Sunday, June 1, 2014

Container Plants 2014, New Books, and I'll Be in the Garden

I've worked throughout the week getting my containers ready for summer.  You all know - it's a lot of work (and money!) - buying, hauling, arranging, planting, watering those babies.  I do love gettin' dirty and gettin' it done, though, so I keep doing it, year after year.
First batch of annuals
I had to make two trips, not really certain what I wanted to combine this year, and just how much I wanted in each container.  The zinnias were cheaper to buy entire flats than just half a flat.
Second batch of annuals, plus a few more lavender plants for the landscape
I like the cool colors of the blue/purples and white, so I made two containers for filling in gaps in the landscape that will transition well from summer through fall.  This year, I only planted one small potato vine in each of the landscape containers.  I love the chartreuse color, but I hate the water-hogging spuds that grow in the containers.  The vines go limp every day in hot sun, forcing me to water sometimes 2X/day.  This will be a test to see what difference, if any, fewer potato vines make.
Summer to fall container:  Indian grass (center), heliotrope, white zinnias, asparagus fern, and potato vine
In the courtyard, I switched the center Indian grass with a dracaena spike, and totally omitted the potato vine, but added more asparagus fern. I also added white pentas, which attract butterflies and hummingbirds, since I don't have a feeder in the courtyard area.  I also added diamond frost.
Courtyard container:  Dracaena spike, white pentas, heliotrope, diamond frost, asparagus fern, white zinnias
By the hot tub, I cheated by starting with two planters already created by the vendors at the market, and just added some diamond frost. Look closely at the photo below and you can see that I 'planted' the container within my own, larger container, and filled with old potting soil between the two.  My pots are more substantial and make for a stronger hold against storms.
Hot tub containers:  Coral geranium, blue lobelia, bacopa snowflake, and diamond frost
A little something I added to the containers in the courtyard by the sunroom doors this year was a $5 solar-powered path light (Lowe's) to each.  I love how it gives a moonglow to the containers at dusk and beyond!
Container in courtyard with solar-powered path light
Containers in courtyard, at dusk, with solar powered path lights
I had leftovers from my container plants purchased, so I filled other areas (there's another, rectangular container on the steps to the sunroom).  I also placed a few more plantings in the landscape.
Summer zinnias in front of the copper birdbath, summer and fall puttos
Summer zinnias added to the base of the trellis (behind hose stop), replacing spent daffodils of spring
I don't usually do anything on my front porch since I have annual beds along the entire front of the house and beyond the front gate.  This year, though, I have an idea if Mr. P. will leave me alone to do my thing. I had a cast iron urn for sale in the antique mall, brought it home, and I added a fern to it.
I have a couple of small cast iron chairs that have been on the balcony for years. I've ordered kelly green trellis print cushions to add to the chairs, but they haven't arrived yet. I want to change out the brown arc mat for a charcoal one to tie in with the other black accents.  I placed one chair on the porch before I brought the urn home, and Mr. P. didn't like the chair. My plan of adding one thing at a time until the overall vision appeals to my eye doesn't work for Mr. P. - he does much better accepting a look when a vision is complete. I don't think he likes the urn either, but when I had placed the chair there first, he liked the urn in lieu of the chair, so I took the chair away. We'll see where this goes.....

I received a few new books this week also.....
...and my goal is to be here (see photo below), and enjoying some time just being lazy.
Yard umbrella and lounge chairs, a shady respite in the landscape
There's still work to be done, though, before I can get too lazy.  I'm dragging my feet with staking the hibiscus, but I have started the tedious process.
Hibiscus, with garden stakes for support
There'll be many more of those squiggly stakes put into the ground, and then the stalks individually tied up as they grow well beyond the 6' stakes.
Tying stalks to stakes
It may be late June before I get to read those books (not to mention all the backlog of magazines I have!)........meanwhile, I'm doing my part to help the boost nation's latest reported 1% drop in GDP with buying all these plants (and books and magazines).
What about you?  Are you spending a small fortune on making your yard pretty or do you just leave it to do its own thing?  Are you still working on the details, or already chillaxin'?

If you'd like to see more of my garden progress so far, click on the following links:
Summer Annuals 2014, Patching Grass Successfully
A Spring Bouquet for You
And from earlier this year, I captured past container arrangements:
Plan Now! Annual Flower Container Ideas
I love your comments and questions, so feel free to spill the dirt!

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