|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.
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.
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.