwise starting with red begonia, creeping jenny, coleus, parsley, mint all do well in shade.

Get Creative
In my quest to expand my knowledge and put it to work, I turn to Pinterest for container gardening #pinsperation. While many of the posts are professionally staged and sometimes include flowers that would never be in bloom at the same time, I like the variety of containers that are featured. I am now scouring my local thrift stores and neighbor's curbs on trash day for quirky containers for the summer. Like an old chair! Whodathunk?
Reclaim Your Space
Containers can also put your space to work. You can stick a container in a neglected corner or decorate some steps or along a fence. Containers also give you more control over the soil, too.

When you really think about it, a raised bed is just a large container. I was not up for breaking up the yard and amending the clay soil in my yard so I installed a 4 foot x 8 foot raised bed vegetable garden 5 years ago.

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