Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Friday, April 9, 2010

Container Hope

This purple/red/cobalt blue hued container echos the purple chairs


Long time readers know that C&L has shallow soil and a limestone bedrock that makes planting some flowers and shrubs in the garden next to impossible....
So I learned to garden with plants that love difficult conditions...Plants that when coddled and given fertile soil, quit and lie down on the job. There have been no better hardworking plants than native plants indigenous to the Central Basin and cedar glades. Plants that can take wet winters and dry summers.

Summer 2009

Beauties~
Like Tennessee Coneflower~ Echinacea tennesseensis,

Yellow Star Grass/Hypoxis hirsuta
another cedar glade native
Sweet little yellow Star Grass~~and, Zizia aurea/Golden Alexander~~This lovely, hardworking plant is in full bloom. It came to my attention at the Chicago Botanical Gardens at Spring Fling last year. What a survivor~ it has lived its life in a nursery pot, unprotected all winter. I planted it in the GOBN last month.


Past experience has taught this gardener to be thoughtful about where and how to plant any plants that are picky about drainage, constant moisture or may not be able to tolerate clay soil! (go here for a story on Moist, Well Draining Soil)
Container tulips

So, I have to rely on containers to keep any picky plants alive. In fact, containers are the 'It' thing in my garden these days!


They allow me to add a few difficult plants to my collection~Plants like Dicentra peregrina×eximia ‘Burning Hearts’. It requires a moist well draining environment! And, we all know that Clay and Limestone doesn't offer moist and well draining accommodations!

Vegetables and herbs are making the container scene, too. That's red sorrel above. Rainbow chard grows beautifully in containers and has survived this past winter. The little seedlings are basil. They're tucked in there, until I transplant them to their container.

Even evergreens are planted in containers. They are the most difficult plants for me to get established here. Junipers work beautifully, but, I wanted a fast growing plant to use as a screen. Inexpensive, fast growing Leyland Cypress have proved to be a good solution. I'll have to transplant them to larger pots, but, they have worked to mitigate a design flaw in my 50s ranch. Our driveway is long and resembles a runway with a hangar at the end. The trio and warm brown bench attract your attention and stops that "coming in for a landing feel".

And,

I'm
really excited about the big glazed pots I found at the grocery store...Several now reside at C&L.... They really are quite large~


This big round one has my heart aflutter. It took up half the space in the wayback of my Subaru Outback! It will be the home of Nelumbo lutea, our native water lily/lotus
A hardy lotus that prefers still waters, like this small lake near a greenway we hike. I already know that it will sit in a place of honor, so that anyone arriving will see it.

In the meantime, I do need help lifting these big guys and placing them around the garden! There will be no moving them once they're planted.

Gail

45 comments:

  1. I love container plantings, you can do so much with them. Love your new containers, I see why your hearts a flutter.

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  2. I love containers too and use oodles of them even though I don't have the soil issues you do. The purple one is fantastic (and I don't even like purple) but I'm a sucker for the glazed blue pots.

    Have you tried out the Potlifter? They really are helpful for moving those things around.

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  3. What a gorgeous new pot. I do the same thing with containers here in Round Rock too. My only problem is during the heat of the summer, some of the containers can dry out so quickly. I have to be diligent about watering, and if I miss a day or go out of town...well, it ain't pretty! Do you have that problem, or a solution to share?

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  4. Morning Glories, keeping containers from drying out is a big problem...I am looking into a drip irrigation system that is supposed to work with containers...In the mean time, I water twice daily when it's really hot. If I go out of town, the youngster across the street waters for me and cares for Coal, the Cat King!

    gail

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  5. Erin...Thanks for the suggestion~~i am googling it now!

    gail

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  6. Hi Gail - That dicentra is a stunner! Containers are the best and not only for drainage. Some plants that might get lost planted in the ground look great elevated in pots - I'm thinking of my own phormium,e.g. Following on the potlifter suggestion, if you've the space to store it, a hand truck is invaluable for hauling around containers and big rocks. Mine has 4 wheels, so it can go flat or tilted. Looking forward to seeing your beauties all planted up!

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  7. At the risk of repeating myself for the hundredth time, I absolutely LOVE that colour blue for containers. I don't think there's another colour that makes everything "pop" in the garden. They're gorgeous!

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  8. I love that blue container! I am very neglectful of containers, especially when it gets hot. I tend to forget to water them, so I don't have many.

