Fine Gardening Project Guides
Trustworthy advice on all aspects of gardening in pots
BasicsWhether you're just getting started in container gardening or you want to up your container gardening game, you need to take a look at two things: your pot and your soil. This may seem like a silly thing to say, but unless those two things are of the highest quality, your efforts at achieving a gorgeous container planting will be all for naught. For instance, if you live in a cooler climate and don't want to drag in a large pot every winter, you need to pay special attention to selecting a container made of a frost-proof material. On the flip side, if you live someplace where the temperatures in summer soar, you need to stay away from certain container materials so your plants don't fry. And then there is soil. Don't assume that every bag of dark, dank potting soil at the store is good for your plants. Depending on whether you're using annuals, perennials, or even succulents in your designs, you're best served by matching the proper soil mix to those specific plants. Luckily, we've got simple recipes to enable you to make your own mixes for a fraction of the cost of buying bagged soils. Finally, in this chapter you'll find a series of care tips directly from container gardening experts. Their advice will help save you time and money as the season progresses.
TechniqueContainer gardening is an art and a science. Sure, you need to know what plants will look good together, but you also need to know how to install those plants and care for them over time. It may seem simple: Pick a pot, fill it with soil, then add plants. But there is a lot more nuance to it. This chapter instructs you how to go about planting a container, how to water it properly so it lives beyond a few weeks, and how to revitalize it if things don't go according to plan (and they seldom do in gardening). You'll also find information about how to feed your container planting so it blooms like crazy from spring through fall. Finally, you'll read about how you can use containers to enhance your garden or patio or to create more privacy. Neighbors are great, but wouldn't you rather stare at a gorgeous pot filled with tropicals?
PlantsAfter you've selected your pot and learned how you'll fill it, the last step is the most fun: selecting the plants. Nearly any plant can go into a pot, including trees, shrubs, perennials, and—most commonly—annuals. There is definitely an art to choosing those plants, however. Of course, you'll want to consider the location in which your pot will live—for instance, full sun or partial shade. But just as important may be what function your pot will serve. Is it going to be on your front stoop, welcoming visitors to your home? If so, you may want to ensure that the plants you pick won't spill out too aggressively into the walkway. After all, no one wants to wrestle a container garden just to ring a doorbell. The following chapter is filled with excellent container-plant options from experts in the field. So whether you want a barrel filled with edibles on your balcony or an over-the-top pot chock-full of bodacious tropicals, read on to find out which plants will make your container garden dreams come true.
Designing your pot is undoubtedly the best part of container gardening. You can base your design on your favorite color scheme or an interesting textural composition. You may also select your plants and determine how they'll be arranged in the pot based on your specific conditions (i.e. sun or shade). There's also the consideration of where these containers will be placed. If you are flanking your front entryway with some lovely containers you want to be sure the plants don't spill out into the doorway and impede the access of visitors. In this chapter we'll cover nearly every situation you may find yourself facing when it comes to designing your container. There are dozens of recipes for plant combinations that work and inspiring galleries of designs that will take your breath away. Read on if you want to learn how to create the container of your dreams.