Container Gardening Indoors and Outdoors

By: Mary Hanna


For years people have been gardening in containers, mostly because they lacked space. For some it was because they lived in climates that wouldn’t allow them to grow year round. Container gardens afford you the option of planting outside until the cold forces the container inside, next to a sunny window.

Most container gardens were planted by people that lived in apartments but still wanted the addition of color and the feeling of accomplishment when seeing their plants grow. Big, beautiful showy flowers have a tranquil effect that soothes you at the end of a long day. Container gardening need not be limited to apartment gardening, everyone should have their own. Most certainly you don’t have to stick to flowers in containers. You can grow vegetables and herbs in pots.

By adding garden pots it allows you to put spots of color around green shrubs or trees to brighten any corner of your yard. Placing containers filled with your favorite flower adds loads of appeal to a walkway or paved patio. The fun part of that is you can rotate the pots to different locations adding a new looks or colors with every move. Putting autumnal colored Mums in pots or spring tulips in a container allows you to landscape by season keeping your garden bright and interesting.
Your container can become a mini garden. For example when we lived in Pennsylvania our front yard screened us from the road with 10 feet tall evergreens. Although it was good for privacy, it made it very hard for guests to find our house. To fix this problem I purchased a half of a whisky barrel painted our name and street number on it and placed on the lawn at the end of the driveway. Then I filled it with some organic matter, planted bright red geraniums in the center and placed trailing ivy along the outer edges. Not only did it help our friends find us but the whole neighborhood used it when giving directions to their friends and family. Everyone would come up to us and say, “Never move that pot of flowers, it’s our favorite landmark.”

Don’t limit yourself to a barrel, anything can be used, a watering can, an urn or big boldly colored ceramic pots, even a wheelbarrow. Use your imagination when it comes to the containers you will plant. A friend of mine would go to the Italian restaurants around town and ask them for their used large olive oil cans. She’d take them home and plant a bunch of mini gardens. This created an interesting and colorful spot unlike any in the neighborhood. She would plant herbs in some of them so this little garden had two uses.

For container gardening use a fast draining potting soil mixed with a little coarse sand. I always use pots with holes in the bottom to ensure good drainage. You may know exactly how much to water the plant but if you have a rainy spell it could be the demise of the mini garden that has no drainage system. Fertilize well and often, nutrients in a container can leech out.

Repotting will be necessary as the plants will become root bound as they thrive. Just go to the next size container and plant a new flower or herb in the original pot.
Go to your garden nursery center and look thru the selections. Choose plants that will harmonize and colors that go well together. Container Gardening is fun and easy and a great way to show off your handiwork.

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Mary Hanna is an aspiring herbalist who lives in Central Florida. Contact her at [email protected] or visit her websites at www.gardeninglandscapingtips.com, www.gardeningoutside.com, or www.gardeningherb.com.

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