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GardenSMART Episode

Show #44/6605. Finishing Touches And Container Tips

Summary of Show

Metal Edging
One of the often overlooked touches to a great design and install is the METAL EDGING that holds everything in place and keeps the garden lines crisp. Eric asks Michael to talk about one of the little finishing touches to his garden that Eric thinks is really important. It's not necessarily something that everyone sees but it's so important to the structure of the garden. And that is the metal edging. Many gardeners skip this step because they're into the plants and the design. Not that that's not important, but especially in this garden, because all the different curves and shapes are really important to the integrity of this design. You really can't do that without some kind of edging. And this metal edging is really perfect for this garden.
For More Information Click here

Planting A large Container-Drainage
Of course, we're talking containers today and we're going to dive right in. We're going to get our hands dirty and going to start with PLANTING A LARGE CONTAINER. One of Eric's favorite things to do on a Saturday is to tackle a big container planting. Go to the garden center, buy some plants that he thinks are going to work well and basically just make his own creation. But he wants to talk about the important things we need to know to make sure that we set ourselves up for success right from the very beginning, because there are some do's and don'ts, especially with these big containers. One of the important things we need to think about is to make sure that our drainage is going to be good and that we have the right dynamics for a successful planting. If there is a drainage hole in the bottom and you put the potting mix directly on top of that drainage hole, nine times out of 10, it stands a good chance of getting clogged.
For More Information Click here

Potting Mix
Eric is ready to get started. We've got our drainage matrix in the bottom set up and ready to go so he's ready to ADD THE POTTING MIX. Eric is ready to get dirty so Pamela is standing back. We know that our big plant is going to displace a fair amount of the potting mix so we're going to leave a little bit of space to accommodate that. They start with a Ligustrum. The lime green looks stunning with the dark blue container. It really, really looks cool. We lift it out the pot. Grab the bottom and pull a little bit then put it in the soil. When you look inside you can see where the roots are in the container and the soil is lower. Eric is going to add some more soil before we put in our little small plants. He then puts the small ones in. Pamela is going to lean them a little bit frontwards because she wants to see the flowers and not necessarily the stems.
For More Information Click here

Try Squash In A Container
From a design standpoint Pamela loves using tall thin pots. And it's not only ornamentals that we can plant in them, but for example one time she put a SQUASH in a tall pot and it just looked gorgeous. People couldn't believe there was a squash coming out of a gorgeous pot. Another time she planted different kinds of vegetables. A tomato with an eggplant, even a pepper, all in different tall pots. She put them together in a grouping and it turned out really, really handsome.
For More Information Click here

Bowl Containers
Oftentimes we need a tall statement piece, other times Pamela likes using shallower containers like BOWLS. She uses them on her front porch where you can kind of look down and see everything in them. They're easier to plant than one of these big containers. You don't have to do all the stuff with the drainage hole. Just be sure there is a drainage hole in the bottom.
For More Information Click here

Plants For Bowls
What are the things we think about in terms of PLANTING BOWLS and using bowls in container design? One that Pamela really likes for fall bowls is using different colored pansies as the center plant and then coming in with some simple sedum plants around the pansies. That is simple and also really, really beautiful. What are some other examples? You can do an English garden in a bowl.
For More Information Click here

Columns Mounted In A large Container
Eric would like for Pamela to talk us through the whole process of planting these. Planting is really easy. You dip the root balls into water, squeeze them and slide them through. There are little cuts on the side that are actually adjustable. Plant the centerpiece in the middle then lean surrounding plants over a little bit to plant the edge. That's it. There are four different ways that we can basically show these off. They can be hung by a chain, they could be also like mounted on a pole, they could be put on a stand. But the one that Eric finds most interesting and most exciting are the COLUMNS THAT ARE MOUNTED IN A LARGE CONTAINER. It almost looks like a topiary of color.
For More Information Click here

