Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ornamentation in the Garden: Pots

A whole nest of ceramic pots at Olbrich Gardens. Grouping them probably makes their watering tasks a tad easier and is a good tip for the home gardener as well.

A reinforced cement planter at the home of Dr. Darrel Apps. This is a top quality planter made to withstand central Wisconsin's extreme cold and spring and fall freeze/thaw weather. For the last couple years, Darrel has planted it with a dark colored banana plant which he allows to freeze, and then digs it up, cuts off the leaves, and moves to his cool basement room. He calls it his banana cana and it is a heavy sucker, the root filling a 5-gallon pail.

My fish planter from Pier One. It is so cute, I have just placed it in the garden and have not planted it. Sometimes planters are nice empty, too. With its two openings it gives me a lot of fun possibilities to think about.
Ceramic pots are a great way to add a shot of color to the garden. For those of us gardening on a budget, these pots can be a pricey addition. In my experience, sometime about October and early November is a great time to snap up some great looking pots of a decent size at good prices. This year at Stein's pots went on sale in the beginning of August. The prices were great. All of my nice pots were acquired on clearance.

For a pot to make a statement in the garden, it needs a certain diameter and height. You want to err on the large size. The pots I have are about as big as I can easily carry, empty. I always plant these in situ. Crushed milk jugs are a key component of the fill in these pots, along with Styrofoam if I have any lurking from recent deliveries.

I like to take good practices from things I see in botanical gardens. For example, the only pots you see the Chicago Botanical Gardens using are to hold those plants that move into a green house in the winter. These tend to be Italian clay pots of huge diameters. Olbrich Gardens in Monona, WI tends to have a freer hand with the use of nice pots used in a variety of different ways. With pots, unlike growing plants in the ground you do have watering concerns on a daily basis. This is something That the CBG probably doe not want to deal with. Olbrich, on the other hand must detail a gardener to this task daily as their number have pots used in and about the garden has decidedly reached critical mass.

Other than good quality ceramic pots and Italian clay pots, there are the reinforced concrete pots. These are heavy suckers. I have one of these and it is more what I call an urn, than a pot. I am sure you have probably seen these in a cemetery somewhere. I got mine at Wal-Mart years ago for about $10. I doubt you could find one that can withstand the weather as well as it has for that price now.

A trio of cement planters as a border focal point.

Sometime a pot planted with just the right color foliage plant is all t takes to be the exclamation point n a garden. Forget the "thriller, spiller, filler" design idea.

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