GardenSmart :: EPISODES :: 2006 show8
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Show #8

We pride ourselves in visiting top resorts and gardens across the country, but we also know our viewers like to know what other home gardeners are doing. In this show we visit a loyal Garden Smart viewer who shares with us the latest in plants and containers. Container gardening is one of the hottest trends in gardening today. In this show we look at some of the hottest new plants, containers and garden art, demonstrating how they all work together.

Peter Cilio is creative director at Campania International, a manufacturing and design company located in Quakertown, Pennsylvania. They manufacture garden ornaments, including containers, statuary and architectural elements for the home and garden. Peter's family has been in this business for about 30 years. Campania was started in in 1983 and during this time they have seen a lot of changes in the garden industry. People are starting to think of their garden as an extension of their indoor space, they are taking their interior decorating outside, into the garden. It's become another room in their house. A big part of that trend has been an increase in the use of color. Last year Peter's company introduced a line of what they call Lipstick Containers. These are brightly colored red, orange, yellow, green and blue containers and they have been extremely popular. When Peter and his group design a new line they keep 3 ideas in mind - a classic style, a contemporary style and a whimsical style. Each year they try to introduce containers as well as statuary fountains in each of these 3 categories. One of the wonderful opportunities with container gardening is the ability to mix and match, to move your containers, to change with the seasons. You can change your gardening decorating scheme throughout the year simply by changing the location of your containers or the plantings within them. It's a simple way to make your garden interesting throughout the 4 seasons.

Joe next meets Mindy, a Garden Smart viewer. Mindy has a yard that is steep, thus doesn't lend itself to planting in the ground. When first moving here she thought she had landed on the moon, it was bare and rocky. Therefore she focuses on containers and the plants that go in them. As a beginning gardener she focused on annuals. In April, like everyone else, she ran out and bought anything she liked and stuck them in containers. Then she started thinking more about designing those containers, utilizing color, addressing heights and making the containers more interesting. Next Mindy learned about perennials. In the beginning, she was somewhat disappointed with perennials because they were mostly green, they didn't have the bright colors of annuals and they didn't bloom for a long periods of time. But in the wintertime she enjoyed them because there was something in those containers, she still had plants. Once spring sprung, she learned that spring offered wonderful rewards. It was fun to watch those things that you planted last year come back when she had thought they were sticks. And, most importantly, they looked better than ever the 2nd year.

Mindy likes yard art and ornamental, architectural, pieces in her yard as well. She finds these items at garden centers, catalogues, even online. She has a bench, a birdbath and some bunnies, frogs and a fountain. This year she found a wonderful column with a planter on top. It is so pretty it could go in the house. She found wonderful chocolate brown containers that go great with the house. The brown glaze goes well with the front door and the accent tone matches the stone beautifully. She thinks these items really warm up the outside. In the chocolate brown containers she has planted Alstroemeria, which is a great flower for an entryway. Its color really pops. Alstroemeria is very popular in the florist business they are great cut flowers. The term is called migrating. Take flowers from outside, cut them, take them indoors and they're equally beautiful indoors. They migrate indoors.

Mindy shows Joe her attempt at pot-scaping. She has placed this grouping where everyday she can see them from her kitchen window. This allows her to see what's going on. The wall behind them protects, particularly the taller plants, from the wind. Joe likes this setting, thinks Mindy has done an excellent job. It has multiple levels, with low plants, taller plants, single column plants, even a vine to take the eye all the way up the wall which softens the wall. She has incorporated yard art, particularly her favorite - bunnies. Joe even likes the empty pots, they make a perfect invitation for birds or butterflies. Just add a little water, put a stone in the middle, it makes a wonderful landing pad.