How Does The Pole In A Pot Work
And that mechanism is pretty easy to put together. Pamela shows us HOW THIS GOES TOGETHER. A brace goes underneath the pot, put a big screw in, put the pot on top with the screw going through the hole of the pot, now place the little widget on top of the screw from the inside of the pot and take the pole and screw it down.
For More Information Click here

Plants For A Shady Garden
Let's talk about some winning plant combinations for our container. What do we do for a SHADY GARDEN? Pamela likes one particular container combination because it combines plants that are really pretty but at the same time they take shade. She's using a lot of coleus and also using variegated New Guinea impatients.
For More Information Click here

Plants For Full Sun
Eric likes it. But what if we have full sun? What is a great combination for that setting? For FULL SUN Pamela loves to use sweet potato vine. She has salvias in the top, pink salvias, that she loves with the lime green. Then in addition to that she has some sunpatients with dark leaves designed for sun. It's very bold, eye catching.
For More Information Click here

Bright, Bold Vibrant Color
Eric feels that one of the hallmarks of Pamela's designs are the fact she's not afraid of using BRIGHT BOLD, VIBRANT COLOR. Give us an example of say a full sun container planting you've done, that really features those electric colors. Pamela calls this one her crayon box garden and it's one of her most favorite containers or garden designs she's ever done. Eric is right her personal preferences is for color. But this is one of the first times she started mixing different colors of pots.
For More Information Click here

Plants For Light Shade
What if we have a LIGHT SHADE environment and want to try to highlight a lot of those same kind of ideas of bold, vibrant colors. What would be some good plant combinations for that setting? It is harder to get bright, bold color in light shade, but Pamela is still trying. She's gonna get it right someday. One particular basket on a pole features two different kinds of begonias.
For More Information Click here

Window Basket
One of the classic ways of using containers around the home is in a WINDOW BASKET. Oftentimes homeowners don't realize how enormous an impact it makes. It really is a wonderful touch. And there are some important things to know before you actually get started. Number one is the size of the window box. You need it to be at least nine inches deep and nine inches tall. That will give you enough soil so that you're not having to water your plants about every 10 minutes. There are also side planted window boxes that come in about four different sizes. One is 36 inches. You plant it exactly the same way you do the baskets. Just push some plants through the side holes, add some big center pieces in the middle, then tuck your plants along the edge. It definitely makes a difference getting one that's large enough.
For More Information Click here

Places For A Window Box
There are a lot of different PLACES THAT A WINDOW BOX CAN GO, They're called window boxes, but these type of planters are pretty versatile and they have a lot of flexibility. Most people think first about the idea of putting a window box underneath the window, which is logical. Let's look a little bit at the impact of what that does to the appearance of the front of the house.
For More Information Click here

Ideas For A Porch
Pamela addresses the front of a house like a PORCH. The porch is probably her favorite thing. In this instance she used window boxes on the railing, really big ones, they are four feet long. And then she used hanging baskets above them. Hanging baskets are a wonderful way to make the garden more vertical and to fill in wide open spaces.
For More Information Click here

LINKS:

Colmet Edging
Colmet - Home

Michael Carr Design
Home - Michael Carr Designs | Wholesale Pottery and Decor

Pamela Crawford
Container Garden Photos | Pamela Crawford | Landscapes

Color Choice Flowering Shrubs - Proven Winners
A Better Landscape Starts with a Better Flowering Shrub

Ball Horticultural
Ball Horticultural

Suntory Flowers
Home - Suntory Flowers

Southern Living Plant Collection
Southern Living Plants - Plants Selected For Southern Gardens

Plant List

Show #44/6605. Finishing Touches And Container Tips

Transcript of Show

It's been so much fun for GardenSMART to watch the display garden at Michael Carr's home come together. This garden was designed to really show off what containers can add to a garden. This episode addresses some of the finishing touches of this garden as well as container gardening planting and maintenance tips.

