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admin | Category: Living Container | 10.07.2015
Containers and hanging baskets of all shapes and sizes can add brilliant colour and texture to your landscape. The colors, textures and varying heights of flowers, plants, and accessories, (such as obelisks), provide an attractive contrast to the lines and architectural details of your hardscaping and add a focal point to any space.
The most important thing to consider when container gardening is choosing the right plants for your location.
Pots with a single upright plant—say, a rosemary topiary or a large hosta—leave a great deal of boring soil revealed. To add extra height, place a plastic rose collar (used to protect hybrid teas over winter) in the centre of a large container already filled with soil.
Garden designers always sing the praises of contrasting shapes, textures and shades of green found in foliage plants. When grouping different containers, raise a few at the back by placing them on bricks or upside down pots. The fancier, more ornate the container, the simpler the plant palette should be—a grouping of one type in a container can look sophisticated and dramatic. The farther away your container is from viewers, the bigger and bolder the flower and leaf forms should be. For a softer, more natural look, plant some trailing plants midway back instead of all along the edge.
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Egg cartons are great for starting seeds indoors while it's still too cold to plant outside. A great container gardening idea is an old sink - belfast sinks are ideal - perfect for root crops like carrots (I only grow Early Nantes carrots in containers - throughtout the summer). Tell our visitors how you were inspired and post up to four photos of your container ideas - the more unusual the better. Such baskets made of sea-grass, cane, wicker, and similar natural materials, may well suit both the modern home and the country house where antiques predominate. White or green plastic-covered wire letter baskets, meant for fixing behind the front door to catch the mail, can be used as wall baskets if provided with a back made from half-inch mesh chicken wire.
Some other container gardening ideas include a macrame string plant holder, which will hold a half or three-quarters coconut shell just as easily as an expensive small bowl. This reminds me that some friends have a large real shell hanging in their bathroom window, planted up with blue-grey succulents. It was once thought vital that all growing plants must be in containers with drainage holes. I was amused recently when I saw a kettle hanging in a cottage tea-room, filled with a mass of orange nasturtiums which were growing in a pot hidden inside the kettle. Some of my own very best effects with container gardening have been won with the help of some chunky white plastic buckets sold at our local fishmonger’s very cheaply. In recent years there has been a fashion for growing woody-stemmed plants such as fuchsias ivies, geraniums, and even mint, in upturned wine bottles, and you might wonder how this is done. Flat-backed and other containers of all kinds to hang on walls can be attractive and are, of course, like hanging baskets, space-saving.
A visit to an equestrian shop that sells bridles, stirrups, etc., can be interesting, for they will have (or will be able to get) those marvellous old-fashioned black metal hay racks.
While you are in the equestrian shop you may see that they sometimes stock deep green or white plastic feed and water containers designed to hook over the bottom half of a stable door.
Many different kinds of container are available and better things are offered each year – particularly for indoor sunrooms, conservatories, covered balconies and so on, or where some cover such as a porch is available.
From Italy and Spain, pottery hanging containers come in all sorts of shapes, including tub and butter churn shapes, updated versions of a Victorian idea though on the whole far better, being deeper and roomier so that less watering is needed and more plants can be accommodated. They are generally hand-painted underneath and round the sides, with somewhat brightly coloured flowers and leaves and this is a point to watch when choosing them, as it might be difficult to find real plants to tone in colour with the painted ones.
There are real baskets of various sizes to take pot plants indoors or in porches or similar situations. Out of doors, real baskets of suitable shape, as well as wire ones, make romantic-looking hangings for garden archways, pergolas, or the bough of a tree. Imagine a stone archway or porch overhung with pale pink roses and underneath it, a real basket holding warm pink begonias.
A point worth remembering always is that a basket should never be hung so high that it cannot be reached easily for either watering, tending, or taking up or down. If a hanging flower basket is to be hung out from a wall an arm or bracket support, in wood or metal, is required and this must be attached to the wall very firmly by means of screws and wall plugs (such as Rawlplugs and similar makes). It is good to have a number of interchangeable window planters so that jaded, faded plantings can be removed as they go over and be exchanged for fresh plants just coming up to their best.
Small coloured tin buckets which I have sometimes found in children’s toy shops and which I use as hanging containers, can be used equally well in window planter situations. However, it is not always possible to find space for accommodating a number of replacement planters, and in that case it is necessary to replant existing boxes more often, or else go in for permanent plantings. Although it will be easier if I talk about window flower planters, box-shaped plant holders can be placed in many different places around the outside of a house, not only immediately outside windows.
A plain wall which faces on to a wide walkway or a balcony outside a town flat simply asks for one or more flower planters, perhaps on each side of the door.
