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Show #11/2711
Lake House Landscape Makeover Part 1 - Containers


SUMMARY OF SHOW

Designing With Containers
And, it looks fantastic. Eric is interested in what INSPIRED THIS DESIGN. Pamela was looking at a difficult site that would have intimidated many. What was going through her mind when she 1st figured out what she wanted to do? When she 1st pulled up in the car it was quite strange because she actually saw it, almost as if she was seeing photographs in her head. And what she was seeing was vertical elements being brought in because they have this long, almost ribbon like horizontal element (the walls) and it just didn't look proportional in her mind.

Click here for more info

Choosing A Container
Pamela had a lot of CHOICES TO SIFT THROUGH and discusses the process. Her favorite color is cobalt blue so her initial reaction was to plaster cobalt blue all over this wall. But when back at home she had photographs of the wall and put cobalt blue color chips in front of the picture and it just looked awful. So when visiting the container store she instead was looking for pots that blended in well with the beiges as well as the grays in the wall.

Click here for more info

Accent Containers
She used the earth tones as the major color then added SECONDARY ACCENTS as evidenced by the playful red pots dotted throughout the landscape. The homeowner loves red, her front door is red so Pamela put the red containers at the beginning of the driveway, then repeated them in the middle and at the end of the driveway. Pamela likes repeating accent colors 3 times, it provides an oomph, they don't get lost if they're repeated.

Click here for more info

Choosing Plants
They next come to Eric's favorite part, which is THE PLANTS. With the plants Pamela wanted a sense of scale, something large like the walls and the containers. So when she was thinking about the center plant she wanted something that was evergreen and the homeowner wanted something that was easy.

Click here for more info

Filling Containers
Pamela recommends that homeowners buy containers larger than what they think they will need because your landscape is going to absorb it. One question frequently asked is - With containers this size how much POTTING MIX should be used. Pamela typically takes mulch, because it's cheaper than potting mix, fills the container about halfway with the mulch, then fills the container to the top with potting mix.

Click here for more info

Specific Plants
They next look at the PLANTS IN THESE CONTAINERS. Thuga 'Green Giant" in nature will get huge but a container naturally dwarfs the plant, not unlike a bonsai. Cortaderia Ivory Feathers is a great pampas grass, one of the best flowering pampas grasses. It has a giant white feather plume. Another container has Colocasia 'Illustris' a favorite of Eric's. It comes out with nearly black leaves, then finishes with a black and green look. The textures of these plants are all so different. The feathery grasses, the more fan like, big leaves of the Colocasia which will get even larger are all different and all stunning.

Click here for more info

Flowering Trees And Shrubs In Containers
Some of Eric's favorite plants to use in containers are FLOWERING TREES AND SHRUBS. It's a wonderful way to show them off and many don't think of using them in containers. A 'Kay Parris' a dwarf Magnolia is very much like Little Gem. It has smaller leaves and looks stunning in a pot.

Click here for more info

Plants At The Base Of The Container
One thing to keep in mind when using containers in the garden is how does the container integrate with the plants around it. And, Pamela has done a wonderful job of using colorful PLANTS AROUND THE BASE OF THE CONTAINER. They really work well with the container. The red plants work well with the greenish container. This container is viewed from a great distance so she needed to do something to bring the eye up.

Click here for more info

Planting A Container
We've spent time looking at finished containers and how to design with them. Pamela and Eric next dive into the nitty gritty of actually PLANTING A CONTAINER. When looking for a container 2 things are very important. 1 It must have a hole or holes in the bottom because if not the plant will drown because the water has nowhere to go. That's a quick way to kill a plant. 2 Pamela likes containers that are larger rather than teeny bowls, she believes the bigger the container, the easier it is to grow plants. For this demonstration Pamela has chosen one she would consider substantial and it is wide at the top.

Click here for more info

Choosing A Potting Media
Pamela believes that the POTTING MEDIA is very important. There have been a lot of advancements made in this area. We don't use topsoil anymore in our pots. But what should we use? It needs to be a product called potting mix. The word mix is the important word.

Click here for more info

 

Choosing A Centerpiece
They next plant the container. Pamela likes to use A CENTERPIECE that's taller than the other plants. From a design standpoint you need a big plant in the middle, then smaller plants around it. Big in the middle, little around it. She plants the taller plant just a little below the edge of the container.

Click here for more info

 

Dip The Roots In Water
Before planting she likes to DIP THE ROOTS OF THE PLANTS IN WATER. She does this for several reasons. One - it makes the roots and the potting mix around it like potting clay so if she needs to mold them into a container they will fit. Secondly it really waters the plant well. Then she spreads/separates the roots out. If the roots look really thick break up the root ball a little. This will encourage the roots to go out, not in.