One of the often overlooked touches to a great design and install is the METAL EDGING that holds everything in place and keeps the garden lines crisp. Eric asks Michael to talk about one of the little finishing touches to his garden that Eric thinks is really important. It's not necessarily something that everyone sees but it's so important to the structure of the garden. And that is the metal edging. Many gardeners skip this step because they're into the plants and the design. Not that that's not important, but especially in this garden, because all the different curves and shapes are really important to the integrity of this design. You really can't do that without some kind of edging. And this metal edging is really perfect for this garden. Michael agrees, this was one of the last steps. Everybody else thought they were done. But this garden was a big project and he wants it to be around for many, many years, he wants to continue to develop it and let it mature. We have Bermuda grass on the outside. We know how Bermuda can be invasive. It's a forever battle. This metal edging is by Colmet it's a very high grade steel, locks into place and was very easy to install. What it does is establishes a border. We have a very particular design and curvature in this garden and if we allowed the grass to creep into it all of a sudden that shape would disappear. Therefore Michael wanted to create a border that when he uses the weed eater he will have something hard for it to go against and not have to worry about hurting his plants and whatnot. As a plus what he found out after the fact was that this garden is on a pretty big slope and before he put this edging in they were getting some really heavy summer rains and they were absolutely washing his mulch and soil right down the hill. Michael found out by leaving that edging up a little bit, which he believes is what you're supposed to do anyway that what it did was create a barrier that provided erosion control, it directed the water around the edges without washing it through the garden. He was surprised at how easy it was to install, it's not hard to put down. And also it is a lot more affordable than most gardeners might assume. It's got a beautiful natural look to it. In this garden, which is common to so many gardens, the edging is four inches deep. About half of that underground. So it's going to prevent grass rhizomes from encroaching. And, it's going to basically keep your mulch where you want it, keep your grass where you want it. Michael has created other gardens here before he found out about this edging and was using stones and whatnot. But they created cracks where where the grass would just creep right in. It was a big deal to protect his garden. If you want something that is a permanent solution, it's metal edging.

The world of containers has changed quite a bit in the past few decades. And the only thing that is certain anymore is that it's destined to keep evolving. From amazing new colors and textures to imagining new ways of using containers in the garden, designers are flexing their creative muscles and developing innovative new ways to incorporate plants and color into any space imaginable.

Pamela Crawford has been working for years on a system of versatile and smart containers that open up a whole new world of possibilities for the gardener. Let's take a look at these new designs and let our imaginations run wild. Eric welcomes Pamela back to the show. Thank you so much for joining us again.

Of course, we're talking containers today and we're going to dive right in. We're going to get our hands dirty and going to start with PLANTING A LARGE CONTAINER. One of Eric's favorite things to do on a Saturday is to tackle a big container planting. Go to the garden center, buy some plants that he thinks are going to work well and basically just make his own creation. But he wants to talk about the important things we need to know to make sure that we set ourselves up for success right from the very beginning, because there are some do's and don'ts, especially with these big containers. One of the important things we need to think about is to make sure that our drainage is going to be good and that we have the right dynamics for a successful planting. If there is a drainage hole in the bottom and you put the potting mix directly on top of that drainage hole, nine times out of 10, it stands a good chance of getting clogged. At that point, what you see when you look at the top of the container is it's filled with water. The potting mix is just like a mush. So why don't we catch that before it happens? The first thing that Pamela does is put in is some mesh right over the drain hole. Next she puts in some rocks that simply help the drainage, they help the water get down through that hole. Then on top of the rocks she places a piece of weed cloth. The weed cloth is going to keep the potting mix from getting all mixed up with everything that's underneath it. The weed cloth lets water through it, but it doesn't let the potting mix get through. Then we add the potting mix up to the level where we're going to put the plant.

