GardenSmart :: EPISODES :: 2020 show35
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#35/6109. Designing With Containers

Summary of Show

Michael Carr
Eric would like to know MORE ABOUT MICHAEL. On your pathway to becoming a renowned container designer, much of that came through the garden and there were many influences in your life that led you to where you are now. That is true and Michael feels it's a good story for other young people. When he was young he loved going to his grandma's house out in the country, but loved it because he wanted to go hunting and fishing. But before he could visit the pond his grandma always had to walk us around her little garden.

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Indoor Containers
Michael initially designed bigger pots for outdoors and things such as that, because that's where the demand was. But over the years he's had people say, this indoor thing is exploding like crazy and have asked him to kind of come up with some ideas on the INDOOR CONTAINERS. And it's been a fun category. He's created with different mediums. It’s basically three things - style - what it looks like, color and type of material. Some of the cooler things right now are similar to this boat, maybe one day down the road, it won't be so cool, but right now it's cool.

Click here for more info

Gardening On Decks, Courtyards And Patios
GARDENING ON DECKS, COURTYARDS AND PATIOS is way, way beyond a trend. It's now the new norm. Most Americans don't have large lots anymore, they have smaller areas like where Eric and Michael are standing. And containers are the natural choice from the standpoint of bringing nature right to your doorstep. They afford us the opportunity to grow tomatoes, to have flowers that attract hummingbirds, pollinators, butterflies, etcetera. And there are so many things that we can do with containers in small spaces.

Click here for more info

Containers In The Landscape
The guys go outside. Eric is impressed with the CONTAINERS IN THE LANDSCAPE. The fun little pops of color add so much and it's a great way of elevating certain plants. One beautiful container has ferns and begonias, these would typically be much lower to the ground but this container is over six feet tall. It’s a great way of creating stunning accent pieces. Eric would like for Michael to talk about, as a container designer, when you're thinking about a container in the landscape that you're going to put in your perennial border, what makes for a great landscape container as compared to something that would be on a deck or a patio?

Click here for more info

The Garden Changes Throughout The Year
Thinking about how a GARDEN CHANGES THROUGHOUT THE YEAR is helpful when using containers in the garden. There are times of the year that are more interesting than other times. And the flower or the bloom of a plant is kind of like the sneeze in the season. We don't have them, for the most part, for months and months and months and a container does a great job of drawing your eye into the garden, giving you that accent, that pop of color. Michael loves using bright, colorful containers with evergreens as statement pieces in the garden because in the middle of January, you've got something that still is interesting, it can still be a focal piece especially with beautiful large containers. They’re like little pieces of sculpture incorporated throughout the garden.

Click here for more info

Choosing Plants For A Container - Not Every Plant Is Ideal For A Container
Eric would like to talk about plants a little bit because NOT EVERY PLANT IS IDEAL FOR A CONTAINER. Although one can pretty much grow anything in a container in terms of say a perennial border, or a wide open space or sprinkling containers throughout the garden. But what are some plants that Michael has used in containers that he's particularly fond of or that do particularly well in containers? Michael loves dragon wing begonias, he loves purple fountain grass, things that will just fill it up. He feels they get better and better as the year goes along. Those are two of the fun ones. He also likes to plant hydrangeas to get some height. Then you can play around with all the different annuals and stuff throughout the year.

Click here for more info

Entryway Too Michael’s House
Eric next wants to talk about the ENTRYWAY TO MICHAEL’S HOUSE and the way he has used containers to create this wonderful welcoming environment as well as selecting some really high-impact color plants that pair well with the containers. From a designer standpoint, what was your thought process in putting together the entryway? Michael wanted it to be inviting for people that come to visit. He wanted it to be pleasant to walk through it, and wanted, quite frankly, to show off his containers. We all like to be proud of what we do, this was a great opportunity to show that off. He love caladiums and loves mandevillas.

Click here for more info

Make Sure It Gets Watered
The most important thing is to MAKE SURE IT GETS WATERED, irrigated however you want to do it - the drip system, a pot with a water reservoir, self-watering, something. Michael thinks that's where in his past he has messed up the most. You take care of it and then a week later you're gone, you're on vacation and it just dies. It's such a heartbreaking thing. So make sure you plan for the irrigation. Eric thinks a green thumb is really understanding that water is the most important nutrient by far.

