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Show #8/4308. Consider Containers

SUMMARY OF SHOW

Pamela Crawford
PAMELA CRAWFORD is a landscape architect who has designed over 1,500 yards but perhaps is best known for the 10 books she has written. The last 4 of those books deal with container gardening. Pamela has been fascinated with containers for years and is happy to welcome Eric and the GardenSMART audience to her home so she can show us what she does with containers.
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Globes On Top Of The Pedestal
Eric likes the GLOBES OF COLOR ON TOP OF THE PEDESTAL and is anxious to start planting. He is curious about how Pamela gets the plants to grow all around the planter. It's obviously a multi-tiered system and she plants the entire container. The holes in the sides of the cocoa fiber are flexible so a root ball of a normal plant from a garden center will fit into it nicely. The object is to cover all of the cocoa fiber and to plant the top as well, so it looks like a great big ball of color.
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Support The Vegetables
It's very important with vegetables to SUPPORT THE VEGETABLES with something, in this case she's using an obelisk. Pamela uses an obelisk because she thinks they're prettier, she cringes when she sees something like a tomato cage.
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Container Combinations
Pamela shows us another COMBINATION she thinks is attractive. It was easy to do. What she repeatedly tells gardeners is to pick an attractive container that's big enough for the vegetable. Pick a vegetable that likes being in containers and behaves well there and choose an attractive support. For this tomato Pamela thinks the combination worked particularly well. And what was fun, she choose herbs for the container that taste great with the tomato. It has parsley and sweet basil, then dressed it all up with Celosia which is one of her favorite flowers because they're so bright and perky.
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Pamela's Back Patio
The next area is Eric's favorite part of Pamela's garden. This is her BACK PATIO. It's overlooking her kitchen and dining room and has great examples of how to use vegetables and herbs in containers. It's a peaceful place yet has a tremendous amount going on. This area was a challenge because it is a smaller space. She wanted to have room to grow plants and to eat here and have room to prepare food on the deck. What Pamela did was go vertical because if she had just used the floor she would have run out of space.
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BUILDING A BEAUTIFUL CONTAINER
Eric and Hayley next show us how quick and easy the process is BUILDING A BEAUTIFUL CONTAINER. Hayley starts by checking to make sure the container has a drainage hole. This can be the most important part of this process. Then she adds a filter fabric to the bottom, to make sure the hole doesn't get clogged, then adds 3 to 4 inches of gravel, then wraps the gravel with the filter fabric so none of the rocks escape and clog the hole. Next she adds the potting medium.
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LINKS:

Home | Pamela Crawford

Easy Garden Color

Gibbs Gardens
World-Class Garden | North GA Destinations | Wedding Locations near Atlanta | Atlanta Gardens

Show #8/4308. Consider Containers

COMPLETE TRANSCRIPT OF THE SHOW.

With the many innovations, new plant selections and new containers, the possibilities for container gardening are nearly limitless. In this episode we meet with a container gardening expert who shows us how to create wonderful, colorful, unique container combinations.