Pamela is using a really spectacular planter that in itself is a work of art. What she doesn't want to do is overwhelm it with a whole lot of different plants. Therefore she's just going to plant one large plant and three smaller ones in front, just to accent the color.

Eric is ready to get started. We've got our drainage matrix in the bottom set up and ready to go so he's ready to ADD THE POTTING MIX. Eric is ready to get dirty so Pamela is standing back. We know that our big plant is going to displace a fair amount of the potting mix so we're going to leave a little bit of space to accommodate that. They start with a Ligustrum. The lime green looks stunning with the dark blue container. It really, really looks cool. We lift it out the pot. Grab the bottom and pull a little bit then put it in the soil. When you look inside you can see where the roots are in the container and the soil is lower. Eric is going to add some more soil before we put in our little small plants. He then puts the small ones in. Pamela is going to lean them a little bit frontwards because she wants to see the flowers and not necessarily the stems. Pamela calls the next step dibbing and dobbing, this is where you go through and simply add potting mix in the open spaces. This is easy and so much fun, too. Look at all the fun we're having. It's fun getting a little bit dirty sometimes. The next step and last step is fertilizer. Pamela likes to use slow release fertilizers. And looks for slow release fertilizers that are released based on time as opposed to water. She just sprinkles it on top. She's done this enough, it's kind of like a cook using salt and pepper she knows how much to use. Then she shakes the plants and the fertilizer goes down onto the dirt. Next they water it in, get it good and wet. Of course, they just put a bunch of brand new potting mix in so it's going to take a fair amount of water. The first watering is, of course, very important. Make sure to get all the big air pockets out. We might see some settling if we do make other adjustments like adding a few more handfuls of potting mix just to level things out to make sure that it's exactly where we want it. Voila, it’s done. But it was quick and easy, it took what, three minutes? It's fast.

From a design standpoint Pamela loves using tall thin pots. And it's not only ornamentals that we can plant in them, but for example one time she put a SQUASH in a tall pot and it just looked gorgeous. People couldn't believe there was a squash coming out of a gorgeous pot. Another time she planted different kinds of vegetables. A tomato with an eggplant, even a pepper, all in different tall pots. She put them together in a grouping and it turned out really, really handsome. Then when you go back to planting ornamentals remember our recipe about putting something spiky in the middle. She has a phormium in the middle surrounded by petunias. And then in the smaller blue pot she has coleus in the center surrounded by the white petunias. And they all look fantastic. There are so many options.

Oftentimes we need a tall statement piece, other times Pamela likes using shallower containers like BOWLS. She uses them on her front porch where you can kind of look down and see everything in them. They're easier to plant than one of these big containers. You don't have to do all the stuff with the drainage hole. Just be sure there is a drainage hole in the bottom. Put some really good quality potting mix in the bottom, plant your centerpiece, tuck your side plants around and you're done. A very good point with bowls is to look for the drainage holes because some bowls are designed to be bogs or little water features. So it's not a given that it has a hole in it.

What are the things we think about in terms of PLANTING BOWLS and using bowls in container design? One that Pamela really likes for fall bowls is using different colored pansies as the center plant and then coming in with some simple sedum plants around the pansies. That is simple and also really, really beautiful. What are some other examples? You can do an English garden in a bowl. In one, Pamela just used snap dragons in the middle then blue pansies and pink petunias around the edges. Simple, elegant, and perfect for a bowl.

One of the most dynamic container plantings that Eric has seen in a long time are the beautiful side planted containers. And it really brings a whole new dimension into what we can do with containers. Pamela has several really, really cool examples of side planted containers that Eric would love for her to talk about. Pamela shows Eric one which is really, really pretty. Once again these are planted in the sides as well as in the top. So they turn into is something more like flower balls. Pamela has placed several huge examples at the entry to the garden. Those baskets are quite tall and are supported on a pole that goes into the bottom of the pot. They are a very neat adaptation and have a pretty simple mechanism behind how they work. Starting with the actual basket itself we can see it's pretty straightforward.