Click here for more info

 

Container Maintenance
Pamela likes the look of the container but next addresses MAINTENANCE. There are a number of issues to consider. She feels we have helped ourselves by using a potting mix that has a lot of water retention crystals, they provide a little additional buffer from the standpoint of how often this will need watered. But a time release fertilizer is another important consideration.

Click here for more info

 

LINKS:

Pamela Crawford - Books
Easy Garden Color

Proven Winners Flowering Shrubs
Welcome to Spring Meadow Nursery

Monrovia
Monrovia.com - Monrovia Distinctively Better Plants & Flowers

Blooms of Bressingham
Welcome to Blooms of Bressingham®

Costa Farms
Costa Farms - The leader in houseplants and bedding plants

Ball Horticulture
Welcome to Ball Horticultural Company

 

Containers:

Pottery Land
Welcome to Pottery Land USA!


Jam'n Designs
Home - JAM'n Designs

Plant List

 


11/2711.
Transcript of Show

Lake homes can be some of the most beautiful sites imaginable but they also come with their challenges. In this Episode we meet Pamela an industry leader in container gardening. Pamela has recently landscaped this yard and has used containers uniquely and extensively. This has been a fun project for her and is thrilled to show us her work.

But first Eric wants to know a little about Pamela and her work history. Her mother, who is English, initially sparked her interest in gardening. Like traditional gardeners their home was filled with flowers for her entire childhood. But when Pamela got out on her own, away from Mom, she just kept killing 1 plant after another. That led her to get a degree in landscape architecture. She has since landscaped 1,500 houses and has spent the past 10 years trialing plants to see which ones are easiest to grow and writing books about them. Her books are a wonderful resource for gardeners to read because through trial and error she has figured out which plants are easiest to grow. And what may do well in a garden or soil may not necessarily do well in containers. People who read her books are able to glean what she's learned from her many years of trial experience. The books are designed to take someone shopping through a garden center, into the planting process and then have the container perform in the way they expected. Pamela has written 5 books on container gardening and believes she holds the record for planting containers because each year she plants a ton of containers when writing about different aspects of container gardening. In fact, she thinks she probably holds the record for planting more containers than anyone on earth. Eric is impressed, opines that this project must represent her 1,501 landscape project and is ready to dive in and see her work.

And, it looks fantastic. Eric is interested in what INSPIRED THIS DESIGN. Pamela was looking at a difficult site that would have intimidated many. What was going through her mind when she 1st figured out what she wanted to do? When she 1st pulled up in the car it was quite strange because she actually saw it, almost as if she was seeing photographs in her head. And what she was seeing was vertical elements being brought in because they have this long, almost ribbon like horizontal element (the walls) and it just didn't look proportional in her mind. So she thought - Let's bring in some vertical elements. She also thought about the "Wow" factor. Because of this gorgeous house on the lake she needed to repeat the impact on the other side of the driveway. And Pamela has done a great job of keeping in mind the architectural features of the garden and the house. That's something you need to keep in mind as you are looking at any design. There are super strong horizontal elements and when using these massive vertical elements, the containers, they work surprisingly well breaking up the long walls. The tall containers make the walls look soft in a way they wouldn't otherwise. They have a sense of fit which is very important for anything added to the landscape. Since this space has a hugh walls, it needs hugh containers. Had Pamela gone with something smaller they would have just blended into the walls and wouldn't have had the same impact. They would have been lost.
Top

When we visit our retail garden center to shop for containers it's amazing the wide range of colors available. Anything from electric bold, to conservative colors, to pots more like this that feature warm earth tones, kind of an old world European kind of container. Pamela had a lot of CHOICES TO SIFT THROUGH and discusses the process. Her favorite color is cobalt blue so her initial reaction was to plaster cobalt blue all over this wall. But when back at home she had photographs of the wall and put cobalt blue color chips in front of the picture and it just looked awful. So when visiting the container store she instead was looking for pots that blended in well with the beiges as well as the grays in the wall. And, that's a great tip, when we go to the garden center, shopping for containers or even plants, especially if we have a dominate hardscape, like a wall or a patio, it's a good idea to take a picture of the hardscape, bring it in and not only look at what containers will match that hardscape but also what plants will match the hardscape. Pamela has done a great job of incorporating more grays and beiges and tans, the containers have that theme repeated throughout very nicely. Pamela believes that repetition in design is very, very important, particularly when looking at a major sized property like this.
Top

