the latest trends in North American gardening is
Container Gardening. The
trend is to use tropical and sub-tropical plants in the garden to create
interest. Often a featured plant is sunk into the soil to act as a strong
plant may be used to cover an unsightly feature or draw the eye to a
feature such as a door, water feature, or path. They can also be used to
soften a large bare wall.
A word of
caution the placing of these strong focal points closer to the sitting or
viewing area will visually foreshorten the garden.
container should be decorative and of a compatible design with the rest of
the area. For example: Do not put modern plastic containers in an oriental
themed garden. A note even broke containers can be useful. The
container should be durable and winter weather proof unless you plan on
bringing them into a frost-free area. Some containers can be stored
outside emptied of soil mix
and turned upside down to prevent the moisture
from accumulating, freezing and cracking the container. The Containers
should have adequate drainage to prevent water logging by over watering or
heavy rainfalls. The drain
holes should be free from blockage. This is best achieved by using
ceramic, terracotta clay feet, or simply some flat stones or small pieces
of wood. Often containers placed on any surface will trap moisture,
causing problems with the
break down of that surface and provide a perfect
home for insect pests such as Chinch Bugs and Slugs. There is also another
consideration a container should be heavy and large enough to stop the plant from
toppling in the wind as the plant becomes top heavy. This may also be
achieved by using soil mixes containing soil. The colour of the
container is also a consideration because a dark coloured container will
absorb more heat and speed up the plants development and water demand. If
either conditions fall outside of the plants ability to cope then the
plant will suffer.
Growing medium for most plant material should be a soil less mixture.
These mixtures are lightweight because they usually contain perlite,
vermiculite and peat moss. These mixtures have a tendency to dry out to
quickly. To prevent this, the manufactures add moisture retention polymers
to the mixture. You should
know weather or not these polymers have been added because it will affect
the amount and frequency of your watering. Efflorescence may develop on
the outside or the containers like this terracotta patio bell pot. While I
have heard of many different concoctions to take it off, some of them quite
caustic, I use a fine sandpaper carefully.
most common delivery system for the container garden is still the hose and
water wand. One improvement to this old delivery system is the Irrigator
nozzle. This nozzle applies the water out of its sides preventing the
water from washing the soil across the container and out the other side.
This is particularly useful when watering hanging baskets.
For the serious container gardener then the best water delivery system is a drip irrigation
system. This system is based on the same systems used by professional container growers. This water delivery system
a small amount of water continually to each container.
You do not have to
run the system continually but turn it off when adequate
are achieved, or cool weather and rain reduce the
plants moisture demand.
fertilizers are the most popular fertilizers used in
container growing with 20-20-20 or 15-30-15 being the most common types used. These are fine
for the organized gardener or the gardener with lots of time. The fastest
growing fertilizer for the busy homeowner are the once a season
fertilizers. This are mixed in the soil less mixture at planting time or
carefully worked into the surface after planting.