Click here for more info

A Pottery Trial Garden
Eric feels this next area is a great example of diversity, of what one can we do with containers and thinks many people aren’t sure how to best utilize containers. One thing he loves about walking through someone else's garden and especially someone who's doing something different from what he would typically do from a design standpoint is getting ideas, as to how he can use these elements and translate aspects of that into his own garden. Michael has a unique opportunity with so many different pieces available to him. And just in the last little while, came up with the idea of a POTTERY TRIAL GARDEN, as opposed to a trial garden of plants. So what he's trying to do here is basically put out different colors and different shapes and put different plants with those containers, to let other people experience them and see what they might look like in their yard.

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2nd Home

Area On A Deck
This AREA ON A DECK is an example of a patio that had a couple of containers that needed updating. In one case this gardenia was in a plastic pot. The gardenia was getting fairly large. It’s a beautiful plant and adds so much to this patio, but it would get blown over in the wind and it just needed something more substantial. That provided a great opportunity to pick out something beautiful. Now it's more of a showpiece and it's really added a lot of, like fresh air, to this space. Michael felt this was a great time to think about design elements and stuff.

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Using Plants For Screening
We earlier talked about USING PLANTS FOR SCREENING, by putting this gardenia in a taller container, it makes that even that much more effective, it brings the plant up just a little bit higher or if you wanted a plant to be more compact, one could trim it and bring the blooms down. This is gardenia, after it blooms could be cut back and maintained more tightly.

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Brightening Up A Dull Spot
As we’ve discussed containers do an amazing job of BRIGHTENING UP DULL SPACES, whether they're in the garden or on the patio. This next area was kind of a dead space, it was a little tired, a little dark, and it really needed some new energy. Eric thinks these containers have definitely accomplished that. When Michael came here and saw this wall it was a lot of dark brown pots, same thing with plants, not a lot of color. He felt that by adding color, especially adding some white containers, it gave the area a little bit of excitement, a bit of pop. It worked beautifully, the area with the new pots now really makes this wall stand out.

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Picking The Right Plants
But in addition to containers PICKING THE RIGHT PLANTS will also bring interest and compliment a space. It's very important to think about maximizing the impact for different spaces in our landscape and garden. Eric loves these plant selections and they are all new plants. We've got Touch of Gold, it's a beautiful yellow variegation, if you will a super compact plant. It makes a wonderful compliment to containers. The dense, compact plant, and especially the yellow in contrast with a blue container is absolutely beautiful. Eric thinks that using woody ornamentals in containers is a great idea. Diamond Spire is a brand new gardenia. Eric likes the vertical accent of this plant. It's super, super dense and compact. When in bloom, it is covered in blooms and literally looks like a spiral of diamonds.

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Front Of The Home
But in addition to containers PICKING THE RIGHT PLANTS will also bring interest and compliment a space. It's very important to think about maximizing the impact for different spaces in our landscape and garden. Eric loves these plant selections and they are all new plants. We've got Touch of Gold, it's a beautiful yellow variegation, if you will a super compact plant. It makes a wonderful compliment to containers. The dense, compact plant, and especially the yellow in contrast with a blue container is absolutely beautiful. Eric thinks that using woody ornamentals in containers is a great idea. Diamond Spire is a brand new gardenia. Eric likes the vertical accent of this plant. It's super, super dense and compact. When in bloom, it is covered in blooms and literally looks like a spiral of diamonds.

Click here for more info

Architectural Purpose Of The Plants
Part of good design is thinking about what is the ARCHITECTURAL PURPOSE OF THE PLANTS we’ll be using. Eric also loves the vertical accent plants. One is Senecio Skyscraper, really a wonderful evergreen succulent plant. Planted with it is a ground cover rose. Eric loves ground cover roses, this is It's a Breeze. It’s a new one that's a really, really dark red. One thing that's great about this particular pairing, these are both plants that don't require a lot of water. This part of the house gets a lot more sun. So they're extremely well paired to be in a container together. What you don't want is a plant that requires a lot of water and a plant that doesn't take much water in the container together. Also notice the kind of the mirroring with this like glaucous, almost blue foliage that really works with the color of this container.

