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The Potted Garden

By Kathi Thistlethwaite, Colorado Master Gardener

This is the final installment in the series on container gardening.

During the past year we’ve discussed potting soil, light, water, fertilizer, container-friendly cultivars, herbs, vegetables, living Christmas trees, and all the advantages of creating a container garden, both indoors and outdoors. Finally, let’s use imagination and creativity in the selection of containers and look at some fun and practical ideas.

Fabric planters or grow bags: These light-weight containers come in a variety of sizes and colors. They’re economical, readily available and easy to store in the fall after the growing season.

Rustic Yard Art: What could be better than re-purposing an object while enhancing our urban environment? Wagons, carts, footed bathtubs, wooden boxes, whiskey barrels and old furniture, even bicycles with handle-bar baskets can serve as décor while adding planting area and character to individual spaces. A market in Brighton, Colorado converted an old horse-drawn wagon into a beautiful flower garden that greets patrons when they come to shop. Imagine a mini version adorning a front yard with rustic charm.

Clay Pots: Terracotta is not an original idea by any means but decorating and creating different configurations with multiple pots is. Clay pots are easy to personalize with color for a garden or fence. Painting them (or spraying with a clear lacquer) also seals porous pots, helping with evaporation characteristic of clay. Instructions to build a plant stand and holders for pots are found on the internet, as are hundreds of ideas for using terracotta and mounting systems that take advantage of unused areas in the landscape. With a location change and a different color scheme, the six pots in the photos are transformed to enhance their surroundings in not much more space than a two-pot ground display would use.

Raised Garden: Raised gardens need not require a large growing area. When space is limited, a small, elevated version may be the perfect solution. The raised garden below is approximately 2’ x 3’ with a height of 3-1/2’ for convenient gardening. There is enough room here for container-sized tomatoes, peppers, herbs of all kinds or the garden can be completely devoted to flowers, almost like an expanded window box. Systems like this can be purchased already assembled or built at a reasonable cost. Again, this takes advantage of otherwise unused space, offers mobility and is ideal for small porches and balconies.

Enjoy the process of planning and planting containers. Even when space is limited, they give the gardener a sense of tilling the soil and the tremendous satisfaction of watching something grow.

Bon jardinage!

See this link for back issues of “The Garden Buzz” and past container articles.

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