Monday, January 25, 2016

Garden Planning: Containers

A semp stepping up to flower, in a shallow clay pot of perennial succulents-- no guilt here
I actually have planned my garden baskets, pots, and boxes this year.  Typically, this is hit or miss and I am still potting them up in July. This all seems remiss of me.  This year I have promised myself to do a few things in the garden better and try not to become overwhelmed.

I outlined a garden plan. I think the first step in any plan is self knowledge.
I hate to water. I really do. Unfortunately, I can't walk past a plant without feeling its pain, its thirst, so I stop and water and water, and water. I am unable to understand how Handsome Son can walk past the same plant and not see its pain, feel its thirst. I wish I was this empathic with people; but no, it is plants which talk to me.

To this end, it is no surprise to any of you that semps and succulents form the backbone of my summer porch potted display. I can walk past them and they are infinitely cheery baking in the hot sun of my southern exposure deck from which the very devil sun seems to bake off the paint.
I love this coleus for its intense color. It looks like something is in bloom all summer and seems to be more drought tolerant than many coleus. It is even overpowering the variegated airplane plant (see that strip of white and green?), another drought tolerant annual. I saved cuttings of each of these. Both do well in sun, shade, with and without water. Drought in the case of these plants I tend to plant only in containers really translates to "lazy gardener"syndrome ("I can't hear you! La, la, la,la....").

In addition to my hot, sunny deck, I have a couple baskets and pots in a partially shaded area of my garden which gets full sun from 11 AM until about 2 PM; the best time-- NOT! To water there, I have to drag out quite a length of hose. My go-to non-succulent is often the dragon wing begonias because they will forgive me for the dry shade. I didn't save any cuttings from mine from last year, however. I have decided on trying my hand at raising a few flats of bedding begonias from seed,  Pizzazz Pink Begonia, this year.

One of two additions to my succulent collection last year. A piece of this nipped in the spring from my scree garden will make a container pop!
I also decided on some Rapido white campanulas and saved some Blackie sweet potato and some interesting leaved alocasias along with my non-hardy succulents which spend winter in an upstairs bedroom window.
Lettuce mix in my large green pot

Until I started listing all my pots, baskets, and containers, I didn't realize how many were actually in areas where it is dry shade. It was a helpful exercise. I also realized after planting one of my pots closest to my water bib to a lettuce mix in the early spring last year; how nice it was to have that lettuce container just outside my front door. It is the ultimate kitchen garden. To that end, it is something I plan on repeating. Another large pot on my deck I plant  with annuals for color, I also plan to plant to ornamental edibles. This year it will beplanted with  nasturtiums, chard, red giant mustard, basil, and parsley. Has anyone else noticed how good a container filler plant parsley is?

Do you plan your containers in advance? What do you put in yours? Do they look good all summer?


  1. You are definitely not a "lazy gardener" nor have the syndrome, my friend!!
    Containers: as you can imagine, I am very much inspiration driven. Sometimes I see a picture with combinations I like, sometimes I come across a focal plant that I want to use and then blend in other plants..... sometimes I go to the greenhouse and just pick things up in a color range. Lately I have been using perennials in most of my pots. I have a big variety of Heuchera that I use on the deck. So many colors and they do well in the partial shade there, AND it is close to a water source. ;) I also love making up small shallow metal containers with my sempervivum and sedum.
    So, I use what I have and then let the wind blow me around with my couple of annual pots. The perennials look great all summer, the annuals- that depends. Remind me not to get those stupid hanging mini petunias this year. They really suck as a stand alone hanging pot.

    1. No kidding about the calibrachoas (mini-tunias) sucking last year! I'll remind you! I've done the color range thing at the greenhouse, too, only to not quite get what I need to do my pots.
      Speaking of planting metal with succulents you should check out the photos at this FB page Nature Containers Vintage Garden Art. I am not into the troll dolls the!

    2. Oh that is a cool site! I can do without the trolls myself Lol