Container Gardening

Succulents: Beware Over Packed Pots!

color-gilmer2This composition of mixed succulents may look pretty, but the gang-potted group will not survive unless transplanted into their own Terracotta pots.
 
Those big, popular succulent collections sold in pots and troughs (otherwise known as “gang pots”) are dying out all over. Each container may be packed with a dozen or more species of succulent plants that often originate from vastly different locations and have different cultural needs.  Many are […]

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DIY: Make This Trickle-Down Succulent Tower

donkey tailsDonkey Tails (Senecio morganianum) in a vertical can cascade.
This idea came from deep within Mexico where plastic nursery containers are rare and coveted.  Tin cans are used, whenever possible, instead of pots to save money.  When I found the tower at Xochemilco, I realized this is trickle-down-watering at its finest.  It’s also the most innovative idea I’d seen for recycling and saving money.  It also […]

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Blue Ribbon Dinner Plate Dahlias

Seed Savers1552-dester-tomato-organicDahlia showing is serious business. Cultivating them to full glory takes a little extra care and patience.
Summer is Dahlia time, and my favorites are the super giants with blooms the size of dinner plates. The grand flowers of dinner plate dahlias are so large that just one is enough to fill a large vase or decorative bowl. They are produced on tall, four and five foot […]

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Preparing the Garden for a Hot Summer

Lantana, colorsAn excellent summer bloomer for heat is Lantana camera.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have had record high temperatures already this spring. When the temperature is 100° F in spring, it is HOT!  Not that our weather pattern is ever predictable, but this year it seems to be even less consistent. With our mild winter temperatures, record rain, and a summer forecast as being hot and dry, our plants may suffer without […]

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Big, Bold, Tropical Foliage Plants

500Lantana camera and cascading Scaevola aemula ‘Blue Fan’ compliment colorful crotons in this summer container planting.
Big, bold, tropical plants look amazing in summer gardens and large containers and drink up the summer heat and humidity. Often ornamental bananas, exotic elephant ears, upright sanserverias, strappy cordyline, and colorful croton are grown only indoors or way down South, but they thrive any place that’s steamy. Placing them in the right spot with the right companion plants is […]

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Garden Flowers for Hummingbirds

hummingbird with salviaA hummingbird with Salvia ‘Amistad’.
 
If there was one pollinator I would like to attract to my garden, it would be the hummingbird. It is such a fascinating bird to watch as it zooms from flower to flower and reveals its characteristic of being quite territorial. For many years, I have planted containers of Salvia ‘Black & Blue’ on our deck because this plant is a hummingbird magnet. Several years ago I tried Salvia […]

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Everything about Growing Dahlias

Dahlia 'Park Princess' - CopyDahlia ‘Park Princess’
Dahlias come in all forms, from monolithic 12” dinnerplate monsters to tiny 2” pixie pincushion blooms, and colors—pretty much any shade except for true blue. So, you can never love just one. They thrive in the cooler seasons of early summer and fall and offer a botanical extravaganza of floral beauty with over 50,000 named cultivars and 20 wildly diverse forms. (Visit the American Dahlia Society (ADS) website […]

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One-Pot Herb Garden – Anywhere!

herb boxesRepurposed wood crates become one pot herb gardens featuring thyme, rosemary, cilantro, chives and more
Fresh-from-the-container culinary herbs turn a New York loft, a Chicago studio, or a Los Angeles condo into flavor central.  Nothing is quite like fresh mint in your mojito, just-picked basil on a mozzarella sandwich, or cilantro in your salsa.  No store-bought herb carries this intense flavor, because once cut, the essential oils immediately begin to lose pungency.  Cut and eat […]

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Tender Perennials for Pacific NW Gardens

Lantana, colorsLantana camara
It is hard to believe that it is already March and soon spring will be official.  We’ve had a relatively mild winter and I cannot remember when we’ve had so few frosts.  Like many other gardeners, I always have some tender perennial container plants that need winter protection, and I haul them in and out of my garage depending on the temperatures.  This winter they have been out more than they […]

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Preparing Broadleaf Evergreens for Drought

Sarcococca - CopyWith good care and moisture, broadleaf evergreens with thrive even in the toughest drought times.
In the summer of 2015, the Pacific Northwest experienced one of the longest periods of no measurable rainfall as well as some of the highest temperatures ever recorded. It started in July, then August, then September and continued into October. Gardeners were struggling to maintain their gardens with the unseasonable dry periods and temperatures in the 90s. […]

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