She used the earth tones as the major color then added SECONDARY ACCENTS as evidenced by the playful red pots dotted throughout the landscape. The homeowner loves red, her front door is red so Pamela put the red containers at the beginning of the driveway, then repeated them in the middle and at the end of the driveway. Pamela likes repeating accent colors 3 times, it provides an oomph, they don't get lost if they're repeated. It's a very effective design principle and draws ones eye through the garden. The red sticks out in a way the deeper earth tones don't so one notices them, they provide a focal point and a place for the eyes to rest. And, red is a homeowner favorite, we need to remember that this is their outdoor living space, their paradise if you will and keeping in mind the likes of the homeowner is very important. Pamela believes the job of the designer is to get inside the homeowners head and to see the project in such a way that it will make the homeowner smile. Eric thinks Pamela has done that and done it well.
Top

They next come to Eric's favorite part, which is THE PLANTS. With the plants Pamela wanted a sense of scale, something large like the walls and the containers. So when she was thinking about the center plant she wanted something that was evergreen and the homeowner wanted something that was easy. She likes the shape of the holly and how it blends with the shape of the bowl. This is Ilex pernyi, called Christmas Jewel. One of the things she likes about this plant is that it's evergreen, it has shiny, dark green foliage. It's a female that does not require a pollinator so it will bare a tremendous amount of red berries without having to have a male pollinator. It's a great stand alone specimen plant and it's quite large, thus has a finished look right off the bat. The flowers are Pamela's favorite and she has chosen Lemon Zest Petunias and Rhythm & Blues Petunias because she likes the yellow against the purple. And the 2 colors in the red pot are spectacular. This container is shaded for about half the day so these plants work well in this environment. This container is in a part of the driveway that one might not readily see but the lemon color acts as if its a light, providing an excellent accent.
Top

Pamela thinks many might not get the sense of how large these containers are until they stand next to them. And, they are huge. Pamela recommends that homeowners buy containers larger than what they think they will need because your landscape is going to absorb it. One question frequently asked is - With containers this size how much POTTING MIX should be used. Pamela typically takes mulch, because it's cheaper than potting mix, fills the container about halfway with the mulch, then fills the container to the top with potting mix.
Top

They next look at the PLANTS IN THESE CONTAINERS. Thuga 'Green Giant" in nature will get huge but a container naturally dwarfs the plant, not unlike a bonsai. Cortaderia Ivory Feathers is a great pampas grass, one of the best flowering pampas grasses. It has a giant white feather plume. Another container has Colocasia 'Illustris' a favorite of Eric's. It comes out with nearly black leaves, then finishes with a black and green look. The textures of these plants are all so different. The feathery grasses, the more fan like, big leaves of the Colocasia which will get even larger are all different and all stunning. These plants are a great way of breaking up the 3 different planters and offer a lot of visual interest. And Pamela finished it all off with Wave petunias. They will cascade down the side of the container, providing a great splash of color.
Top

Some of Eric's favorite plants to use in containers are FLOWERING TREES AND SHRUBS. It's a wonderful way to show them off and many don't think of using them in containers. A 'Kay Parris' a dwarf Magnolia is very much like Little Gem. It has smaller leaves and looks stunning in a pot. She was a little anxious about ordering a tree of this size for this particular container so it was particularly exciting when she actually put it in the pot, opened it up and it looked terrific. The underside of the leaves actually look very similar to the pot itself. They definitely work well together.
Top

One thing to keep in mind when using containers in the garden is how does the container integrate with the plants around it. And, Pamela has done a wonderful job of using colorful PLANTS AROUND THE BASE OF THE CONTAINER. They really work well with the container. The red plants work well with the greenish container. This container is viewed from a great distance so she needed to do something to bring the eye up. So she once again repeated the Lemon Zest Petunias but added the Fireworks grass around the edges on the ground. It's really something that catches the eye. The container, once again, is huge. It's separated from the line of containers in the long horizontal ribbon so it needs to be striking or it could get lost.

Another thing to remember when purchasing containers - Find something that's permanent. Bringing this in in the winter could be a daunting task. Check with your garden center before buying to make sure it's frost proof. These containers will take temperatures down to 15 degrees below zero. It would be a heartbreaker to loose one of these works of art.
Top

We've spent time looking at finished containers and how to design with them. Pamela and Eric next dive into the nitty gritty of actually PLANTING A CONTAINER. When looking for a container 2 things are very important. 1 It must have a hole or holes in the bottom because if not the plant will drown because the water has nowhere to go. That's a quick way to kill a plant. 2 Pamela likes containers that are larger rather than teeny bowls, she believes the bigger the container, the easier it is to grow plants. For this demonstration Pamela has chosen one she would consider substantial and it is wide at the top. The wide bowl allows her to put many plants in it, it doesn't limit her in that respect. When selecting the plant material go to the garden center, Pamela thinks of the trip as an adventure instead of something that could be intimidating. So, you have your cart, you're standing on the edge of the gardening center, look around, look for a big plant, go look at the tag, review the name, then go somewhere to get enough information about your plant to see if it meets your expectations. Where to go? Pamela would recommend her books but many times you can look on your phone for information online. You don't want to get a plant that blooms for a week if you want something that blooms all season. You may want a plant that stays a manageable height yet the plant you're contemplating may reach 5 feet tall. Find a plant that meets your expectations. Then start with a tall accent plant then work some plants around that are either a different form, either mounding or weeping, so they will show off the taller plant, then fill in with some additional textures.
Top

