Containers are a lot of work! However, they add such spice to our gardens and to our life during the growing season. Every year I say to myself that I am not going to plant many containers - well, you know where that ends up. Sometimes when I say this I plant more than the previous year! Why are containers so obsessive? Well, my one conclusion is that they are gardens in a pot that can be moved just about anywhere. I am not talking about a basket of petunias, but more like a well thought out combination of plants, you know, the thrillers, fillers and spillers. There is nothing wrong with containers of one type of plant, great accents, but they are not the interesting garden effect of plant combinations.
Containers can be just a variety of colors or a variety of plants that compliment your home. They can be a combination of perennials and annuals. Manytimes, I plant perennials in my containers and then transplant them to the border gardens in the fall. Right now I have a little plant nursery going in my raised bed vegetable garden, sedums, mums, asters from my fall containers. I will transplant these into the garden border when it warms up.
I use water absorbing crystals and water absorbing fabric in my containers. http://www.gardenerssupply.com/
Many of the plants that we put in containers grow huge and require much more water than their pots can hold. Container plants also require consistent fertilization, at least every two weeks. I use a heavy duty 10-52-10 Peters, Schultz or Vigoro liquid fertilizer in all of my containers. With this super bloom formula, it is necessary to prune every so often to keep the bloom going.
I see many people buying containers already in full bloom way beyond the time of year for which they are purchasing. They look great now but will soon begin to shut down for the season. Even cutting back will not help some of these containers survive because the stems have already turned woody. Remember to buy the ones that are full but just beginning to flower.
I am very excited about trying out the Art in the Garden method of selecting a painting and using the color combinations in that painting. I do containers not only for myself but for friends and family. I have already selected a Cezanne for my daughter-in-law's large pedestal containers in a dark brown iron that are on the walkway up to her Nantucket style home. The colors will be white, deep pink, light pink, yellow, blue, light green and brown. This is exciting to steal the color palette from our great artists.
I think I am going have Henri Rousseau on my patio!