Posted in gardening, The Southern Garden

Something a little Different

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I thought for the next few blogs I would show you examples of container plantings for your garden that I’ve designed in the past and they have been successful. Now that we are in full swing of the fall season selections of plants is bountiful time to let your imagination run.
A couple of housekeeping tips before we begin…
1. Have a plan before you begin. Know what pots you’re going to fill in where you’re going to place those pots this will give you an idea of the number of plants you will need and the type. You will need to determine whether you are planting in the sun or shade, in a windy or protected area, and in height traffic area.
2. Plan for the fresh soil and fertilizer you may need to plant the plants successfully.
3. Have all of the work around the area where you were going to plant done ahead of time do not want to have to trample those beautiful, freshly planted pots in order to trim behind them.
Now you’re ready to begin.
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Some start with the plant’s, others with the containers. I am the container first person. For me finding the perfect container is the baseline for starting your garden. Often the container will tell you by its shape and color what type of flowers are going to look best planted in it. If you’re using your own existing pots, step one is done for you. If you are starting’s from scratch, take the time to wander through the garden center to look for the container that meets your needs. There are some gorgeous containers in all different types of materials available to plant in. And don’t be afraid to try the unusual. Your garden personality will reflect your taste.

Ready? Great! Below you will find 3 different planters designed for the shade garden.
danis1This planter is a bowl shape ceramic in an unusual color of a purple/brown mix. The plants used are Alocasia Poly (center) Fern (Boston type) and New Guinea Impatiens.

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This container is a whitewashed french clay. The planter receives no direct light, so I mixed foliage and bromeliads to give a lush, colorful appearance. Plants used are Spathiphyllum (Peace Lily), Anthurium, Guzmania Bromeliad, Neoregelia Bromeliad, and Ivy.

ctsg50This planter is a washed stone. Plants used are Hawaiian Ti Plant, Coleus, New Guinea Impatiens, trailing Licorice and old-fashioned Impatiens.

Victoria LK Williams

Botanical Concepts

Posted in gardening, The Southern Garden

Think Outside the Pot

Wait!
Don’t throw that out, it might be the perfect container for the Fairy Garden you’re making, or to be used as an unusual container for the garden.

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It’s time we start thinking outside the pot. Look for different sources for containers and don’t always take the easy route. Simply pulling the first pot off the shelf can lead to ho-hum gardens. Why do this, when there are many other objects that could work really well as containers.
I can remember as a child, my grandfather taking an old tire, painting in the bright color and cutting the top part open making it look like a flower. Ta-da, my grandmother had a new planter and she would fill it with colorful pansies. Or what about the old fountain? You know, the one with the burned-out motor? Drain it, and create a statement planter.

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Maybe for the generations before us, this practice wasn’t so much about looking for unusual containers as it was being responsible; recycling old items into new purposes. Perhaps it’s time we all started being responsible as well. With so many beautiful object available, if you use your imagination you could turn into a great planter.
Have you ever bought something you really liked, used it to serve its purpose for a short time and then you’re tired of? A perfect example is an old metal fire pit purchased before the propane firepits became so popular. Our customer uses the firepit for a year and decided they wanted to upgrade to the propane style. So, we cleaned up the old brass firepit and made a huge planter which now sits on a wrought iron stand and is focal point to their patio.

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And just because a pot is broken doesn’t mean it needs to be thrown out, either. You’ve seen the pictures of a play pot laying on its side in a landscape bed with annuals just filling out across the ground? Once the flowers grow, the pot becomes a beautiful addition to the garden.
If you’re using a different container in your interiors, a simple way to avoid leakage is to line the bottom with heavy florist foil that will hold water and soil in. Don’t be afraid to try something completely different: a wood box, an old water bucket, an unused fountain or bird bath.
It’s time to start looking at the items around you in a different light; try to imagine a new use for something before you throw it away. That beautiful broken teapot, belonging to your grandmother, can be perfect for the miniature garden, or to hold an African Violet.

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Those are a few tips & I hope they work for you…
remember; think outside the pot!

Posted in gardening, The Southern Garden

A 6-pack of Flowers

Every gardener has their favorite flowers and shrubs. These are the ones we fall back on and use often. I have so many, but I thought I would pick six to share with you. These are not the typical geranium or petunias you often see in garden planters. Not there is anything wrong with either of those plants. The opposite is true, and I use them both and often.
But the following six flowers I like to use for special spots or containers. They may not be available all year long down here in the south, but when they are, you will find them on my plant pick list.
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Kangaroo Paw. This is a newish plant for me, and I am still becoming acquainted with it. It likes full sun, loose soil, and room to get some height. The foliage is a dark spikey green and the flower shafts rise from the center. The flower lasts for several weeks, paling as it matures. Multiple spikes will bloom at the same time. I have noticed that it does not like to be kept wet. Water thoroughly and let slightly dry between watering. A fertilizer for blooming flowers is necessary for continued spikes of flowers to be set. This plant can be mixed with other flowers or in a pot by itself.

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Cassandra. I love the deep salmon/peach color of these flowers. A plant that prefers light shade, it is a summer blooming plant. The flowers last, losing the lowest petals on the spike first. An interesting fact: if the flower spike is finished and water is applied to the spike, you can hear the popping of the seeds as they burst from the spike. Given the room, this plant can get 1-2 feet tall. Sniping off the dead spikes will promote fresh flowers. Because this plant is grown in lower light, do not over water.

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Mona Lavender. One of my favorites! The spikes of delicate purple flowers are long lasting and the plant, when properly pinched back, will become a full mound of color. Although, not a true Lavender, the foliage has a slight scent when crushed. This plant will grow in winter sun or partial shade. Unless in a shady area for the summer, it will not survive the intense summer sun and the plant will decline. Also, during the summer, it attracts soft scale and mealy bugs. A pretty plant  by itself or mixed with other annuals. This also makes a great bedding plant.

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Dragon Wing Begonia. The delicate drape to the foliage and the lacy appearance of the blossoms makes this plant a great hanging basket or a trailing flower in a container of mixed annuals. It is also good for under-planting a taller palm or flowering tree in a container. The flowers are available in red or a coral color. This begonia will limp along through the summer months but only in a shady location. It is best to cut the plant back as the heat begins, since the leaves will often turn thin and drop.

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Mandavillea Vine. The large trumpet flowers on this vine are a big attraction for butterflies, and if you’re lucky, humming birds. Available in white, several shades of pink and red, the flowers are slow to appear in cool weather. But the lush foliage makes up for the lack of flowers. I mix lower growing annals at the base to give extra color. Once the weather warms up, the flowers will show, and is best grown in full sun. The plant is a rapid grower and fertilizing with a blooming plant mix is important. Don’t be afraid to cut the climbing tendrils when they get out of hand. This will help the plant stay lush and produce flowers.

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Dipladenia. Similar to the Mandavillea flowers. But this plant is a great producer of consistent flowers. Blooms will slow if the weather is too cold. The plant does best to keep a bit dry. Tendrils should be cut back to keep the plant full. Because the plant spreads with in a container, it is best used by itself. This plant will last through the summer months, but the sun will scorch the leaves. Pink is the most common color, but can be found in white and a deep pink/read.

So, there’s my six-pack.
I hope you can find a place for them in your garden. I’m sure you will enjoy these plants as much as I do.
Maybe they will become your favorites as well.

Victoria LK Williams

Botanical Concepts