PAMELA CRAWFORD is a landscape architect who has designed over 1,500 yards but perhaps is best known for the 10 books she has written. The last 4 of those books deal with container gardening. Pamela has been fascinated with containers for years and is happy to welcome Eric and the GardenSMART audience to her home so she can show us what she does with containers. And it's extensive, Pamela tests plants because she wants to actually see them, feel them, touch them and plant them. Along the way she has killed a lot of plants thus writes not only about the survivors but as well the bloopers, the ones that didn't work so well. Her yard is her laboratory. This is where she has learned about plants and containers and Eric feels because of her experiences her books are very useful. Pamela started out as someone that didn't know if something was going to work or not but tried and ultimately figured out what did work. She has been a pioneer in finding new and unique ways to use plants together and has developed some interesting planting systems.
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Eric likes the GLOBES OF COLOR ON TOP OF THE PEDESTAL and is anxious to start planting. He is curious about how Pamela gets the plants to grow all around the planter. It's obviously a multi-tiered system and she plants the entire container. The holes in the sides of the cocoa fiber are flexible so a root ball of a normal plant from a garden center will fit into it nicely. The object is to cover all of the cocoa fiber and to plant the top as well, so it looks like a great big ball of color. How fast it takes to fill in the cocoa fiber area depends on the size of plants you use. If you use big plants it will fill very quickly, if you use multi-packs it may take a week or two before you don't see any more fiber or steel. The first thing when planting is choose plants at the garden center. Pamela tends to alternate plants, 3 or 4 sometimes 5 plants, in this case she's using 3. She is going for bright colors to match what is in the pot below. Pamela uses Yellow Lantana, gorgeous Orange SunPatiens, which is a new impatiens for sun, and a Sun Coleus. Pamela dips the plants in water so they slide easily through the holes in the sides. The next thing is to take the plant, squeeze out the water and slide it through the hole in the side. She adjusts the fiber a little, but the thing that's most important is that you get the roots and the potting mix inside the pot and the plant on the outside with the little cocoa fiber flap in the middle. It is a great design. In the past for someone to be able to have these kind of plantings they either needed to seed into the side of the container or figure out a way to attach a plant. It's wonderful to be able to have holes pre-cut. The cocoa fiber does a great job of holding the soil in, it creates a very stable system. Pamela designed this system, it took her years and in that time planted 10,000 plants in the side in order to learn which ones worked. She's very happy with the results. They look at the basket once finished and the plants have been planted. It looks great and will fill in very quickly, every square inch will soon be filled. Of course using larger plants provides an instant effect. Pamela did keep to her succession - 1, 2, 3, all around the sides of the pot. Keep in mind you will need some plants that are trailing, some bunching. Utilize different variations in leaf size, color and of course different bloom power. And know there will be all different kinds of heights as it hangs down from the globe, then others that fill in deep places. But Pamela has a very nice selection of plants. They have 2 steps to finish. They put a big plant in the center, she uses a nice Black-Eyed Susan, and she then tucks some of the same plants along the edge of the container that she used on the side in the holes. And she uses the same 1, 2, 3 succession. It has a great look and Eric is amazed at the ease of installation. She basically has a clip system that sits on top of the column that the basket rests on and when twisted into position locks the basket into the column. It's super easy to set up and to take down. Pamela thanks Eric for the compliment but knows it will only continue to look better as it grows and fills in even more. Then the Lantana will come down, the Black-Eyed Susan's will come up and the impatiens will also come up. It will be even more beautiful, with more color but she is very happy with the end result. Pamela does think it's good they're talking about color. She thinks it important to show the audience the right way to do this. They blasted out with a colorful pot and really colorful plants. Eric likes the fact they've matched the colors of the containers and the plants. Pamela would call this the fiesta bowl.
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In her book Pamela references Blue Ribbon and Red Ribbon plants. Those are the plants she thinks most highly of or plants that perform the best. Eric asks what does a plant have to do to earn a Blue Ribbon? She shows us with a pepper. Peppers are one of the easiest plants in her trials. She simply removes the garden center pot and puts it in a new container and adds some fertilizer. It's very important with vegetables to SUPPORT THE VEGETABLES with something, in this case she's using an obelisk. Pamela uses an obelisk because she thinks they're prettier, she cringes when she sees something like a tomato cage. Add water and that's it, that's all you need to do if a plant is listed as a Pamela blue ribbon vegetable. Pamela shows use a pepper that's been growing 2 months, it's huge. And it looks very pretty with Lantana surrounding it. She is using attractive containers and using attractive supports. She calls this - the little pepper with bling - because they put it in such an outrageous container. Eric likes the way Pamela is incorporating all the fun and fancy colors into vegetable gardening. And, of course the addition of the Lantana and the bright containers really add a nice touch.