Windows with deep ledges of stone or tile will accommodate flower planters easily, and shelter the plants from the worst of wind and weather. There are other things about container gardening and the siting of a window box to which you perhaps at first, don’t think about. Many tall modern buildings seem to funnel the wind round themselves, creating strong airflows even on otherwise calm days. Indoor boxes, in sunrooms etc., are very easy to manage and can be filled with geraniums, begonias, succulents and any of the wide variety of house plants now available, or with pots of ageratum, French marigold, streptocarpus. A permanently planted window planter can form a screen to give privacy indoors – plants are far more interesting than curtains or voile, and block out far less light. I think that even against a frosted-glass window, a box full of colourful subjects has a part to play, as bold scarlets, bright blues, yellow, orange. Window planters can be constructed or bought to fit any size, type, or style of window, even the curved bays and bow windows. An idea I like is to use a wall or fence in the garden to support hanging planters; this is especially pleasing with the boundary wall of a patio or terrace.
Any flat roof, such as a garage or the top of a bay window, will take a long window box and look attractive with flowers hanging down.
Planted flower planters often look exceptionally well near a front door, perhaps on wide steps leading up to the door or on flat piers either side. A clever gardening friend of mine displays a collection of fine fuchsias each summer on homemade wooden staging – shelves of varying heights and widths – under the dining room window.
They can freshen up the front porch, add punch to your patio or add pizzazz to the poolside.
Container gardening is also a great way to be able to garden in small apartments or homes with no yards.

Plants have specific light preferences, so understanding how much sun your plants will get is essential to your gardening success.
A layer of attractive mulch, such as washed river stones, terra-cotta pebbles, glass marbles or sphagnum moss, adds a finishing touch and cuts down on water evaporation. In containers, use at least one-third foliage plants to set off flowering plants to best advantage. Even simpler: place a massive unplanted container—perhaps glazed Provencal blue or maroon—in a bed of groundcover under a shade tree to inject a punch of colour. Then, if one or two underperform or meet an untimely end, you can replace them with something identical.
But, when it comes to Container Gardening, it's not all about Annuals and Perennials in pots and hanging baskets.
In the green spirit of recycle, reuse and reduce, these suggestions make use of items you might normally throw away. The ones made of thick paper or cardboard are best for this purpose - they can be added to the compost heap later. Leave the sink as you find it, if it fits in, but you can also apply hypertufa treatment to it, a way of making it look and weather like stone.Hypertufa consists of cement, sand and fine peat blended together with water to make a moist consistancy. They can be of wickerwork and it is quite possible that the first ones were of plaited or woven rush or cane.
Fishing, shopping, and bicycle baskets are often seen used cascading flowers from a wall or ceiling, depending on their shape and style. Of course, they display plants very sympathetically, and they do not mind getting the occasional soaking so long as they are allowed to dry out in between. The proprietor told me she had different potted plants coming along all the time, to keep the display in the kettle fresh and attractive. They originally held deliveries of cockles, but hanging from a beam in my conservatory their depth allows me to grow many things from schizanthus (a half-hardy annual, which I allow to trail over the sides) to runner beans (which make a handsome jungly trailing plant), golden hop (another trailer for summer), strawberries, and so on.
You need a large bottle with a dimple in the bottom, then with a glass cutter or a special bottle cutter you make a round hole in the dimple of about an inch in diameter.
They can be filled with plants to stand in an alcove out of doors or on a deep window ledge.
They can be arranged together in a row or group, or singly, along a wall or trellis, round a door or window, or in a porch. Certainly they can look great with matching or toning flowers, but are easiest to use with foliage plants.
Like many available today, they have holes in the top to take wire, ribbon, or cord hangers. Though real baskets possibly work best when used to hold potted plants than actually being planted up themselves.
Or think of a white clematis over a trellis arch supporting a white wire hanging basket spilling with yellow double calendulas. One spring, for example, I hung a staggered row of wire mesh baskets the whole length of a very large wedding reception marquee which was lined with blue and white.  The moss-lined baskets held pale blue and deeper blue hyacinths, and were caught up with ribbons of darker blue and white. However, if for some reason you find you must hang a basket sky-high a stepladder or a handy bedroom window can come in useful although now baskets on adjustable chains or pullies are available. Special hanging brackets are available to buy; the metal ones not only look decorative but are strong and long-lasting and usually have a hook on which the basket can be hung. These need not necessarily be expensive – look around and see what you can find in the way of boxes. Three or four together along a ledge are quite expensive-looking and make perfect containers for growing flowers, herbs, or even things such as lettuces and strawberries.