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  9. Gail,

    I had no idea that you use so many containers. Your new ones are so beautiful! I like the evergreen trees in containers. A great look!

    This spring, I took plum spray paint to convert a few faded fiberglass pots and I really like how they turned out. New life for old pots.

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  10. What what what! A water garden at C & L? How delightful! Oh those lotus are something, too, I didn't know they were natives. All the pots are fabulous, but that one in the first shot with the mix of colors is a knockout. Your post is sending me to Mouse Creek nursery. So far I have resisted the siren call, knowing what will happen if I go. Caution thrown to the wind...bye bye.....zoom!
    Frances

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  11. I like your big blue container. I have some unusual conditions here also and finding just the right plant for a certain spot is a challenge.
    Marnie

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  12. Gail girl I can't get over the size of those containers ! But they are beautiful and I would have loved them too : )
    Your "Burning Hearts" look wonderful .. I have to wait for mine to come up in it's temporary home so I can transplant that with a few more plants .. I need to weed and transplant BIG time !
    EEEEEEEEEEE KKKKKKKKKK!!! ;-)

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  13. Not sure if my comment went though. Here goes.

    Great containers, Gail! Here's to planting your new containers and rearranging your portable garden!

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  14. I am in the pot loving club too. I mean garden pots that is. We get tunneling voles and they make it a nasty venture to plant sometimes so I rely pots as well.

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  15. I love those big ole pots. They bring color and as you say plants that don't like where they would be planted. I hope you have a two wheeler to wheel around those pots or maybe your hubby won't mind placing them for you. It is when you want to move them a time or two to get them settled in that he might object. tee hee...Of course I am talking about experience here. I love to move pots and things around. The two wheeler is my best friend. It never complains about how many times I have to move a pot or two. Have fun this weekend planting up your new pot.

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  16. Wonderful new containers Gail. I am a fan of containers in the garden as well although I'm still discovering new uses and potentials for them! They sure open up new possibilities don't they? The prettiest ones are always the heaviest tho and I have no help to position them so I usually have to pass. Looking forward to seeing these placed strategically around C&L.

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  17. As a container gardener myself, I can relate to this post. Thank goodness for containers, or I would have no garden at all.

    I love those huge blue ones, what great deal you got with them.

    No matter where I go, I am on the lookout for suitable containers, after all, there is always another plant, isn't there?

    Jen

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  18. Gail, you scored an excellent buy with that great blue pot. I threw my pots into the garage last fall and am gobsmacked to see how stuff has come through - especially since it was in an unheated garage - the Australian Kangaroo Apple is as happy as a clam - considering it's a Zone Way Warmer Than Here. (solanium lanciasomethingorother) It's really great of you to show everyone just how much you can do with pots - and how the plants adapt and thrive in their colourful little homes.

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  19. Gail, I totally get the difficult growing conditions. My heart went pitter pat at those beautiful pots, especially the cobalt blue ones. Yummy.~~Dee

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  20. For people like me who have no land space, containers are great saviors and an advantage with containers are you can move 'em around, whenever you feel like you need a change. The main disadvantage with containers is the limitation of space, repotting, and importantly moving huge pots around!
    I love lotuses. Good luck with yours blooming in abundance!

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  21. I have recently become enamored with blue glazed pots. I think it is because I don't have much blue in my garden and everything looks better next to blue in my opinion. The cypress you have growing are beautiful and I imagine make a wonderful screen.

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  22. Hi Gail....how lovely, containers are such fun.
    You will most certainly need help lifting them.....I have planted several large containers with bamboo to hide some hideous feature. There is no shifting them now, at times I would like to move them. So do not make my mistake, make sure you love them where you put them.

    Love the sound of the water lily feature......lovely idea.

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  23. Pots can be a wonderful accent to the gardens... esp. their colors! :-) Have fun!! (and keep us posted!)

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  24. Beautiful containers Gail. The water lily will be most special in your new big blue pot. It's awesome. I like that 'Burning Hearts' too. Very nice!

