Perennials and containers make a great gardening combination, but they will quickly go to pot if overlooked in the winter.
View full sizeTerra Nova NurseriesPerennials and containers make a great gardening combination, but they will quickly go to pot if overlooked in the winter. Plant roots are vulnerable to freezing in containers, where the soil hardens more than it would in the ground.
Although ivy-covered walls have long added charm to cottages and prestige to universities, today’s vertical gardens take things to a whole new level.
Imagine a wall covered in lush plants, alive with color and texture, creating a sense of calm and seclusion.
There is also a place for vertical gardens indoors, replacing artwork with framed combinations of indoor plants that purify the air to create a healthier home.
Vertical gardens use little to no soil so thirsty roots need proper watering to keep plants from drying out.
When choosing plants for a vertical garden project, look for combinations that blend colors and textures, create contrast, and add fragrance.
Do-it-yourself versions use angled planters with built-in watering features that attach to a wall with brackets. Create a vivid floral display with spikes of lovely flowers in shades of blue, pink or white. Stems and branches -- particularly those on small trees and shrubs -- need protection from the deep chill as well as from snow and ice. Slow-release fertilizers applied before the first killing frosts arrive boost plant hardiness.

Anything from evergreen boughs to blankets, straw to shredded bark can be used to safeguard pots and their contents. Move potted plants into an unheated garage, basement, greenhouse, cold frame or similar site that matches their hardiness zone. Potted perennials that are tough enough to endure at least a couple of hardiness zones colder than where you live are likely to survive extended exposure. All rights reserved (About Us).The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Oregon Live LLC. Rather than resorting to traditional ivy that covers walls but adds little interest, or grouping containers that add color but take up precious space, vertical gardening takes full advantage of the largest expanse available—those barren walls that were previously off-limits for gardeners.
Instead of a summer afternoon with heat radiating from the walls, driving you inside to the comfort of air conditioning, vertical gardens keep things cool, with surfaces only 4-5 degrees higher, and sometimes actually cooler, than the outside air. Instead of a kitchen windowsill crowded with potted herbs, a vertical garden creates edible artwork you can snip and sprinkle directly into sauces, salads, or marinades. Professional installations use pipes or hoses to drip water throughout an absorbent material that holds the plants, sometimes taking advantage of the circulating water to incorporate waterfalls, adding soothing sounds and flowing movement to the peaceful setting. Popular favorites among professional designers include bromeliads, bird’s nest fern, euphorbia, heuchera, hosta, spider plants, pathos, nephytes, and sword fern. Depending on your ambitions, there are professionals who will create custom designs, off-the-shelf plans that guide you through the process, and ready-made systems at your local garden center. Newer options have modular systems, enabling you to build a vertical garden from as few as a single cell to as many as fits the wall. These little flowers make quite a statement by themselves or in hanging baskets and combinations.

Plant in cottage or wild gardens, in large groups to emphasize its color, or in mixed container gardens.
Heat-tolerant plants thrive in hanging baskets, patio planters, mixed containers or in the garden as a small-scale ground cover.
That keeps slugs and other insects from laying eggs in the residue, according to a "Simple Sensible Solutions" brochure from Walters Gardens Inc.
They are also a great way to expand a vegetable garden, elevating compact edibles like lettuce, spinach, strawberries, pansies, and geraniums above the reach of rabbits and other unwanted visitors.
Less elaborate options available to homeowners have built-in reservoirs that make watering as simple as filling a container.
Trailing vines add fluidity, while scented herbs like sage, mint, rosemary, lemon thyme, and oregano attract butterflies and hummingbirds.
Professional installations include a frame that attaches to the wall, a waterproof barrier that protects the wall, an absorbent material that holds the plants in place, and a submersible pump and tubing to circulate the water.
These are a great way to get started to see how a vertical garden fits into your overall lifestyle. With this built-in water system, vertical gardens are well suited to arid areas, keeping things from drying out like they might in a horizontal garden. Succulents like aeonium, stonecrop, hens and chicks, and sedum are particularly well suited for verticalscaping, adding compact sculpted forms to the overall design while tolerating dry periods better than most plants.

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