The great advantage of the window position is, of course, that we can enjoy the flowers from indoors also. Indeed, you can make your front wall into a veritable hanging garden with a number of boxes or baskets glowing with colourful leaves and flowers. For instance, they are often best in uncluttered surroundings, not hemmed in by garden plants growing too close. So close to the house, they are often warm enough to risk planting out frost-tender subjects slightly earlier than with boxes which hang on the outside of a bay window, for example, where they are open to the elements with little protection. Handsome window planters can be contrived for every aspect, but if there is a choice, we should pick a spot which receives good light and has the possibility of sunshine for at least part of the day if we want to grow flowering plants or foliage plants with brightly coloured leaves.
This can be a real problem to the window box gardener and make hanging baskets even more difficult, for wind is drying (perhaps even more than sunshine) and rapidly takes moisture from the soil. You can place one long box or three shorter ones at the centre front of a five-section bay window, leaving the outer sections free to open, or you can have a separate box for each section. I once saw two large planters attached one each to the bottom woodwork of a pair of french doors. Where there is a rise of level in the garden it is often possible to build a low retaining wall with a flat top to hold boxes. A white flower planter or one painted to match the house looks as good above a window as below, and the effect of a short light curtain of flowers or leaves can be achieved if trailing plants are chosen. It is a nuisance if a ladder or stepladder is needed every time a box has to be watered (and very regular watering is necessary where flower planters are mounted high and open to sun and wind). Here a collection of one sort of plant – perhaps houseleeks, ivies, or even cacti in summer – make an effective display by being raised and presented to view in this way. This is a wonderful idea for showing off a number of interesting plants together where space is at a premium.
Water gardening is a great hobby, but the idea of water plants and maybe some fish also look great greeting cards, visitors to the door.
The container, which would not be designed to operate on, or water fountain, is set as to contain water, it can weaken the form and not wet. So you can get a variety of Container water garden and group them might make a layered group to create more visual interest and different heights.
You can create a Zen like container water garden in a low-profile container or one of Lotus water lily. More volume better than the temperature of the water flows are not strongly extreme values where most fish do not like. Plants in containers can offer great versatility as they can be moved around and the containers themselves can add to your outdoor decor. Observe the light in the area and select your plants accordingly… and don’t forget to fertilize and deadhead to ensure a nice, long bloom period.
Don't worry about the tight quarters: careful watering, quality soil, regular feeding and deadheading will keep your display in top shape. Or centre an intricate obelisk (with no vines on it) in a container of low-growing plants to serve as a piece of garden sculpture. Patio Gardening could be the way to unveil a spectacular Container Garden with not a lot of time and work! Other types too can be used eg those made of plastic, as long as you make some drainage holes.
You will need to drill holes all around the can to allow air to circulate.You might want to keep the can or cans outside, because they can start to smell as vegetable peels and other items start to decompose. Deepish baskets with carrying handles, woven from natural materials, can make original and useful containers for use under the cover of a porch, sunroom, etc., hanging from either a beam or a wall. Brightly-coloured plastic cutlery drainers, with a hole made in the back for a hook or nail, can look effective if chosen in a colour to match the house. They have no drainage holes, so care must be taken with watering and to ensure that they do not become waterlogged with rain.
See-through plastic or coloured glass looks sparkling in a window, and I  have seen a great green plastic ice bucket with a handle showing off dark-foliaged dwarf pink begonias.

You do not have to spend a great amount of money on containers — any dish, pot, or vase with handles can be hung just as well as stood, and I have seen keen flower arrangers display pot plants in a hanging piece of suitably-shaped driftwood!
Next cut a strong piece of galvanised wire about 9 inches longer than the bottle and push it right through, hooking one end over the base to secure it and making a hook at the neck end for hanging it up. They come in pottery, plastic, metal, basketware, and terracotta, some with holes in the back for hanging, others with built-in baskets, and some with a saucer as part of the hanger. They require an extra liner of fine mesh wire netting, and hold lots of moss and plenty of compost. I have a matching pair of these cottage window pots; they are a strange pink-red decorated with an embossed acorn design. The chains are designed for indoor hanging but as a temporary decoration for a party, a number along a verandah or below a balcony, each holding a plant, can be most eye-catching on a still summer evening.
A rafter or beam is best for hanging a basket from a ceiling or in a porch or conservatory, and this is simply a matter of a strong hook screwed into firm wood. Types in which basket and bracket are permanently fastened together have the disadvantage that, once fixed to the wall, the basket cannot be easily removed for replanting or other attention.
For instance, butchers often have empty plastic boxes which can be arranged together in a row.
Plain walls close to front or back doors make very suitable places for hanging planters however, and often a dull garage wall will prove to be an ideal spot.
