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Brand New to this. HELP ME!!!

Brand New to this. HELP ME!!!
Posted by Ali from Quebec, Canada on 2001-04-10 12:54:11

I read some of the posts on this list, and they really do sound like Greek to me. Let me introduce myself. I'm a University student in Montreal, and recently moved into my very own place (YAY! freedom!). I've always had houseplants, and they've done well. In fact, my collection is now at about fifteen plants in my care...impressive, eh?
Anyway, given that there is a hint of summer in the air, I want to plant flower boxes on my balcony, and I've estimated that there is room for three long plastic boxes from the hardware store. I would like some (i.e. lots of) colour and all round cheer, but,
HELP! I've never done this before. No idea what seeds to use, what flowers actually grow in containers, no idea when and how to plant them, how long they will flower for, what soil to use, what fertiliser (if any) etc etc.
My balcony gets huge amounts of sun in the afternoon and evening, What to do?
- Ali
- Confused urban apartment dweller
  • Your "neighbor" in Burlington
    Posted by Ber from VT on 2001-04-17 10:18:59

    Hi Ali! Congrats on your apartment and your naturally green thumb! I've always admired the balcony and window box gardens when I've strolled Montreal's streets in the summertime. I'll bet some of your neighbors could advise you well.

    I'll start with the basics: containers should have good drainage, and most window boxes come with drainage holes in them. Any old potting soil will work, but if you don't want to be a slave to watering, you can add some water-holding polymer crystals to the soil. YOu can find this stuff at most good garden centers and in catalogs -- it goes by the name Hydrosource or Terra Sorb. A little bit goes a long way.

    Are you sure you want to start your plants from seed the first year? They can take a long time to grow to the blooming stage (2-3 months) but they are more economical.

    What colors do you like? Do you want trailing/climbing plants in the mix? Ber

    • Flower Boxes
      Posted by Ali from Quebec on 2001-04-17 17:32:38

      Hi Ber,
      Thanks for the reply! Since I posted my previous question, I have pretty much come to the conclusion that I'm better off buying plants from a garden centre and transplanting them.
      Now the issue becomes what to plant, and when? Since you are from Burlington, you must be pretty familiar with the climate, is now a good time to plant?
      Also, what species should I be planting? I'm partial to colour explosions, but I definitely want some diversity in my flower boxes. I was contemplating between Vinca and Pansies as the main flower motif, but I don't know what foliage plants to use along with the flowers.
      I actually also want to have a hanging wire basket from my front door, and I know I should plant some kind of ivy in there, do you have suggestions for flowering plants to put in baskets?
      At the risk of not being brief, could you please explain the whole annual perrenial thing to me!! I was always under the impression that you just dismantled the window boxes and baskets at the end of the season and re-planted them in the spring. But apparently you can leave perrenial plants in there or plant bulbs in the fall or plant self-seeding species...aaaaaah major confusion happening here!
      - Ali

      (Sorry about sounding scatter-brained, I just a crazy day at work!)


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