Eric would like for Pamela to talk us through the whole process of planting these. Planting is really easy. You dip the root balls into water, squeeze them and slide them through. There are little cuts on the side that are actually adjustable. Plant the centerpiece in the middle then lean surrounding plants over a little bit to plant the edge. That's it. There are four different ways that we can basically show these off. They can be hung by a chain, they could be also like mounted on a pole, they could be put on a stand. But the one that Eric finds most interesting and most exciting are the COLUMNS THAT ARE MOUNTED IN A LARGE CONTAINER. It almost looks like a topiary of color. So you've got this bottom explosion of color, then you have this beautiful little globe of color on top of it.

And that mechanism is pretty easy to put together. Pamela shows us HOW THIS GOES TOGETHER. A brace goes underneath the pot, put a big screw in, put the pot on top with the screw going through the hole of the pot, now place the little widget on top of the screw from the inside of the pot and take the pole and screw it down. Then at the upper container area there is a supporting piece with clips on the side that clip into the basket itself. Super simple. And it is a wonderful, dynamic expression of the garden. It really is a show piece.

Let's talk about some winning plant combinations for our container. What do we do for a SHADY GARDEN? Pamela likes one particular container combination because it combines plants that are really pretty but at the same time they take shade. She's using a lot of coleus and also using variegated New Guinea impatients. These are regular New Guinea impatients that take shade. And in addition to that it has some pretty light pink begonias.

Eric likes it. But what if we have full sun? What is a great combination for that setting? For FULL SUN Pamela loves to use sweet potato vine. She has salvias in the top, pink salvias, that she loves with the lime green. Then in addition to that she has some sunpatients with dark leaves designed for sun. It's very bold, eye catching. Eric could see this as a central accent piece in the garden. It's something that definitely draws your eye across the way, you can't miss it.

Eric feels that one of the hallmarks of Pamela's designs are the fact she's not afraid of using BRIGHT BOLD, VIBRANT COLOR. Give us an example of say a full sun container planting you've done, that really features those electric colors. Pamela calls this one her crayon box garden and it's one of her most favorite containers or garden designs she's ever done. Eric is right her personal preferences is for color. But this is one of the first times she started mixing different colors of pots. She has aqua, yellow, green, even purple down at the end. It is loud. Then she went with bright colors, all kinds, of flowers. She filled her car up from the garden center three different times with blues and purples and oranges and reds and just planted rather indiscriminately. And she's really happy with the way it turned out. They are beautiful.

What if we have a LIGHT SHADE environment and want to try to highlight a lot of those same kind of ideas of bold, vibrant colors. What would be some good plant combinations for that setting? It is harder to get bright, bold color in light shade, but Pamela is still trying. She's gonna get it right someday. One particular basket on a pole features two different kinds of begonias. She has dragon wings and wax begonias. In addition to that she used the yellow California daisies in top. She didn't know that those would take light shade, but they loved it. She then added creeping jenny, which she uses in probably 50% of her designs. And that's where she gets that big pop of chartreuse, it's a plant that can take decent amount of sun all the way into almost some deep shade. Very versatile, it's a wonderful plant for containers.

One of the classic ways of using containers around the home is in a WINDOW BASKET. Oftentimes homeowners don't realize how enormous an impact it makes. It really is a wonderful touch. And there are some important things to know before you actually get started. Number one is the size of the window box. You need it to be at least nine inches deep and nine inches tall. That will give you enough soil so that you're not having to water your plants about every 10 minutes. There are also side planted window boxes that come in about four different sizes. One is 36 inches. You plant it exactly the same way you do the baskets. Just push some plants through the side holes, add some big center pieces in the middle, then tuck your plants along the edge. It definitely makes a difference getting one that's large enough. A lot of the window baskets that are out there or even planters are designed to be put on a ledge. Eric has some narrow little trough planters that he keeps his herbs in and they're about four inches deep, three inches wide. And yes, he's watering them twice a day but suffers through that because he loves the containers. But he could have avoided a lot of the headache just by going with something that has a larger reservoir. And that's the point Pamela was making earlier about large containers in general. If your space can accommodate it, it's always going to be better for the plants if we give them a bigger home to live in. Exactly. And when they have a big volume of soil, you plant them and literally they just start exploding with growth. They get just huge.

