Fun Fall Container Gardening
We’re sometimes too busy searching for mechanical shortcuts in the garden that we forget we can actually create an effect by choosing the plants we use more carefully. Making a few small changes to the types of plants you use can increase ease of maintenance, lengthen flowering and ensure a happier, healthier garden.
Have you ever wanted to try growing bedding plants but you think they’ll take a lot to maintain? Think again. By choosing larger, landscape-style bedding plant varieties, you can actually cover the ground more, creating a natural weed blanket, and the boisterous nature of the plants means they simply cover over any fading blooms with new growth, therefore NO DEAD-heading or maintenance required! The extended coverage of greenery also means that the moisture is locked into the ground more efficiently, so you’ll need to water less often too. Try varieties such as Begonia ‘Big’ or Busy Lizzie ‘Sunpatiens’.
Let’s not deny it, many gardeners are short of time and are looking for a quick fix with their gardens. How about a range of flowers that will flower within just 8-10 weeks, and will fill a hole in the border as if by magic? Hardy annuals are the types to look out for; from cornflowers to nasturtiums, larkspur to poppies, and they are all easy to grow seed varieties. All you need to do is scatter the seed outside where you want the plants to flower, so they’re great for lazy gardeners too! It’s the perfect way to fill in gaps between those shrubs and perennials that haven’t quite filled out yet.
Companion planting is a brilliant way of fighting gardening pests in a 100% organic way! Did you know, for example, that growing basil by your tomato plants will deter aphids from your prized crops? The basil and tomatoes are also ready to harvest at the same time, so they’ll be ready for a pizza topping straight away! A slightly different form of companion planting is when you grow tall, shade-creating crops above those vegetables that do better in shade. Lettuce is a good example, in a sunny, open position it would usually run to seed too early, but grow them beneath sweetcorn to lengthen the maturation period.
Have you ever thought about using shrubs in patio containers? They will last more than one season, unlike annuals, and they offer structure throughout the year too. Buddleja ‘Buzz’ is a perfect example of a patio shrub, the plants are compact and nicely shaped, and they stay that size too, never taking over the whole garden! The plants are sterile so cannot product seed, meaning by default they flower for much longer, often topping 4 months! Buddleja also attract a myriad of butterflies to the garden and are probably one of the easiest plants to grow, like ever!
If you’re someone that goes away for lots of holidays and mini breaks, then you’re probably struggling to find people to keep coming in to water your houseplants! Why not choose some easier to care for plants instead, plants that can last weeks and weeks without water- introducing succulents! Succulents, as the name suggests, are succulent and store a lot of water, so they don’t need to be given it very often! There are so many beautiful ones to choose from too, and they are uber trendy right now, if you don’t believe me, just open up your instagram feed!
Michael Perry is a well-known European plants expert and product developer, with a career spanning 18 years and around 300 new plants! He lectures worldwide and is a regular on British television, thanks to his enthusiasm and likeable approach to gardening.
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