may 20 container workshop: win a ticket!

WE CALL IT ‘CONTAINED EXUBERANCE,’ the container-garden workshop that garden designer Bob Hyland and I do in May each year at my garden in the Hudson Valley of New York. You can buy a ticket for one of the two sessions on Sunday May 20 – or enter to win one ($45 value) by commenting on this story about the event, which always sells out….so hurry.

We’ll cover everything from what makes a good potting medium and how to read the labels of those bags at the garden centers, to why not just annuals but also perennials and even trees and shrubs belong in outdoors pots (a philosophy I call, “Hosta pot? Why not?”). Also on the agenda: overwintering tactics for “investment plants” so you can learn to extend your palette without breaking your budget. (Those are some examples in the photo shot by Bob, below, of Phormium and succulent pots in his garden. Want more pot ideas? All my container-garden stories can be browsed at this link.)

And, of course, design and staging of pots in the landscape—speaking of which, the workshop includes a garden walk-through at my place. Featured plants–really special things from Landcraft Environments–will be available for purchase as well, so that registrants can get the raw materials for their own home creations.

‘Contained Exuberance’ Details

SUNDAY, MAY 20, two sessions (9:30-12 noon, and 1:30-4 PM): Contained Exuberance: container-gardening workshop at my garden (Copake Falls, New York–about an hour from Albany, two and a half from Boston and two from the New York City metro area) in collaboration with Bob Hyland of Loomis Creek Gardens design firm. $45 includes beverages and snack. Registration and class details.

How to Enter the Ticket Drawing

WIN ONE OF TWO TICKETS we’re holding back from sale by simply commenting below and telling us one thing you’re planning to put in pots at your place this year. Note: If you want to guarantee a spot at the workshop, go ahead and purchase a ticket and we’ll refund your cost after the drawing, which will be held after entries close at midnight Friday, May 4. Winners will be chosen art random, using the tool from random [dot] org.

  1. Millie says:

    This looks like a great workshop. I would love to do containers. For some reason they seem so much less daunting than beds.

  2. Dita says:

    I bought a lemon cypress on clearance at a chain garden center. I am going to try it in a pot – and then try to overwinter it. The combination of the lemony scent and the chartreuse color called out to me.

    Last summer I got a beautiful container gardening book out of the library. In it, the authors had an oakleaf hydrangea in a pot. I had to move my oakleaf hydrangea and thought it would be neat to try with one of the offshoots – but it doesn’t look like it survived the winter. I’m giving it another month or so to grow a leaf, before calling it quits and throwing it into the compost pile.

  3. Kevin says:

    Hi again, My mad passion is for Brugmansia’s with Gloriosa Lillies rambling up their thick branches ;a match made for sure! Count me in Thankyou!

  4. Karen Budnick says:

    So far I’ve lined a large basket with landscape cloth and planted herbs and some “Cherries Jubilee” mounding Nasturtium seeds in the basket as well. By the way, my daughter and I just visited “Broken Arrow” nursery and all I can say is “Wow!” I felt like a kid in a candy shop! I brought home oak leaf hydrangea “Snowflake” and a precious little dwarf lilac in a deep red wine color.

  5. Kenzie says:

    this looks like fun. My neighbor just let me know about the blog, and with all the rain today I’ll be catching up…I am planting in several long abandoned whiskey barrels in a farmyard/courtyard for this summer, and I’m thinking edible/flower combinations. I’d love to broaden my horizons with a workshop!

  6. Lucy says:

    I have lots of containers and this year I’m going to try to fill them with plants I’ve not tried before. One of the ideas I have is putting in a Japanese red maple ( as I’ve seen at Maragate’s place). Mine has been grown from a small seedling in my garden and has survived to be about 2 feet. I’m excited.

  7. Stephen says:

    Herbs! my small windowsill in the city is my only gardening space, so herbs are a must for me – beautiful AND edible!

  8. Jane in CT says:

    Was in the workshop a couple of years ago, and enjoyed it thoroughly while it sparked many ideas I’ve used since. A refresher would be nice…

  9. Anne says:

    I am going to try a Japanese red Maple in a pot… asked for one for mother’s day. We’ll see if the boys come through!

  10. Kae Kotarski says:

    I have collected old rusty containers that I plan to plant with a variety of succulents. I also have been trying to grow dwarf type shrubs and trees in containers, but with less than desirable results. Maybe I could get some pointers from the workshop!

  11. Fayal Greene says:

    Loved the workshop last year – or was it the year before. I’m mixing up much better potting soilnow and planting my pot essential, Fuchsia ‘Gartenmeister Bohnstedt” (sp?) I love it, hummingbirds love it, what’s not to like?

  12. Dan says:

    I always need new ways to liven up my pots and hanging baskets. Just took a cool class about alpine troughs at Wave Hill.

  13. margaret says:

    ENTRIES ARE NOW CLOSED….and the winners are:

    Susan Soriano and Millie. I will be in touch by email.

    Thank you all for commenting — obviously next year we need four sessions, not just two, of this workshop — and you gave us great idea for what topics to cover. Wonderful!

  14. Cathy McEneny says:

    Gardening in the ground is tough and short seasoned on the exposed site where we live in southern Albany County. I use pots to grow annual flowers and herbs, sometimes from seed! (My veg are in raised beds.) I plant up baskets for shade that are easy to move around (ferns by themselves, or a mix of hosta, bleeding heart and white impatiens – predictable, but easy and pretty.

  15. Nolie Freeman says:

    Thanks Margaret. Put together an entire sheet of ideas based on Taunton’s “Container Garden” idea book and your website. I got all my big/medium/small pots out last weekend and have been filling them all week. One of my perennial (pun intended) favorites is ‘Tangerine’ agastache. Hummingbirds love it and it smells terrific. I plant three in a black plastic pot that is inserted into a tall, turquoise glazed pot (bottom filled with bags of styrofoam peanuts). The agastache overwinters in a cool shed in my zone 4 garden.

    1. margaret says:

      Wow, Nolie, I will try the Agastache if I can find it. Great idea, thanks. Haven’t had it in a long time!

  16. Amanda Merritt says:

    Elephant ears are going in a half barrel” Thailand Giant and Silver Dollar. Not very subtle, I know. I just want to have the extremes of huge and tiny. I’m also trying Winchester Cathedral in a barrel – three of them. We’ll see. I need more barrels….

  17. Joan DiMonda says:

    Purchasing two papyrus plants sounded like such a great idea last February as I perused garden catalogs while snowed in in Vermont. Now I’ve got two tall planters staring at me and I’m getting cold feet. Would love to attend the container workshop! J.

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