By Jennifer Whipple for Plow & Hearth
Photographs courtesy of Plow & Hearth
Container gardening has become hugely popular in recent years, and no wonder: you don't need a lot of space to make an impressive display, it instantly adds life and color to your windows, porch, patio, or deck, and it lets you change the scenery several times throughout the gardening season. In addition to the extra convenience, gardening in containers gives you greater control over pests, fertilizing, and soil quality. You can also start your plants earlier and enjoy them longer since it's so easy to cover containers in the event of a frost. Plus, it's fun!
With so many different kinds of containers available, which ones will work best for you? Pots, window boxes, and plant containers come in many styles and materials; before you buy, make sure you consider your needs as well as your tastes.
Add style with decorative planters.
Decorative plant containers offer an easy way to liven up your patio, porch, deck, or garden nook. Flowerpots come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. In addition to traditional terra cotta, you'll find a plethora of planters available in every material imaginable, including clay, wood, wicker, plastic, metal, even fabric.
Today's decorative plant containers are as pretty as the plants they hold, with unique and whimsical shapes and colors that enhance your décor. Some can even be personalized to serve as address markers, or to offer guests a warm welcome.
Mix and match a collection of pots on your balcony or deck, or use several pots in a similar color, material, or style to showcase a varied plant collection that lets the blooms take center stage.
Brighten up a window or railing with window boxes.
Nothing beats window boxes for dressing up a home! The tradition of decorating a building with window boxes is centuries old. Filled with colorful flowering plants and a few vines, a window box can give the humblest home an air of charm and character. Old-fashioned, English-style hay basket planters have a timeless look that never goes out of style, but be sure to choose a style and material that suits your home and needs.
Window boxes also look great when suspended from a porch or deck railing, and can be a convenient source of homegrown herbs and veggies when installed near a kitchen window or door. Railing planters feature window-box style with the versatility of adjustable brackets for use nearly anywhere. Whatever style you go with, window boxes offer an affordable way to add instant curb appeal to your home.
Choose containers that water themselves.
A big challenge to container gardeners is keeping up with watering. Sub-irrigation or self-watering containers help ensure that your plants receive an even supply of water so you won't have to worry about watering every day (a great advantage if you're planning a getaway).
Self-watering planters have a built-in water reservoir that the soil can draw on as it dries out. They also come in a wide variety of styles, including patio and deck planters, window box planters, and even deck railing planters. The steady water supply offered by self-watering containers also makes them perfect for growing vegetables.
Grow edibles on your deck or patio.
You don't need a big backyard to enjoy fresh herbs, fruits, or veggies – any balcony or patio will do. Many varieties of tomatoes, carrots, radishes, lettuce, peppers, and herbs thrive in pots and raised beds because they can be moved to maximize sun exposure and watering. And because the soil is isolated from the ground in a raised planter, many pest problems (like moles, rabbits, fungus, and various insects) are reduced or eliminated altogether.
Inverted planters (commonly referred to as tomato planters) are ideal for growing tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, and herbs, and you won't need stakes to keep the vines from breaking. If you have enough room on your deck or patio, raised planters offer a less labor-intensive way to cultivate all kinds of plants – plus they give you complete control of the soil, allowing you to garden without bending.
With the right container and light exposure, you'll be enjoying enough fresh, homegrown veggies to make a respectable salad in no time at all.
Growing your own flowers and vegetables can be one of the most all-around rewarding experiences of the warm-weather season. With the right containers, you can indulge in your favorite activity without the hassle of caring for a big yard!
About Plow & Hearth:
Plow & Hearth is a trusted national retailer specializing in unique, enduring home, garden, yard, and lifestyle products that are quality-built and guaranteed to meet their customer's expectations. Whether you browse their catalog, visit them online, or drop into one of their 25 retail locations, you'll quickly come to understand their guiding principle: treat every customer like a friend and neighbor.
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By Susan Martin for Proven Winners,
Photographs courtesy of Proven Winners
When you head to the garden center this spring, you'll find more patterned flowers than ever before. All those stripes, speckles and pinwheels are dazzling but it takes a little know-how to pair them with other flowers in container recipes. Here are five creative ways to design spectacular container recipes using patterned flowers.
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