Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Inland Northwest, High Desert
February, 2004
Regional Report

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Think out of the box. Think up. This moss basket in a wrought-iron frame hangs comfortably from the top of the fence. Suddenly, you think, "The fence is a blank canvas! What else can I do?"

Contain Yourself

We are busy. And a lot of times, grouchy. We've spent a goodly portion of the day listening to a cacophony of car horns, sirens, and much more. None of that looked good, smelled good, or offered a shred of solace, either. And then we're home.

Home is where we need to find peace, tranquility, escape from the daily grind. And though we know it ought to be in a garden full of soothing greens, uplifting colors, and calming scents, that peace often remains elusive. Because we feel we don't have time to garden.
But we do.

No matter the size of your outdoor space, no matter the absence of time, you can have a garden in pots. Container gardening gives you anything you want without digging, without weeding, and without taking up lots of space.

Think Creatively
"Avoid ordinary," advises Brian Minter, of Minter Gardens in B.C. "We've moved away from just putting plants in a dish, to art." Anything can be a container as long as it drains. Pots don't have to match; in fact, they probably shouldn't. Think different sizes, styles, shapes, and locations.

"Take risks. Be outrageous," Minter says. Think up. Up gives you vertical screens with trees, vines, trellises stacked, and hanging pots. Wild, tall, and flowing is in, according to Minter. Put your favorite dwarf fruit tree in a pot. Or a palm. Hang a basket from the top of the fence or deck. Put some sweet peas in a pot and put an old iron headboard behind it so the vines will have something pretty to grab as they grow.

Container gardening is easy and rewarding. You can use a good, sterile potting soil in a solid-walled container, or pack sphagnum moss into a wire frame and fill in with potting soil.

Pick your favorite plants. Don't worry about whether or not they match or fill in a color scheme. This is your garden, and if you like it, you get to plant it.

Designing a Container As You Shop
If possible, put each plant into its future container as you shop. When they all fit in comfortably -- with not a lot of elbow room -- you've got the right number of plants.

Fill the pot halfway with damp soil. If it isn't already damp, add some water and stir. Arrange the plants so the tall ones fit in the back, middle in the middle, and trailing ones in the front. Poke more soil around and between the root balls. Water well. In just a few minutes, you've got a garden to enjoy.

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