Pamela believes that the POTTING MEDIA is very important. There have been a lot of advancements made in this area. We don't use topsoil anymore in our pots. But what should we use? It needs to be a product called potting mix. The word mix is the important word. Don't use topsoil, don't use garden soil, don't use potting soil. Get something called potting mix. Find a brand name you trust and it can be magic. We don't need to do anything other than put the potting mix in the pot, then add plants. The new potting mix has taken a lot of guess work out of container planting because what they do is build a perfectly balanced soil. A perfectly balanced soil will have the correct amount of organic matter, air space and provide water retention. These medias are made mostly of peat, some pine bark and they also have perlite and vermiculite. These type materials allow for the correct amount of moisture retention and air space. One of the problems with traditional soils is they get too heavy, then the roots don't breathe thus we have problems with our plants.
Top

They next plant the container. Pamela likes to use A CENTERPIECE that's taller than the other plants. From a design standpoint you need a big plant in the middle, then smaller plants around it. Big in the middle, little around it. She plants the taller plant just a little below the edge of the container. Before planting she likes to DIP THE ROOTS OF THE PLANTS IN WATER. She does this for several reasons. One - it makes the roots and the potting mix around it like potting clay so if she needs to mold them into a container they will fit. Secondly it really waters the plant well. Then she spreads/separates the roots out. If the roots look really thick break up the root ball a little. This will encourage the roots to go out, not in. She puts the larger plant towards the back because she will be coming in with flowers in the front. So the centerpiece has been placed, then look for a plant that looks very different from the center plant but when you put them together the combination of the 2 makes you smile. She has chosen complimentary colors. The lavender with its bluish foliage, looks good and the petunia with more of a clean green foliage and a nice creamy yellow flower look great together. They add a little potting mix around the front as well as the sides. When putting colors together you're using your inner design instincts. Everyone has them, many don't use them enough. Eric reveals many have felt he doesn't have that design instinct. Pamela puts Lemon Zest petunias around the edge and leans them out a little. They have already been dipped in water so they lean well. Pamela likes to make sure the container is very full, thus adds a few more plants. It's amazing how fast this container was planted. The next thing is to fill in with potting mix being careful to make sure the potting mix doesn't come in contact with the stems. If the plants are buried too deeply it will cause problems. Roots need enough air to grow, plus plants can be susceptible to rot if buried deeply. We would be opening ourselves to significant disease potential if buried too deeply. We know that with this potting mix it will settle a little when watered in.
Top

Pamela likes the look of the container but next addresses MAINTENANCE. There are a number of issues to consider. She feels we have helped ourselves by using a potting mix that has a lot of water retention crystals, they provide a little additional buffer from the standpoint of how often this will need watered. But a time release fertilizer is another important consideration. Find one with a good coating, some last anywhere from 6 months to as long as 12 months. And they release their fertilizer on the basis of moisture available and temperature. This is a fool proof way of making sure your plants have the correct nutrition and that they stay green year round. Just sprinkle the crystals on and they'll begin releasing fertilizer when needed, keeping the plant healthy and strong for 6 months. Importantly healthy plants tend to resist disease and insect pressures much better than weak plants so a great time release fertilizer is a wonderful way of making sure our plants are well maintained.

With this container Pamela has combined edible plants with flowers. The lavender is a beautiful plant but also edible. She has written books on planting vegetables with flowers and putting herbs with flowers, it's really nice to have 2 uses for 1 container. Combining the practical with the functional, what's not to like.

Eric thanks Pamela. We've had an enjoyable time and have learned a lot about container gardening. Thanks Pamela.
Top

 

LINKS:

Pamela Crawford - Books
Easy Garden Color

Proven Winners Flowering Shrubs
Welcome to Spring Meadow Nursery

Monrovia
Monrovia.com - Monrovia Distinctively Better Plants & Flowers

Blooms of Bressingham
Welcome to Blooms of Bressingham®

Costa Farms
Costa Farms - The leader in houseplants and bedding plants

Ball Horticulture
Welcome to Ball Horticultural Company

 

Containers:

Pottery Land
Welcome to Pottery Land USA!


Jam'n Designs
Home - JAM'n Designs

Plant List



   
 
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