It's official! IT IS SPRING!!!!!
Warm weather is on it's way. It will be here before we know it!
Since I have been doing this blog thing for over a year now, I will be revisiting a few posts from the past. Especially my "gardening" posts.
It is entirely to early to plant flowers in the ground! But it is not too early to start planning. As I mentioned in my post here, I plant little in the ground except for perennials. Most of my annuals planting are in containers. (Perennials are plants that come back every year...annuals have to be replanted every year!)
When most think "container" or pot planting, they think along the lines of traditional flower pots. Not so...you can plant ornamentals (flowers, ferns, even hostas, etc) in just about any type of container, as long as you can get decent drainage (tiny holes in the bottom).
So NOW is the time to start hunting for containers at thrift stores and flea markets....old crocks, tin buckets, old grill bases, etc. And don't forget our old friend, spray paint. You may think the pot or container is an ugly color...no biggy, just hit it with a little spray paint.
I acquired some old pots from a neighbor...kind of ugly and worn. I sprayed them with some bright spray paint I had on hand and they are perfect. After a few years of water and weather, they have begun to chip again...but you know what, I kind of like the look!
Even if you don't have a lot of space for flower gardening, plan on one or two "statement" pieces for your patio or porch.
This is my all time favorite...
This pot is made up of one Kimberly fern, 3-4 impatiens and a few caladium bulbs. A beautiful display costing less than $15! And if you have smaller pots you can always cut the fern into 2-3 sections at the root and make several pots.
Here I discuss creating an inexpensive and easy "base" in containers and window boxes for planting. Rocks from the yard and cheap soil topped with potting soil! Potting plants doesn't have to be expensive. And truthfully, they are easier to maintain in the heat of the summer...less watering and NO weeding!
Even if you have existing flower beds that you have planted in the past (like I do) you can scatter a few pots here and there in your beds...plant those with colorful annuals! The affect is the same and the work is minimal! Your knees and back will thank you!
Window boxes are awesome...this is one I put in my bedroom windows last year. It was really beautiful...for about a month. It just dried out to quickly and the plants didn't thrive. This year I am thinking about filling it with small potted plants.
Live and learn....
A few things I have learned over the years...
1) ALWAYS repot plants your buy. Those plants where started many months ago in a greenhouse and chances are the roots are a bit crowded...so repot it. If you can't put it in a larger pot, at least break away some of the root system and repot it with some good potting soil. And whether you are planting in the ground or in a container, add a slow release fertilizer. I like Osmocote.
2) Plant in containers. Obviously that is my thing now because of the "age factor." But even if you are young and spry, find a few unusual containers and fill them with a mix of flowers...it really does make a statement! And if you honestly don't have a green thumb but want a little "pop" on your porch or front flower bed, try the fern and flowers in a container...beautiful and super easy to maintain!
3) DO NOT ignore your regional "freeze date." And if you are really smart, add a few weeks to it...in other words, be patient. Two reasons...one, you risk loosing or seriously damaging everything you have planted if you get a late freeze...two, home improvement stores and even a few nurseries will have "damaged" plants from late freezes. SUPER cheap way to get some flowers...especially perennials which can be expensive! Trust me...a little time and they will be good as new.
4) Ask questions of someone who KNOWS about plants. Not the kid standing there watering them! Sun? Shade? How much water? When will it bloom? These are all things you really need to know. Most plants come with little informational tags...read them!!!
5) Mulch. I have so many flower beds that I buy in bulk...like by the trailer load. I learned the hard way to use only natural hardwood or cedar. I loved the colored mulches but I read it has a negative affect on the quality of the soil and the growth of the plants. May or may not be true but I did start having trouble with my annuals after I began using it...so I don't use it!
Gardening is trial and error. Not every planting with thrive...not every flower bed will turn out the way you want it to! I have lived here for 14 years...I still can't figure out what to do with my front flower bed!
Gardening is a great way to get out and enjoy a beautiful day. And like any DIY project, it is "trial and error." Best advice I can give is JUST DO IT! You may find you like it!
Your yard should be an extension of your home!
I'm so excited for spring this year...but our "freeze date" is mid-April and I know better than to get in a hurry. It is bad enough that I have a bazillion hostas that inevitably have to be covered at least once or twice because of a late spring freeze.
Be patient...but plan ahead! You just have to "think outside the pot." (HA! Get it...outside the pot...I amuse myself!)