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…]
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.
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.
THE FLYER PIQUED MY INTEREST: Dan Benarcik, part of the creative team at Chanticleer Garden in Wayne, Pennsylvania (a must visit!), would be lecturing nearby about “The Art & Craft of the Garden,” and how to personalize a garden using artistic elements, found artifacts, and ornamental containers. I quickly got a ticket—you can, too, for the June 16 event, including garden tours and a garden market, in Spencertown, New York—but also asked Dan to share some of his ideas and images (including the bromeliad-artemisia- urn-and-melianthus moment at Chanticleer, above) with us, no matter whether we can attend. A Q&A with this enormously talented plantsman and garden artist. [read more…]