They next talk about some specific plants. The first is dwarf Echinacea, called 'Pixie Meadowbrite'. She chose this variety because some coneflowers get too tall, this is more compact and it does well in a container. 'Art's Pride' is another, it too doesn't reach the typical height of a coneflower, instead it grows to about 20 inches and puts on a lot of flowers per plant, often as many as 15 flowers. Mindy has always wanted to replace her fake ficus tree with a real tree. She saw the red Flowering Maple and loved the blooms. It looks tropical, so why the maple tag? That's because it's not truly a maple. It is an Abutilon. It is called a maple because the foliage looks like a maple leaf. It will need to be brought indoors in the winter because it prefers a warmer climate. Mindy's friend Nicholas suggested she plant some really cool 'Golden Zebra' daylilies, which have striped foliage around the base of the tree. She has a Meyer Lemon because she had always wanted a citrus tree. It's a great choice for anybody. When it gets cooler it will also need to be moved inside but will it overwinter in the house perfectly. There is no reason lemons won't grow for the better part of the year. One of the bonuses of citrus trees is the fragrance of their flower. It will flower year round in the right conditions and the smell is exquisite. Another container has Royal Velvet Supertunias, their color is brilliant and bright. Here she didn't want a glazed container to take away from the bright purple flowers, thus chose a muted, yet elegant container. To accent the container, she then tried to pick up the muted color of the Verbascum. The container has a smoky look which matches the Verbascum perfectly. Verbascum is famous for flowering around the top 10 inches or so but all the foliage is at the bottom. The petunias at the bottom will cover up a lot of those legs, especially when the container fills in. This will provide the best of all worlds because the beautiful Petunias hide the legs of the Verbascum. It all ties together making a beautiful container. Mindy has a scented container because she loves the aroma. Here she has 2 scented plants, an Everblooming Gardenia and a Winter Bee Spanish Lavender. The Gardenia is bothersome because its leaves are yellowing. Joe says not to worry. Gardenias are prone to yellowing foliage this time of year but fertilization would be a good thing. He recommends an all purpose fertilizer, a 10/10/10. If liquid iron is available that would be good as well. The chlorotic leaves are an indicator or fertility and iron deficiencies. Joe likes the fact that this container is close to 2 entry points, the garage and the front door. It's a great place for a fragrant container.

Eric Johnson provides his weekly update. One of the most frequently asked questions we receive is how to keep deer from browsing on tender garden plants. Deer will eat just about anything when they get hungry and it's tough to find a chemical that's safe for the environment, safe for your loved ones and safe for the plant. There are a number of exciting organic chemicals just on the market that are great for keeping deer off your plants. A couple of sprays will keep your plants deer free for weeks. Visit our web site for more information -, click on GARDENING TIPS.

Joe likes sitting on Mindy's deck. It's peaceful and a beautiful spot for her containers with the lake as a backdrop. However, this area does get quite a bit of sun. Here Mindy is trying some tropical plants. One area has 2 levels because of the steps coming up from the driveway to the deck. She's planted two tropicals right next to each other, which provides a feeling of a tropical arrangement. This fills the space and the different foliage is dramatic. One of the plants is a Variegated Shell Ginger, which has striking foliage and if lucky will have a nice bloom later in the spring. She has combined it with a Blood Banana and a 'Tropicanna Gold' Canna. They are great plants together. Joe notices an Australian Tree Fern in a stunning container. The Tree Fern is tropical but prefers more of a shady environment. Because this area gets a lot of sun Mindy needs to be careful, if tip burn or damage from the sun becomes apparent be sure to move this container. That is one of the best parts of containers, they can be moved, they're mobile. She does have a shadier spot picked out if need be. She liked the container and liked it in that spot, thus put it in this location. Joe says we're all guilty of finding a place we want to put a plant without regard to the ideal conditions for the plant. Mindy has always loved roses but knows roses can be tricky, they can get diseases. She felt that by putting Roses in a container she could better control them. She has been thrilled with the success she had with her Knock Out Roses, thus was excited when she heard there was a Double Knock Out Rose. She has one. Knock Out Roses are a great choice for somebody intimidated by Roses. They're resistant to a lot of disease, like black spot. And they make a great rose in a container.

