Lisa Aiken, from Terra Firma Design,
shares a few tips on how to create the
perfect container garden.
Start by having a theme. Choose colours that accent your home's
interior and the surrounding outdoor furniture. Good quality containers
are pricey but advisable as they will survive the elements and
give your plantings the proper protection.
In deciding the size and number of containers, determine what
flaws and what features you want to work with. Most importantly,
your containers should be to scale with your surroundings, and
therefore, so should your plantings within.
Arrangements in large containers stay in the same
spot, whereas smaller lightweight containers can be moved to facilitate
idea growing conditions. The trays with wheel that often go underneath
pots are not ver reliable.
For balconies and terraces, containers must be very good quality
to endure the sun. Make sure they are UV protected, as the sun
breaks down the fiberglass/resin containers, plus, they have to
withstand our cold winters. Clay or ceramic will
break in the winter if they are not emptied. Paint the base
of cast iron planters with a sealer so the rust doesn't stain
your stone. Larger containers are always better than lots of small
ones, they make a bigger impact. Smaller containers are only useful
around larger ones when placed on the ground.
When using resin or fiberglass containers, especially if your
creation has height,be sure to add pea gravel for stability. Approximately
half a container full is required. Make sure your container has
a hole for drainage and top off with quality soil.
For no-fuss, no-maintenance, instant beauty, use artificial
plantings and add real flowers around the base of a large centerpiece.
No one will be able to tell that they are artificial, and they
can last up to five years outside.
When using cast iron containers, insulate your pot first by
using ridged foam insulation, or try adding popcorn chips to the
soil for added warmth in the winter.
When decorating your new containers, start with a centerpiece
and work around the perimeter, using cascading vines, annuals,
perennials, herbs, grasses, ferns and different tones of green
to create interest. If you are using an evergreen, you can replace
the perimeter each season, giving it a brand-new look each time.
Keeping your containers healthy can be a little more work than
a garden, as they can't store and obtain water as freely. An irrigation
system is the best choice, but if one is not available to you,
start with top-
grade soil with time released nutrients and moisture-storing components.
Don't forget - you must fertilize your containers every two weeks.
Don't overuse colours. Keep them in the same vein as the garden,
or use your containers to accent your outdoor furniture. White
is the perfect colour for shade gardens and fits with popular
Art Deco influence.
Use decorative props in containers, such as iron obelisks or
trellises for height and for vines. A garden statue creates great
interest, surrounded by your favourite flowers. Remember, pack
it in for that immediate, professional look.