IT WOULD BE HARD not to notice them, because they’re everywhere. Succulents, including many Sedum and Sempervivum and other less-familiar faces, seem to be trying to tell me something this season, as in: “We’re all the rage.” At garden shows and nurseries, and even in my own garden where a few pieces fell out of a pot and planted themselves as if to say, “I belong right here, Margaret,” I feel as if 2013 is the Year of the Succulent. I’m paying heed by starting a succulent wall planting; using them in pots, and more. Some inspiration, and a progress report: [read more…]
It needn't be an "annual" to belong in a pot. From "houseplants" doing outdoor summer duty to all manner of edibles and tropicals and even perennials, shrubs and young trees, the moveable garden.
USUALLY ON MEMORIAL DAY or thereabouts, I teach a series of container-garden workshops in my garden with my longtime friend Bob Hyland, a garden designer and former public-garden administrator and nursery owner who always dubbed our duet “Contained Exuberance.” Want to take your pot designs up a notch this year, without getting overwhelmed? Read (and listen) on: [read more…]
IPLANNED TO WRITE about how to save on expensive potting soil in big pots, and other container-garden tricks, but I guess the local skunks wanted to be written about instead—those naughty tricksters! No sooner had I potted up spring pansies and violas, than the creatures of the night unpotted them (upturning the empty plastic nursery pots I’d used as a “false bottom” to conserve soil). The score, after two nights of mischief: Skunks 2, Margaret 0. Other key spring tasks here involve recycling at its best, too: I’m making new beds and smothering weeds with cardboard and newspaper, and of course there’s the biggest garden recycle operation of all, how to make compost, and lots of it. (More photos of the 2013 edition of the Pansy War and my temporary solution on the jump.) [read more…]
DEAR GAYLA: Well, this is just perfect. You are publicly blaming me for the fact that you are about to be overrun by giant Nicotiana in your smaller garden, and I am in turn holding you to task for the fact that I am suddenly obsessed with growing dwarf tomatoes in pots in my bigger one. (At least we’re keeping all our finger-pointing in one botanical family: the seductive Solanaceae.) Seriously, though: Thanks for the unusual tomato seeds you sent, and the advice on how to grow them. Thanks to you, I’m starting tomato seed today. [read more…]
NEXT TO CANNAS, which are about the easiest non-hardy bulbs or bulb-like plants to carry over year to year carefree in the cellar, I’d have to say that Eucomis bicolor, the pineapple lily (Zones 7 or 8 to 10), is winning me over for its similarly cooperative nature and long season of showing off. I enjoyed the potful that a friend gave me so much that this spring I ordered a dozen bulbs, and put three or four in each of several 12-inch containers. From the first purple-spotted leaves and stems to the crazy flowerheads, above, a winner. How to grow, and overwinter, Eucomis in pots.