Mindy next shows Joe the container that sold her on perennials. Last year when she planted this combination it did well but she wasn't excited because she never saw any flowers blooming. This spring she got her reward. It is as beautiful as she had hoped plus it was great during the wintertime. In this container is Fernspray False Cypress, also known as Chamaecyparis. If nothing else was in this container it would look great. Joe loves the cinnamon tips, they add a nice dimension. Beneath that is a Pieris, this is a variety called 'Prelude' and it stays small. Pieris prefers more of a shady situation. Although the container is in full sun the Chamaecyparis shades it and creates a micro environment that provides the conditions it needs. Also included is a Tiarella or Foam Flower. It's easy to see where this plant gets its name. It ties in perfectly with the other plants and is gorgeous. It also prefers more of a shady situation but again, the Chamaecyparis provides shade. When stepping back and taking in the whole picture this container adds a lot of interest, everything ties in beautifully together. Mindy's added a mini gazing ball as another point of interest and the bunny feet that hold the container look great, plus they provide drainage underneath. Without them the deck could get stained. Mindy has stained her deck before, thus has gotten a pressure washer which helps a lot. Mindy calls this container A Sunny Walk to the Woods because this leads to the woods, where there is a lot of shade. Thus we're going from sun to shade. In this area Mindy has utilized a colorized, dark brown mulch around her plants. It really makes them pop. Everyone loves the way it looks. Mindy says she has gotten some new gardening things this year. She has always wanted a potting bench. This one is perfect, it helps keep everything organized, she knows where everything is. The best part is that it has a real sink with real running water, simply hook it up to the hose. It's perfect for potting plants, allowing for very easy clean up. She has also gotten a hose reel cabinet for her hose in the front yard, it hides the hose, so it's not just coiled on the ground. Another thing she's added is a workbench. She ordered it for her husband and when he didn't use it right away she started putting her gardening things in the cabinet. Mindy says now he's not getting it back, it's hers. Again, she loves knowing where everything is, being organized.

They next look at some of her shade loving plants. One is a Kaffir Lily. It will have a flower that is bright orange on a spike. In zone 7 it can't be left outside when it blooms which is late winter or early spring but it can be brought indoors. Don't put it in a west or south facing window because that's too much heat and light at the same time. Monitor the moisture and don't let the soil dry out too much. Next we view a beautiful Hosta. Joe notices the blue of the foliage matches perfectly with the blue of the container. He's not sure one would notice the blue of the Hosta if it weren't for the container. There are thousands of varieties of Hosta, thus there's a Hosta for every situation. As long as it's shady you have many choices. Mindy had gotten tired of the deer eating her Hostas, thus put these in containers and placed them close to the house, making them safer. In the container, during the winter nothing was there, but in spring it came alive. Hostas enjoy being in containers, they like their roots chilled a bit, then perform better the next season. The next container has a Columbine, 'Woodside Gold', which Mindy's friend Nicholas suggested massing and combined it with Black Mondo Grass, Ophiopogon 'Ebony Knight'. It's a slower grower, performs well in the shade, even sun. Joe likes this plant, thinks it works in most settings. The plant in the front is 'Stop Light' Foamy Bells. That is a great name because the leaves are green with a red vein. Mindy is confused because it is called a Heucherella. Joe explains, it is both, that it is a cross between a Heuchera and a Tiarella. It's a shade loving plant and there is a lot of variety in these plants. Mindy chose these plants because she had wanted a container with black and chartreuse, it's a hot combination right now. She did that and Mindy likes the result.

Joe thanks Mindy for showing him around her garden. She has learned a lot and is always learning new things and Joe appreciates the tour. Hopefully many of the lessons learned today will benefit other Garden Smart viewers.

Links ::

Campania International
Wayside Gardens
Garage Workshop
Pressure Washer
Potting Bench/Hose Reel

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GardenSMART Featured Article

By Dan Heims, president, Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.
Photographs courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.

So many perennials have faded, lost their verve, stopped blooming. Enter the coneflower! In the opinion of Dan, the author, of this article Terra Nova has created, in form and function, the best coneflowers on earth. To learn more click here for an informative article.

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