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Container Gardening: Pots are Hot


Spring brings out our love for bright colors and instant greenery. Use container pots to get a mixed look that will fit anywhere.

Container gardening is not a new approach, but seems to ebb and flow in popularity. It's making a comeback as people fill their gardens and flowerbeds to overflowing and need a place to plant those extra blooms.

Mixed media is the perfect spring blend - placing numerous plant species in one container. Professionals have a rule for this type of gardening. Pick a combination of plants that are: spiky, trailing, tall, full. Of course, these must be compatible with each other; i.e., all sun- or shade-loving and with equal water and fertilization needs. Container mixed media do not have to have the same lifespan. If one species dies, it is easily replaced with another.

The idea of mixing up plants in a single container lends itself to a wide array of artistic creations. Choose monochromatic colors such as a Purple Tower for spikiness, a purple coleus for fullness, a "blackie" vine for trailing, and lavender phlox for additional filler.

Choose all greenery or go for a patriotic look with reds, whites, and blues. Mix and match colors in a "wild" and eclectic manner or look to pinks for a prim and proper approach.

If you're short on ideas or time, check your garden centers. They usually have a few hanging baskets that are filled with a mix. Just replant in your favorite container.

Pots are Hot

The nice thing about vintage flower pots is that they'll fit into any decor, from Mediterranean to English Country to stark Contemporary. Small town flea markets may have the best bargains, but estate sales will have the best quality. Containers with bas relief figures or patterns are becoming rare.

Newer products are appealing for color, shape, and composition. Lightweight faux pots are weather resistant and quite decorative. Ceramics, glazed or aged, are always popular. Don't rule out plastic for durability and economy. You can also dress up those plain terracotta pots with a little stenciling or raised plaster embellishments. They're also a good base for mosaic applications.

Groupings also work with a little careful control to avoid looking cluttered. Arrange a series of container pots at varying levels with complementary plants and you'll have a welcome arrangement at your entry or on the deck.

If you have the patience, you can also make your own concrete or hypertufa planters for a true English garden look. To enjoy the full benefits of the process, however, you'll need about ten weeks before it's ready to plant.


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