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Setting The Container Up For Success (Planting)
One of the questions we get from viewers all the time, especially with regards to planting large containers, is what is the correct way of basically SETTING THE CONTAINER UP FOR SUCCESS. Eric would like to mention a few tips that can really help people have more success with containers. What Eric likes to do is to put a piece of screen in the bottom of the container. That basically just keeps our potting mix from coming out the bottom of the hole. (In this case in place of screen we used a product named Drain Smart.) Also you don't need the volume of soil provided in the whole container. One doesn’t need to fill the entire container with soil, the root systems on most plants are not going to travel three feet down. And in many cases, the root systems with plants are going to be in the top 8 to maybe 12 inches, if they're quite stressed, maybe they go down a little bit deeper. But this is a really, really vertical planter. So what Eric likes to do is fill it up as much as a third or even more with gravel, or use packing peanuts. They don't typically break down and it's a great way to up cycle the packing peanuts plus it also makes your container a little bit lighter if you're going to move it around.

Click here for more info

LINKS:

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

Drain Smart
Best Solution For Planting Pots | Drain Smart

Plants
https://www.encoreazalea.com/
https://southernlivingplants.com/

Plant List

 

#35/6109. Designing With Containers

Summary Of Show

Container gardening dates back thousands of years. Our ancestors sought to bring their favorite edible and ornamental plants closer to home and provide desirable plants a hospitable environment to thrive. Containers give us the ability to have tropical plants in cold climates year round, as well as a pathway for turning a small courtyard or a deck into a garden oasis.

In this Episode GardenSMART meets a master in the field of container design. Michael Carr has spent the past two decades in the business of designing and building beautiful containers for gardens across the U.S. and well beyond. And, in doing so has traveled the world to find the best partners to build these beautiful creations. His world is an amazing blend of business and art. We have the pleasure of going behind the scenes to look into the magical world of containers. Eric welcomes Michael to GardenSMART, thanks so much for joining us. Michael thanks Eric and GardenSMART for the opportunity.

Eric would like to know MORE ABOUT MICHAEL. On your pathway to becoming a renowned container designer, much of that came through the garden and there were many influences in your life that led you to where you are now. That is true and Michael feels it's a good story for other young people. When he was young he loved going to his grandma's house out in the country, but loved it because he wanted to go hunting and fishing. But before he could visit the pond his grandma always had to walk us around her little garden. He says little garden, it was just little pots and all, that's just what she loved to do. And Michael enjoyed listening to her because it mattered to her. But in his mind he was just wanting to hurry up and get done so he could go fishing. But as he grew up, it stuck, you kind of come back to those kinds of things. Michael today loves the outdoors and nature and stuff. But gardening is now important too. His mom and dad did the same thing. They spent time in the garden, they took pride in what they grew and hey, here he is today, in his garden. So he thanks them all for their influence.

Eric notes that Michael's residence and garden are a display garden of sorts for containers. And it's wonderful to see all the different ways that containers can be utilized. They can be used indoors, on decks and patios. Eric would like to take a little tour.

The world of containers for indoor plants is just exploding and there are so many options, it's a totally different world than what it was decades ago. Eric would like for Michael to walk us through what's out there, what's available and what are some new and exciting indoor containers that Michael is particularly into right now.

Michael initially designed bigger pots for outdoors and things such as that, because that's where the demand was. But over the years he's had people say, this indoor thing is exploding like crazy and have asked him to kind of come up with some ideas on the INDOOR CONTAINERS. And it's been a fun category. He's created with different mediums. It’s basically three things - style - what it looks like, color and type of material. Some of the cooler things right now are similar to this boat, maybe one day down the road, it won't be so cool, but right now it's cool. It’s a piece that inside somebody's house, neighbors, family or friends come in, it's something to talk about. But at the same time, it's got to be applicable and practical, something you can grow plants in. So it's important to create enough space where you can actually put a plant in and it will stay alive.