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  25. You sure are not a quitter !
    Pots, pots, pots....love them.
    The blue one is a gotta have accent to the garden,

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  26. Wonderful pics and post. What do you do with the evergreens in your pots during the winter? I don't now how it happened but one day Pat and I realized that we had 50 containers. maybe it's because neither of us can resist a good looking pot. jim

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  27. I love containers, too, Gail. You've hit upon the perfect solution for those fussy plants that don't especially like your cedar glade. They're also great for filling in those empty spaces where something mysteriously failed to grow:) And for me, it's a great excuse to buy all those gorgeous annuals that tempt me every spring.

    Cobalt blue is my favorite color for pots, too--it really pops! Popping pots...hmmm...that has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?:)

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  28. Containers are such a great way to compensate for less-than-perfect growing conditions in the garden and try things that wouldn't otherwise grow in one's area. I like to indulge with tropical-type plants in containers, or things that would look totally out of place with my prairie plants.

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  29. Container gardening is so nice... so many options! Love the color you picked for your pots.

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  30. Your pictures are beautiful! The lake with the lotus looks very Monet's Water Lillies - amazing. I have a little pond in my garden with water lillies. They survive our zone 4 winters. But, it doesn't hold a candle to your lake! :) Gloria

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  31. How exciting about the native lotus! I had no idea it could be grown in a pot, no matter how large. And I must add a thank you for alerting me to the existence of red-veined sorrel. I've only been growing sorrel since last year, and F.'s a huge fan of the taste (altho I am not able to get used to it). I wouldn't mind donating the space for it quite so much if the leaves were prettier. ;)

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  32. Hello Dear Gail,
    Ohhhh... I'm loving your new blue glazed pots. I fell in love with blue glaze the last couple of years and I just can't seem to get enough of them. I'm a container crazed gardener even though my soil isn't an issue.

    So happy for you ~~ you can grow some things that don't do as well in your clay and limestone. We gardeners have a way of finding ways around limitations. Your garden is looking very good... all the blooms and buds in the past couple of posts!
    Happy spring.
    Meems

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  33. I am using a few containers too, mainly because the absolute sunniest part of my garden has been totally 'bricked' over by an overzealous previous owner who wanted more 'patio' than actual outdoors. Its sort of nice though, things sure grow better in perfect soil!

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  34. I love the look of your containers. They do look really nice mixed in beds too. I love the newest one you found. I've been thinking about trying a Lotus too, I can't wait to see when you get some blooms.

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  35. Interesting! what you called red sorrel, I've been pulling up from around the outsides of my veggie beds. I think it grows wild here... or at least they look much the same. I might need to look into that some more. Thanks!

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  36. That is a lovely pot, great color. Obviously you do well with Coneflower. I've lost two already, but not ready to give up yet and am attempting to start some from seed. Wish me luck.

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  37. i visited your site n was good enough then othere site that i visited last month



    work and study

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  38. Jim G, I left them out all winter and even the arctic blast didn't hurt them...I think that poor drainage does in Leyland Cypress. Gail

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  39. i too am enjoying container gardening...but more to keep things away from the dogs trampling all things green. it is such a great way to grow things that are a little more difficult. love the huge blue glazed pots.
    have fun using those beauties.
    happy days.

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  40. Hi, Gail. What a lovely post...I use containers quite a bit, especially for vegetables. I haven't mastered veggie gardening in Florida's hot summers so containers offer the best alternative.
    Your pots are striking! I like the blue glaze...great find!

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  41. Hi Gail, I didn't realize there was a Tennessee native Echinacea--cool! Those zizia will get tall over the years. My friend's are about 4-5 ft. And she's digging up some for me after they bloom here. I love containers--I do a lot of vegetables in them.

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  42. Gail,
    I totally love my containers (for the same reasons you describe) and yours look great.

    The glazed terracotta ones seem to survive winters just fine, and harbor everything from seasonal vegetables to herbs and perennials.

    The bigger, the better, too, seems to be the way to keep them going in our hot southeastern summers.

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  43. Gail I didn't realize you did container gardening. I LOVE that Dicentra. I was just at Catherine's blog drooling over her Dicentra and now I'm drooling over yours too. I can't wait to see how the Water Lotus does in the beautiful blue pot.

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  44. Hi Gail, I'm a huge fan of containers and am always on the lookout for the funky types. I have a huge water pot. It moves fairly easily on concrete thanks to the wheeled platform it rests on. In fact all of my larger containers are on dollies which makes them easy to play around with different combinations.

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  45. Wow - your garden is amazing. Love to see all the natives - must continue to make that a priority! Thanks for sharing.

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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