There are a lot of different PLACES THAT A WINDOW BOX CAN GO, They're called window boxes, but these type of planters are pretty versatile and they have a lot of flexibility. Most people think first about the idea of putting a window box underneath the window, which is logical. Let's look a little bit at the impact of what that does to the appearance of the front of the house. Here's an example of the front of a house before the window boxes are added and here's the house afterwards. A big change. Pamela also used a wooden column kit in between them with a big basket attached to it.

Now we could also use them on deck railings as well? We can use large ones. On the deck railing you can either just set it on top of the deck railing or they also come with J hooks that you can put into the side of the railing and hang them that way. If Pamela's putting them on a deck she will always use the toothpaste cap trick where she puts the tooth paste cap in between the two bottom corners of the container and the deck. This will keep moisture from building up on your wood deck. And that's important to remember. This is basically just a coconut husk liner. And if it's up against the side of a house or up against the deck it could accelerate some wood rot. By just allowing air circulation behind the planter it is a really helpful way of keeping everything healthy.

Another thing one can do on a deck, patio or whatever is to use the window box and then put a trellis behind it. As she did in this instance. The trellises are just beautiful and it really makes an elegant addition to the already pretty window box. It's a wonderful way of breaking up a large exterior wall of a home. It just adds a really nice accent piece. And of course the trellis is beautiful.

Pamela addresses the front of a house like a PORCH. The porch is probably her favorite thing. In this instance she used window boxes on the railing, really big ones, they are four feet long. And then she used hanging baskets above them. Hanging baskets are a wonderful way to make the garden more vertical and to fill in wide open spaces. It's hard to imagine the front porch in the peak of spring or fall without beautiful hanging baskets. It brings the color right to where we are.

Eric and Pamela next look at some other ideas for hanging baskets. Pamela points out a great idea for shade or light shade. It has all different colors of pink. It has pink begonias, pink coleus and it makes a really good composition. The next one Pamela calls the - coleus quilt - because she took every different kind of coleus she could find and mixed them together. And it worked pretty well. Eric loves it, loves it. Even if we don't have a front porch to hang a hanging basket on, there are other options. We can put a hanging basket on a post. When you see the difference between that front porch of a home without containers, then see what it does to the overall aesthetic by adding containers it just makes it a vibrant, cheerful, happy place.

Containers unlock so many new options for the gardener and have a way of elevating a design and creating focal points for visitors. There are so many amazing and wonderful ways that we can use containers, just seeing the incredible impact that containers have on a garden and home makes it all worthwhile to explore containers. Pamela, thank you so much for sharing your time and knowledge with. We had such a great time.

LINKS:

Colmet Edging
Colmet - Home

Michael Carr Design
Home - Michael Carr Designs | Wholesale Pottery and Decor

Pamela Crawford
Container Garden Photos | Pamela Crawford | Landscapes

Color Choice Flowering Shrubs - Proven Winners
A Better Landscape Starts with a Better Flowering Shrub

Ball Horticultural
Ball Horticultural

Suntory Flowers
Home - Suntory Flowers

Southern Living Plant Collection
Southern Living Plants - Plants Selected For Southern Gardens

Plant List

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FEATURED ARTICLE
GardenSMART Featured Article

By Susan Martin for Proven Winners
Photographs courtesy of Proven Winners

Have your hanging baskets seen better days? It’s normal, by midsummer they are ready for a little TLC to bring them back to their former glory. To learn more click here for an interesting article.


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