One of the hottest categories right now is succulents, one reason is it's hard to kill a succulent. Just stick it in there, if you forget to water, it is still okay and there are so many different styles. It's just a matter of, how can we create pots that kind of match up with that? He has some indoor containers that are self watering. When growing up, he didn't know a whole lot about plants, but as he got older he started learning about them. He remembers hearing people talk about these self-watering containers as more like an African violet piece. Michael figured out by experimenting, that you can grow all kinds of plants in these containers. He puts ferns in a self-watering containers, what they used to call African violet pots. He has bromeliads in them. He had been told don’t put too much water on bromeliads, just kind spray them. But he found out differently. These have been in pots for probably seven months now. They’re doing great, he just keeps a little water in them.

Anyway, it's fun to play with it. Michael utilizes different colors, different materials. For instance, one is kind of a light cement, it has mirrors and things built in just to give it an interesting look. So they're either matching up kind of a home decor or creating something different. It's fun. It's a fun category and it's something you can do when you can't go outside.

Eric agrees. For many people, they don't have large gardens. The garden now has either moved indoors with indoor plants or it's moved into small patios. So it certainly makes sense from a horticultural standpoint that this is where the garden for many people is happening. And it's fun to see the world of containers recognizing that and offering significant new opportunities. And, really is a category that's exploding right now.

GARDENING ON DECKS, COURTYARDS AND PATIOS is way, way beyond a trend. It's now the new norm. Most Americans don't have large lots anymore, they have smaller areas like where Eric and Michael are standing. And containers are the natural choice from the standpoint of bringing nature right to your doorstep. They afford us the opportunity to grow tomatoes, to have flowers that attract hummingbirds, pollinators, butterflies, et cetera. And there are so many things that we can do with containers in small spaces. Michael created this space basically to enjoy nature, to bring it near. One can't plant a deck or a terrace in this space so you've got to bring the pots or planters up here. Michael and his family enjoy sitting here and enjoying the hummingbirds, the birds coming around and the bees. He basically created kind of a barrier, from the surroundings, from the wind, importantly it provides privacy.

Eric weighs in. Most of us today live in close quarters. He could almost reach out and touch the house next-door. He too has used containers for the exact same purpose, just to create a nice barrier, a space where we feel like have our privacy. And there are so many different levels that we can use with containers. There are containers ranging from tall to short, we can create almost vertical gardening, which is a wonderful way to use containers in a confined space. Using this method one can get so many more plants into a smaller footprint and also achieve the screening and the privacy that we so desire. And there are little small containers that double as water features which means we're able to bring the sounds of nature, the sounds of a river or creek, right to our patio or deck. It's amazing.

The guys go outside. Eric is impressed with the CONTAINERS IN THE LANDSCAPE. The fun little pops of color add so much and it's a great way of elevating certain plants. One beautiful container has ferns and begonias, these would typically be much lower to the ground but this container is over six feet tall. It’s a great way of creating stunning accent pieces. Eric would like for Michael to talk about, as a container designer, when you're thinking about a container in the landscape that you're going to put in your perennial border, what makes for a great landscape container as compared to something that would be on a deck or a patio?

Michael thinks it depends on the size of the garden. He put this area together about three months ago. He knew it was going to be a big garden and knew he would be putting in a lot of perennials and other plants which were going to grow taller. He felt he had to have some statement pieces built in just to showcase it all. He had wanted to show more of the pot in one instance, but over time this planting is so happy, it’s grown quite large and covers much of the container. He waters it and fertilizes and it has grown like crazy.

There are two things he does when thinking about pots in the garden. One is coordinate by color, typically the same color. He started out that way at one point in time with whites because whites pop, but then throughout the year he kind of gets bored and wants to see other pops of color, so throws in blues and teals and things like that. To him it's like a playground, he loves plants and love what pots can do to elevate plants up to where he can have different layers. He has some development going on behind his home so uses plants and containers to block things he doesn't want to see.