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Pamela shows us another COMBINATION she thinks is attractive. It was easy to do. What she repeatedly tells gardeners is to pick an attractive container that's big enough for the vegetable. Pick a vegetable that likes being in containers and behaves well there and choose an attractive support. For this tomato Pamela thinks the combination worked particularly well. And what was fun, she choose herbs for the container that taste great with the tomato. It has parsley and sweet basil, then dressed it all up with Celosia which is one of her favorite flowers because they're so bright and perky. And, they go with almost anything. Another advantage of planting flowers around vegetables is pollination can often be an issue. If there aren't enough bees coming to our vegetables it will clearly effect yields. So not only are the containers beautiful but additionally there are practical reasons to introduce flowers. They will help get fruit on the vines. And Eric has noticed many bees around the area, so it's working. Eric wonders - What if gardeners didn't want to spent a lot for beautiful, huge containers? What are the options? What is more economical? Pamela has found that truggs are very economical. They are made out of recycled tires. She shows us several, some are red and some yellow. And, they're huge, certainly large enough for a tomato plant. And, instead of using a more expensive iron obelisk you could go to a chain store and pick up a trellis. They can cost as little as $8. Spray paint it a bright color, it will hold your vegetables up and look good. Eric is amazed at how simple Pamela has made it. Anyone can go out and for a small amount of money and a few plants can come up with something that really looks great. And it's incredible the amount of food you can grow and how beautiful you can make your garden. And speaking about budgets, Pamela points out a sweet basil plant. The plant will cost about $3, but in the grocery a little package of basil would cost at least $4. And there are many packages of basil that could be harvested from this one plant, probably more than one would eat. When harvesting the basil plant, preserve the basil and you can have basil all season long. Pamela believes that 1 plant could produce basil that if bought in the store could cost over $100.
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The next area is Eric's favorite part of Pamela's garden. This is her BACK PATIO. It's overlooking her kitchen and dining room and has great examples of how to use vegetables and herbs in containers. It's a peaceful place yet has a tremendous amount going on. This area was a challenge because it is a smaller space. She wanted to have room to grow plants and to eat here and have room to prepare food on the deck. What Pamela did was go vertical because if she had just used the floor she would have run out of space. Additionally it was a challenge because her whole house overlooks this deck. When you walk in her front door you see this deck, so it must look good. Again, going vertical was the answer. Bringing everything off the floor, hugging the walls with both boxes as well as the tall blue cylinder planters that she's used throughout allow her to grow big herbs and vegetables in a small footprint. When cooking it's hard to beat fresh vegetables and fresh herbs, they enhance so much of what we eat. Eric comments that Pamela must have 100 pounds of food out here on this deck. This is a great lesson to those who have very small spaces. Maybe you only have a little patio or a small balcony and you might think - What can I really grow in this space? This area is a great response to that question. Pamela had something like 600 vegetables produced on this little deck last season. It's just incredible.
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Eric and Hayley next show us how quick and easy the process is BUILDING A BEAUTIFUL CONTAINER. Hayley starts by checking to make sure the container has a drainage hole. This can be the most important part of this process. Then she adds a filter fabric to the bottom, to make sure the hole doesn't get clogged, then adds 3 to 4 inches of gravel, then wraps the gravel with the filter fabric so none of the rocks escape and clog the hole. Next she adds the potting medium. It's a nice potting mix that has a fertilizer incorporated, it will give the plants a great head start. She doesn't want the soil level too low, but not too high either. Once we water the container in we don't want anything to spill out. Next we need to think where we'll view this container from. Are we going to look at it as a center piece that people will be walking around or will it be against the wall? Let's say this container will be against a wall. If going against a wall she will put the accent plant in the back of the pot, there would be no need to put it in the center of the container. With this method there is no need to place plant material at the back of the container. The canna lily will be the vertical element or accent plant. It will be the attention grabbing plant and has a bright yellow color. It is a tropical canna and only gets about 3 or 4 feet tall. Next she adds coleus, a carnival coleus. It has a lacy feel and she places it in the back of the pot. She adds 2. One doesn't always need to have even numbers but this container will have a symmetrical look thus she doesn't need a 3rd plant. After the lacy, the next plant will have a spiky look so she goes with a blue salvia, velocity blue salvia. It's a nice plant, heat tolerant and thrives, especially, in August when it will really pick up. Next added are dragon wing begonias which are great plants because they bloom late in the season. Eric notices some other plants that Hayley has ready for use. In particular the Sun Parasol, a relatively new introduction, is great as a vertical accent piece. Some may think it's a tropical and in the past they've been a somewhat rangy plant but this Sun Parasol is a great climber, it's super dense, it has more flowers than other Mandevillas and has a really rare, deep crimson red color. Another new plant that Eric loves using in containers is Senetti Pericallis. There are probably 5 or 6 different shades of blues and purples. It's one of the most powerful bloomers in a container. It's basically an annual, works well in the cooler transition periods, doesn't like hotter temperatures, in fact it actually stops blooming if it's too hot. But for the spring and fall Eric thinks it's one of the most impactful plants to use in a container. One should be able to find it in your garden center. They next address the trailing plant, here they are going to use petunias. Petunias are great for pots. Hayley doesn't so much like them for beds but likes them in pots, she's a big fan. Then she adds a yellow, a lantana. Lantana is a nice hanging plant, it picks up the yellow from the canna too. The coleus will have a nice chartreuse color once it matures. Sweet potato vine is a great plant, it can grow a little bit out of control, thus needs to be controlled and trimmed during the season although some like for it to grow out of control. But remember you can always add more plants. This container will be a little chaotic, yet will have structure because of all the textures of the foliage with the bold, the lacy, the spiky and the bold again. All combine to give a structured look. This will be a great container.
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LINKS

Home | Pamela Crawford

Easy Garden Color

Gibbs Gardens
World-Class Garden | North GA Destinations | Wedding Locations near Atlanta | Atlanta Gardens


   
 
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