August 1, 2008
Here are a few pictures from Santa Fe, NM. This is a 2-story motel with window boxes along the entire U-shaped courtyard.
Second story window boxes at the St. Francis Hotel.
And a simple but gorgeous planter on the sidewalk.
Lastly, the rosemary and allysum (my favorite!) planters at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Huge and amazing!
July 31, 2008
Also known as polymer gel, garden gel, garden crystals. This water-absorbing polymer works well in container gardens because they decrease the need to water and keep plants from drying out. WaterSmart Crystals are not liquid but rather reservoirs of moisture in gel form.
Mix the crystals into your potting soil when planting and then water the plants. The crystals will absorb approx. 400 times their density in de-ionized water and in the 150-350 range in more salty soils.
The moisture is then slowly released as the soil dries out and the need to water will be reduced by 50%-70%. If you are watering with an added liquid fertilizer, this will be released along with the water. The crystals last at least 5 years and longer if kept out of the sunlight. Available for $12.99 plus shipping.
July 30, 2008
The next thing to consider is what kinds of plants to put in your container. You can do flowers, foliage plants, vegetables, herbs or a combination of any of them. The size of the container will dictate some of your choices. It almost always looks great to have some kind of climbing or trailing plant that will cascade down the sides of the container. Some flower suggestions are allysum, salvia, zinnias, climbing (in this case trailing) nasturtium, snapdragons, pansies, petunias, geranium and lobelia. A nice herbal container might have lavendar, chives, sage, creeping thyme, oregano, parsley and basil in it. The obvious choice for a vegetable is, of course, tomato! This book, The Practical Guide to Container Gardening, will give you more ideas. It's another great one from Storey Publications.
July 28, 2008
The first thing to consider when planning your container garden is how you will keep it from drying out. If you choose a terra cotta pot, you might be watering your plant(s) three times a day if it is in full sun. The water evaporates so quickly from terra cotta that plants almost always suffer from inadequate water. Consider buying a pot with a ceramic glaze on it instead. Although it costs a little more money, your plant will not dry out as quickly and you will not have to water it as much (probably once a day though). A self watering planter is a great option for people who are away from home a lot and don't want to pay someone to water their plants.
This planter is made out of lightweight fiberglass, has a 1-quart water reservoir, a water level indicator and an easy-fill funnel. Use bagged potting mix or make your own with 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 soil or compost, and 1/3 vermiculite or perlite. Available from Gardener's Supply Company for $59.95.
July 27, 2008