Thinking about how a GARDEN CHANGES THROUGHOUT THE YEAR is helpful when using containers in the garden. There are times of the year that are more interesting than other times. And the flower or the bloom of a plant is kind of like the sneeze in the season. We don't have them, for the most part, for months and months and months and a container does a great job of drawing your eye into the garden, giving you that accent, that pop of color. Michael loves using bright, colorful containers with evergreens as statement pieces in the garden because in the middle of January, you've got something that still is interesting, it can still be a focal piece especially with beautiful large containers. They’re like little pieces of sculpture incorporated throughout the garden.

Michael tried something this year that he has never done before and that is using ferns. He didn't know how it would work but they create a full look and the maintenance is really low. Then throw in plants with vibrant colors like dragon wings that come through the ferns and it is gorgeous.

Eric would like to talk about plants a little bit because NOT EVERY PLANT IS IDEAL FOR A CONTAINER. Although one can pretty much grow anything in a container in terms of say a perennial border, or a wide open space or sprinkling containers throughout the garden. But what are some plants that Michael has used in containers that he's particularly fond of or that do particularly well in containers? Michael loves dragon wing begonias, he loves purple fountain grass, things that will just fill it up. He feels they get better and better as the year goes along. Those are two of the fun ones. He also likes to plant hydrangeas to get some height. Then you can play around with all the different annuals and stuff throughout the year.

Eric does caution - we need to bear in mind with containers that it's not the same growing environment as a plant that's in the ground. A plant in soil has got a much larger reservoir for water, for nutrition. When we look at container plants and especially something like a begonia it's going to require a fair amount of water, they're going to be more successful if your irrigation situation is more regular. If you don't have a good irrigation scenario, in situations where you’re mostly going to hand water you should probably look for plants in containers that are more like succulents or have lower water requirements. Then when utilizing plants with higher water requirements, put those in the ground.

Eric next wants to talk about the ENTRYWAY TO MICHAEL’S HOUSE and the way he has used containers to create this wonderful welcoming environment as well as selecting some really high-impact color plants that pair well with the containers. From a designer standpoint, what was your thought process in putting together the entryway? Michael wanted it to be inviting for people that come to visit. He wanted it to be pleasant to walk through it, and wanted, quite frankly, to show off his containers. We all like to be proud of what we do, this was a great opportunity to show that off. He loves caladiums and loves mandevillas. Again, he loves the things that continue to grow throughout the year, they are not just a flash in the pan and done. As well he had to think about plants that are shade loving. So he used caladiums, coleus and things like that on the outside, overlooking the porch, they still get a lot of sun, so incorporates mandevillas and things like that. But again, what he looks for is that coordination between all the pieces with the texture and the colors and the continuous growth throughout the year. Not unlike a patio planting, it's a great way to have a high concentration of a lot of interest, introduce some more vertical elements and you're creating kind of this nice little private enclosed area that welcomes people into your living space. Eric thinks it's very well done.

The most important thing is to MAKE SURE IT GETS WATERED, irrigated however you want to do it - the drip system, a pot with a water reservoir, self-watering, something. Michael thinks that's where in his past he has messed up the most. You take care of it and then a week later you're gone, you're on vacation and it just dies. It's such a heartbreaking thing. So make sure you plan for the irrigation. Eric thinks a green thumb is really understanding that water is the most important nutrient by far. An especially good time to water is late in the evening, a plant going through the night dry is particularly damaging. A lot of photosynthesis happens when it's dark. So, look at your plant in the morning, look at your plant in the evening before you go to bed, then just kind of gauge where it is from a water standpoint. That really is the key to success.

Eric feels this next area is a great example of diversity, of what one can we do with containers and thinks many people aren’t sure how to best utilize containers. One thing he loves about walking through someone else's garden and especially someone who's doing something different from what he would typically do from a design standpoint is getting ideas, as to how he can use these elements and translate aspects of that into his own garden. Michael has a unique opportunity with so many different pieces available to him. And just in the last little while, came up with the idea of a POTTERY TRIAL GARDEN, as opposed to a trial garden of plants. So what he's trying to do here is basically put out different colors and different shapes and put different plants with those containers, to let other people experience them and see what they might look like in their yard. A tip. Underneath every one of these pieces he has actually gone to a little bit more trouble to level it out and put a big concrete pad or stepping stone or something wider than the pot underneath, just to level it out so that the ground doesn't give, it keeps them level. That is a great tip. It's especially important to think about what is under your container if you're going to set it out into the landscape. Eric has firsthand knowledge of another problem with pots just set on the soil. It will oftentimes create a situation where the water can't drain out of the container. When that happens we basically create something that holds water and that will clearly impact your ability to be successful as a gardener. Also in the winter time, it's going to soak that water up into it and it could create problems when water inside the container expands and contracts. And that has the potential to create problems with the container itself. So, the pad underneath pots on the soil is a great idea.

