Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Container Simplicity

Surely, if you read my garden blog, you know I have tons of plant containers. A basement room, and dining room and bedroom windows full of them through winter, actually. I like to keep large tropicals in one container each, keeping my garden budget small. When my local nursery does their fill-a-flat sale, I stock up on long lived plants that I know can overwinter easily. Plants that are otherwise $5 each become 12 for $20, or less. I do my homework, and come home with lantanas, impatiens, agastache, and other plants that will happily sail through 6 months in the basement with little attention except the buzz of flourescent lights and the occasional sprinkle of water.

But each spring, as the garden centers, nurseries, and even road side stops haul out their spring goodies I drool over all these fabulous plants I could be loading my containers up with. Forget going down the magazine aisle, where container magazines taunt me with thousands of ideas!

My middle ground solution is to have 6 containers designated for spring renewal each year. 5 hanging baskets and one tiny window box are emptied into the compost pile each fall, and wait empty for me come warm weather in April. This allows me, on a small budget of around $40 to play around with colors and annuals in a fresh and new way each year. I get my fix, and I feel much better. I usually use some birthday gift money for this endeavor.

This year I was so excited to find these 'Flamenco' pansies! Aren't they beautiful? So flouncy, feminine! I loved this sunset and plum-colored mix, but they were available at Menard's in many tones. (I had set out for these rosy toned pansies this year because of how amazing they looked in a barelling out from beneath the roses in a magazine article featuring Julie Newmar's California garden. Finding the wild extra large fluffy rosy tone pansies was just an added wowza!)

Right beside them on the shelves, pansies that claimed to be the world's biggest! How could I resist the giant blooms on these burgandy beauties? I paired them with a large burgandy heuchera, which were also 2 for $9. I looked hard to find the most over grown and easily divided into several plants once I got home!

Both the 'Flamenco' and huge pansies were $3.99 for a 6 pack. More then traditional pansies, but worth it. I also bought a 6 pack of the same toned regular old pansies to tuck in there for filler and more color, at $1.66.

My positively heart stood still when I saw the new, and coveted 'Cappucino' petunia right before my very eyes, for only $2.88! I grabbed two. One for each hanging basket beside my back door, under the mottled light of the wisteria arbor. They paired incredibly with the 'Flamenco' pansies!

I also snatched up one large varigated 'Snowfire' heuchera, because I loved the way it brought out the colors of the pansies and the petunias. This one gallon potted heuchera easily broke into 3 plants, for 3 different containers. Perfect matches, if you ask me!

I also bought 3 $5 6-packs of wave petunias in mixed purple and 2-tone white/purple colors. I filled the two white hanging baskets on my front porch with just wave petunias, and some 'rosie o day' alyssum seeds.
I threw all leftovers into this window box. Added a $2.50 Christmas Fern, and some divisions of creeping jenny from the garden, and ta-da!

For roughly $43 dollars all my empty containers are filled with goodness that should pack a punch all season. Bonus, the the end of the season can collect seed from the petunias and pansies, and plug those perennials heucheras and fern into the ground with protection. It's a great deal, if you ask me!

Happy gardening!

1 comment:

Shady Gardener said...

Hi Jamie, Thanks for visiting me! I love this tour you just provided! What an amazing variety of flowers and plants. I'm assuming that double pansy is something new. Isn't it wonderful you could take this trip with your Mom? :-) Happy Spring!