Any spot we pass daily as we come and go is good; in such a place we can not only enjoy our window box all the time but also do a bit of speedy weeding or dead-heading as we pass and, most important of all, we can easily see when the box needs watering. Few of us consider whether the box will face north or south, whether the site is open to the prevailing wind, whether the building has deep eaves which will shelter the box from the rain, and so on. If you have such a site and cannot fix up any kind of wind filter such as a bit of fine trellis on each side, or even bamboo stakes placed fairly close together to form an interesting-looking shield, it might be best to cut your losses and take your window box indoors. Boxes may be hung under the window as well as actually on the ledge so preventing soil splashing on windows: with a light trellis bordering the window to carry climbers the effect can be quite countryfied. The easiest way is to make these of wood, covering the joins and linking them into one sleek whole planter with a long piece of pliable hardboard or thin plywood nailed into place and painted to match the house.
The hotelier owner, a keen DIY man, had fitted the boxes with very strong supports underneath and at the sides to take the weight. Similarly, a swimming pool or garden pond can have a backing of well-planted boxes or tubs. Often if the planter is suitably placed it can be watered from an upstairs window with the aid of a long-spouted watering can. I display plants in my conservatory in the same way, using old metal display units from shops.
Here are some of the water Container water garden ideas that will help you decide how you can create one or more.
These container water garden ideas acres also be used when working with traditional cleaning tanks. If the collar is visible after planting is complete, camouflage the plastic using a few clumps of moist sphagnum moss. A knitting needle is just about the right size for making holes.You can line the inside of the containers with paper towels to prevent soil loss through the drain holes. Anything large enough to accommodate the plant will work, as long as you add drainage holes.My suggestion is to look at all food containers before you throw them away and evaluate their usefulness.
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You'll need to add a little dirt to the pot in order for the composting process to begin.When you are ready to plant, you will mix one part compost with two parts soil or growing medium.
I love the wicker hanging birdcages for displaying a plant in a pot, in a conservatory or sun room. Slightly better, modern gardening containers do have drainage holes and are supplied with a useful built-in saucer which catches excess water underneath. Holding the bottle upside-down, half fill it with compost, pass a well-rooted cutting through the opening at the base, and you will see that when the bottle is turned the right way up the compost settles down, securing the cutting, which should grow into a fine plant, covering the bottle as it develops up around the sides. Or an ordinary plant pot can be used by twisting a length of strong wire around it, under the rim, with the ends of the wire formed into a loop for hanging. They make handsome decorations for terraces, patios, yards, wide passageways, balconies, sides of garages, or the entrance to a house or flat, and are excellent for places which have no garden at the front other than a paved sunken area. If the painted leaves are a blue-green, try planting up with grey-green ivies, sedums, and such, but if they are yellow-green then lime-green ferns, or the acid-coloured helxine (Mind Your Own Business) will be pleasing and effective.
The effect was very novel and much admired, and afterwards the bride enjoyed the plants in patio pots at her new home.
Swivel hooks are available which allow hanging flower baskets to be swivelled round so that all plants can get the light.
Sometimes garages are attached to the house but project forward a little way, so forming a cosy L-shaped alcove which nicely shelters the front door.
With this method, only the simplest of flower planters are required but the stronger they are the better when it comes to fixing the linking facia board.
The doors were in constant use, and the flower-filled boxes, moving with the doors, caused much interest.
The more prominently a box is sited the more it needs to look always well-cared-for and attractive. Probably the most popular idea is to buy a kit that uses Whiskey Barrel shaped design made plastic liner that fits inside to hold water while maintaining a rustic exterior appearance of whiskey barrels.
Groupings of plants that provide contrast, different textures and colors add to the appeal. Again you can be creative here and press shells etc into the surface or etch a design over the surface. The round ones in particular are prettier even than the conventional hanging flower baskets. There are also containers which are completely covered except for holes in the top to take the plants. I have also found similar planters on sale at a flower and plant shop and I understand they are available throughout the country. With either wooden or plastic-covered metal trellis you can grow clematis, climbing roses, or honeysuckle round the door.
One was given to me after I had seen it outside the shop when it was waiting to be collected by the dustmen.
Choose plants of different shapes and sizes, and make sure you have read how big they grow and can tolerate freezing temperatures. If you want to maintain a certain colour scheme or appearance, you can easily paint the containers with non-toxic paints - your kids would enjoy doing this and then they could follow up with sowing some seeds into their new container garden creations.
The kind of metal staging sold for greenhouses could be similarly painted and used outdoors.
Also consider the balance between the surface of the water plants so that it does not look crowded or overgrown. Your seeds will sprout and be ready for transplanting after the threat of frost has passed.
If you clean and dry your plastic ones, you can develop a recycled gardening container supply, reusing the cartons next year.

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Comments »

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