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Entries in DIY (2)

Monday
Jun232014

Container Gardens and Hanging Baskets

 

Decorative urns are perfect container gardens.

A large and grand garden is a desirable amenity for your home, but not everyone has the time or energy to care for a large garden.  That doesn’t mean your property can’t shine with color this season.  Flower pots and hanging baskets are a great way to add a splash of color and accent your existing landscape.  Container gardens and hanging baskets create a lush contrast at entrances, patios, decks and pools.  You can buy precast stone, concrete, iron, glazed ceramic or composite planters.  Another option is to get creative and repurpose old wheelbarrows, cauldrons, or whatever you envision to hold enough soil for your flowers. 

Once you have chosen containers and baskets suitable to your unique style, place them in areas where they will be focal points.  It is important to have them in place before filling them with potting soil and plants, otherwise they will become too heavy to move.  If your container is very large it is smart to cut down on the amount of potting soil you put in.  The most efficient way to cut down on wasted soil is to fill half the container with packing peanuts, mulch or bubble wrap underneath a layer of permeable landscape fabric to keep the soil medium separated.  This will also help with drainage.  If your container lacks holes in the bottom, it is a good idea to provide a generous amount of course material in the bottom to prevent root rot.

Now it is time to decide what plants to put in your container.  Your plant palette can range from tropical to woodland depending on the microclimate conditions of your property.  Avoid crowding your container with too many plants because they will grow throughout the season, and you will avoid too much plant competition and die off.  When it comes to design, choose plants that follow these guidelines and you will be left with a stunning display year round. 

  • Container with Canna lily, Croton, Angelonia, and Sweet Potato VineTHRILLER: Start with a tall specimen that will extend above the other plants.         24+ inches. (Purple Fountain Grass, Dracaena, Canna Lily, Banana, Hibiscus or other standards)
  • FILLER: Plants that will establish a full and lush appearance of color on the ground plane.  6-18 inches. (Lantana, New Guinea Impatiens, Begonias, Coleus, etc.)
  • SPILLER: Plants the will creep down the side of the pot and create a flow of texture. (Licorice Plant, Scaevola, Verbena, Sweet Potato Vine, Vinca)

As the growing season continues, keep an eye on your containers and make sure that they get ample water in full sun.  They should be watered everyday and sometimes twice a day during extreme heat in the summer. If your planter is in a shady spot, it may require less watering such as every 2 days.   Apply fertilizer throughout the summer to promote healthy blooms.  Container gardens are a great way to provide quick and easy seasonal color changes in your landscape.  They require less maintenance than a large garden, but keep in mind, leaves naturally yellow and die, so remove them to promote new healthy growth.  For example, pinch Coleus flowers to prevent the plant from stretching and will result in a fuller plant.  Express your unique self through container gardens and hanging baskets this summer.  Goldberg and Rodler has professional landscape designers that can help you find the perfect plants for your containers and are more than willing to offer our expertise this season.

Written by Nick Onesto

Wednesday
Oct172012

Watering an Orchid with Ice Cubes

Look at all the new growth!

I have never had good luck with orchids and other indoor plants. Turns out I have been too caring, too loving and too nurturing and that has been detrimental to their health. Less is more! With my newest orchid, the instructions that came with it said to water it with ice cubes. I thought they were crazy, but since it had an unlikely survival rate I figured what could be the harm? So once a week I put three ice cubes on top of the growing medium, under the leaves. I ended up with little white bugs in the medium and all my flowers fell off! What did I do wrong?! I scoured the internet looking for help. The most common advice was to let the orchid dry out. If you can see its roots, let them go gray, and then you can start watering it again.

Fertilizer Ice CubesSeveral weeks later, I try the ice cubes again, but now less often, maybe once every two weeks. It is working! I'm getting new growth! New flowers! I'm great at this! Then it says in the instructions to fertilize after the orchid is done blooming. Hmmm, I'm doing such a good job, it hasn't stopped blooming yet! When I look at the fertilizer directions, it tells me how much to use, and to fertilize each time I water it. They give me a very small fertilizer to water ratio and I don't know what I'm supposed to do with all the extra. How long will it keep? I only have one orchid.

So I take a water bottle out of my recycling bin and wash it out. I mix up a water bottle full of orchid fertilizer and then pour it into an inexpensive ice cube tray. I figure I can freeze these forever and I won't have to worry about overfeeding my orchid. Since the ice melts slowly through the medium it can be absorbed better by the roots. Orchids don't like to sit in water and this has been super successful for my orchid. I am getting so many flowers and buds for new stems! I'm thinking about getting another!

 

UPDATE: 10.17.12 My orchid is blooming amazingly!!! Check it out!