Friday, 22 June 2012

Container Garden Advice: June Meeting

Hibiscus is a great "Thriller" plant for your containers

Our June meeting was full of great advice on how to transform your container gardens from "nice" to "wow!"  Guest speaker Margot Parker could barely get out the door after her presentation as NTHS members scrambled to ask questions and scribble notes.  Here are just a few of Margot's tips on creating a successful container planting.

Be aware of the pros and cons of the type of container you are using.  For example, plastic is inexpensive and great for holding moisture in but it is short lived.  Ceramic pots can be beautiful but they are heavy and not frost proof.  And iron planters have a classic look but in the heat of summer they can fry your plants.  Margot's favourite containers are made of fibreglass resin.  They are lightweight, frost proof, have a wide range of prices from inexpensive to expensive, and you can easily drill holes in them for drainage.

Use a soil-less mix for your containers.  A soil-less mix is lightweight unlike potting soil  or triple mix which are too heavy and don't drain well.  Add some pre-soaked water-retaining crystals and you will be able to cut down on watering.

How Many Plants to Use?
Go ahead and really stuff your container full of plants.  Margot recommends one plant per every two inches square.  There are a few reasons for this:  first, you will lose some plants due to weather conditions (10% is an acceptable loss for Margot.)  If a stuffed container loses a few plants, the other plants more suited to the growing conditions will fill in the gaps.  Stuffing your containers will also give you the variety you want to achieve an exciting, eye-catching planting.

Design Tips
Each container planting should aim to thrill, fill and spill.  Thriller plants are those that give you big height and big drama.  Filler plants do just what the name suggests:  fill the space between all the other plants.  The spillers include vines and trailing plants.

Most Important
Margot's most important bit of advice is to have fun creating and be proud of what you have made. To find out more about Margot and to see some of her stunning container garden designs visit her website Naturescapes and Gardens.

Still to come on the blog:  information about our annual Members' Garden Tour in July and an exciting update on the Rose Garden Restoration Project in Edwards' Gardens.  Please check back soon for the very latest.

Until next time, happy gardening.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

June Meeting: Conquering Your Container Garden Conundrums

June Meeting
Tuesday June 12th, 2012 at 7:30pm
Conquering Your Container Garden Conundrums
Speaker:  Margot Parker
Flower Show
Toronto Botanical Garden
777 Lawrence Ave. East (at Leslie)
Everyone Welcome!

Gardening in containers presents its own special challenges, culturally and artistically.  At our June meeting, award-winning designer Margot Parker will share some of her secrets for making and keeping your planters extraordinarily beautiful. Margot is a landscape contractor, private garden coach, and owner of Naturescapes and Gardens. She has a passion for pots and containers and has won multiple awards from the City of Toronto.

Transform your containers from "nice" to "WOW"

June is also the time for one of our biggest flower shows of the year.  Be sure to check your gardens for your best blooms and then show them off at the show.  The show categories are listed below and also available in your 2012 Show Guide.  

Allium 1 stem 
Any other  summer flowering bulb, corm, tuber or rhizome not listed above, 1 stem
Aquilegia (columbine)  1 stem 
Clematis 1 stem or spray 
Dianthus 3 stems 
Herbs perennial - named - 3 different types – 1 stem of each 
Hosta 3 leaves – different cultivars – small – in exhibitor’s container 
Hosta 3 leaves – different cultivars – medium – exhibitor’s container 
Hosta 3 leaves – different cultivars – large – in exhibitor’s container 
10  Iris Siberian - 1 stalk 
11  Iris Siberian - any cultivar(s) - 3 stalks 
12  Iris bearded – purple – 1 stalk 
13  Iris bearded – any other colour – 1 stalk 
14  Iris any other type - not listed above - 1 stalk 
15  Oriental poppy  1 stem 
16  Pansy or viola 5 stems - in exhibitor's container
17  A collection of garden flowers 3 or more different types in exhibitor's single container
18 Any perennial not listed above - 1 stem
19  Any perennial not listed above - 3 stems 
20  Flowering branch  36" & under  -  in exhibitor’s container 
21  Peony - herbaceous  single - Japanese or anemone included - 1 stem 
22  Peony - herbaceous  semi-double - 1 stem 
23  Peony - herbaceous  fully double - 1 stem 

SECTION 3 Roses 
24  Hybrid tea  any colour - 1 specimen bloom 
25  Floribunda  1 stem or spray  
26  Grandiflora  1 stem or spray   
27  Miniature  1 stem or spray 
28  Miniature  1 specimen bloom  
29  Miniature  any colour(s) - 3 stems or sprays 
30  Climber  1 spray or lateral 
31  Rose Modern shrub - 1 stem or spray 
32  Rose selected for fragrance - 1 stem or spray 
33  Rose any other cultivar  - 1 stem or spray 
34  Rose miniature  without foliage - floating in exhibitor's clear glass container
35  Rose any other without foliage - floating in exhibitor's clear glass container
36  A-tisket a-tasket A design in a basket suitable for a flower girl 
37  A-tisket a-tasket (NOVICE) A design in a basket suitable for a flower girl 
38  Summer Trifle A design 
39  High Society A design incorporating a wine or champagne glass(es) 
40  The Rainbow Crescent design 
41  Ice Cream Extravaganza Modern Mass design 

Everyone is welcome to attend North Toronto meetings as a guest.  Just introduce yourself at the door and we will be sure to show you around.  

See you all at the June meeting.  Until then, happy gardening.