2nd Home

Eric and Michel visit another home to look at other ideas for containers. Eric kicks it off-Another great way to use containers is to breathe new life into a space. This AREA ON A DECK is an example of a patio that had a couple of containers that needed updating. In one case this gardenia was in a plastic pot. The gardenia was getting fairly large. It’s a beautiful plant and adds so much to this patio, but it would get blown over in the wind and it just needed something more substantial. That provided a great opportunity to pick out something beautiful. Now it's more of a showpiece and it's really added a lot of, like fresh air, to this space. Michael felt this was a great time to think about design elements and stuff. The homeowners were able, with Michael’s help, to kind of determine what they were looking for, what was special to them along with the color transition for this particular piece. For example the fact that they're living on a lake was a consideration, they enjoy turtles and other lake life. Michael shows us several containers that fulfill those objectives. This shows that it's good to have a lot of variety to offer.

We earlier talked about using PLANTS FOR SCREENING, by putting this gardenia in a taller container, it makes that even that much more effective, it brings the plant up just a little bit higher or if you wanted a plant to be more compact, one could trim it and bring the blooms down. This is gardenia, after it blooms could be cut back and maintained more tightly. Eric kind of likes letting these plants just demonstrate their natural habit and for the homeowner here, it also makes it even more effective at shading the property. Eric loves this container, it's a significant upgrade. It really makes that plant pop again.

As we’ve discussed containers do an amazing job of BRIGHTENING UP DULL SPACES, whether they're in the garden or on the patio. This next area was kind of a dead space, it was a little tired, a little dark, and it really needed some new energy. Eric thinks these containers have definitely accomplished that. When Michael came here and saw this wall it was a lot of dark brown pots, same thing with plants, not a lot of color. He felt that by adding color, especially adding some white containers, it gave the area a little bit of excitement, a bit of pop. It worked beautifully, the area with the new pots now really makes this wall stand out. Sometimes in darker parts of the garden, using something that is a super bright color, particularly the white containers almost makes it look like there's a spotlight on this area. Since this area doesn't get as much light, it really needed a little bit of a facelift. And that's what Michael loves about the versatility of containers.

But in addition to containers PICKING THE RIGHT PLANTS will also bring interest and compliment a space. It's very important to think about maximizing the impact for different spaces in our landscape and garden. Eric loves these plant selections and they are all new plants. We've got Touch of Gold, it's a beautiful yellow variegation, if you will a super compact plant. It makes a wonderful compliment to containers. The dense, compact plant, and especially the yellow in contrast with a blue container is absolutely beautiful. Eric thinks that using woody ornamentals in containers is a great idea. Diamond Spire is a brand new gardenia. Eric likes the vertical accent of this plant. It's super, super dense and compact. When in bloom, it is covered in blooms and literally looks like a spiral of diamonds. And it will go great with the white pot, the contrast of the green and white is stunning. Eric points out another plant, Autumn Majesty. This is an azalea that is going to bloom pretty much from spring through fall, so you get three seasons of bloom. It is also a nice dense, compact plant. And of course the pink to fuchsia blooms contrast with the blue container and is a really, really nice look. It’s a great selection. Azaleas, as you know well, are wonderful in containers. It’s a super, super durable plant, a great fit. The next plant is Early Wonder. Eric loves camellias, especially in shady areas. Look at the plants that have been selected for this area, these are plants that can work really well in shade. Early Wonder is going to be like a fallish bloomer. Most camellias are going to be pushed out into mid winter or even into February or so, depending on whether or not it's a sasanqua or a japonica. It has more of the traditional big pink double blooms, which is one of Eric's favorites and reminds him of the beautiful camellias that would be in his grandmother's garden. Also it is a super durable plant. It's going to last for years and years and years. The pink and the blue are great, great combinations. These are all great container plants. It also demonstrates what woody ornamentals can do in containers. We think oftentimes about perennials, annuals and ornamental grasses for containers, but Eric thinks that woody ornamentals in containers is a natural fit as well.

The guys look at another area, the FRONT OF THE HOME. Michael fills Eric in - When he first came here there were some very large pots, but they were more lateral rather than vertical. This home is so tall Michael just felt like he needed to take those away, put something vertical here, go up just to accent the home. These are the pieces he picked. Michael liked the color and liked the texture, what he calls a volcanic finish. Eric loves the container selections. They look great.

Part of good design is thinking about what is the ARCHITECTURAL PURPOSE OF THE PLANTS we’ll be using. Eric also loves the vertical accent plants. One is Senecio Skyscraper, really a wonderful evergreen succulent plant. Planted with it is a ground cover rose. Eric loves ground cover roses, this is It's a Breeze. It’s a new one that's a really, really dark red. One thing that's great about this particular pairing, these are both plants that don't require a lot of water. This part of the house gets a lot more sun. So they're extremely well paired to be in a container together. What you don't want is a plant that requires a lot of water and a plant that doesn't take much water in the container together. Also notice the kind of the mirroring with this like glaucous, almost blue foliage that really works with the color of this container. He loves that kind of mimicry, if you will, between the colors of the plants and the container. It’s impressive when you can kind of tie them together. Or use high contrast. With another container in this grouping we once again see Touch of Gold. With this beautiful turquoise color of the container, which almost looks like the ocean, combined with the gold of the plant it makes a stunning combination. Using either contrasting colors or colors that are comparable works beautifully.

One of the questions we get from viewers all the time, especially with regards to planting large containers, is what is the correct way of basically SETTING THE CONTAINER UP FOR SUCCESS. Eric would like to mention a few tips that can really help people have more success with containers. What Eric likes to do is to put a piece of screen in the bottom of the container. That basically just keeps our potting mix from coming out the bottom of the hole. (In this case in place of screen we used a product named Drain Smart.) Also you don't need the volume of soil provided in the whole container. One doesn’t need to fill the entire container with soil, the root systems on most plants are not going to travel three feet down. And in many cases, the root systems with plants are going to be in the top 8 to maybe 12 inches, if they're quite stressed, maybe they go down a little bit deeper. But this is a really, really vertical planter. So what Eric likes to do is fill it up as much as a third or even more with gravel, or use packing peanuts. They don't typically break down and it's a great way to up cycle the packing peanuts plus it also makes your container a little bit lighter if you're going to move it around. So in a container like this, you put your screen or Smart Drain in the bottom, run packing peanuts up to about halfway, possibly further then fill the rest of it in with a premium potting mix. And the potting mix is really important. In choosing a premium potting mix, there are three things we need to think about - air holding, water holding, nutrient holding capacity. In some cases it makes sense to have the moisture retention crystals. If you're not able to water your plants all the time, those can definitely help. Then Eric would recommend a slow release fertilizer either in your potting mix, or of course, on the surface of the soil, as you're planting your plants, many of those can last for four to six, even eight months and it really helps you out from the get go. So the planting media matters enormously. Don't skimp on that. If you want to have a beautiful container, potting mix is important.

Eric thanks Michael for spending the day with us. We've learned a lot in this episode. The marriage of great design and superior materials yields a container that will last for generations. It’s been a pleasure having you on the show. Michael responds that it has been fun, a pleasure joining us as we GardenSMART.

LINKS:

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

Drain Smart
Best Solution For Planting Pots | Drain Smart

Plants
https://www.encoreazalea.com/
https://southernlivingplants.com/

Plant List

 


   
 
FEATURED ARTICLE
GardenSMART Featured Article

By Kelsey Minalga, Ball Ingenuity
Photographs courtesy of Ball Ingenuity

The flower industry is busy bringing new and exciting fall plants to the mix. And one of the most popular accent plants for the season is celosia, also know by the common name cockscomb. To learn more click here .


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