Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Perennial planters

Sometimes buying annuals every spring for planters can be quite costly - especially when you have many containers as I do. I end up only using a few annuals this way and divide perennials that I have in my garden. Because divisions need to be done earlier rather than later, I began this process in late April. I placed divisions into the container, them gradually filling up to become quite full.  I find it gives my containers a bit of life before the threat of frost is gone.

It's amazing how in 3 weeks, this container has filled out already.

I used:
1 Astilbe
2 Hostas (1 taller, 1 shorter - contrast colours)
2 different Lamiums
1 Rudbeckia goldstrum

I plan to add 2 begonias for a splash of colour.  Easy enough, and cheaper on the pocket book.

For sunny containers I divide:

Salvia may knight (earlier flowering)
Sedum (late summer to fall flowering)
Lamiastrum (trialing - usually overwinters in my containers from year to year)
Rudbeckia (mid summer to Sept flowering)
Echinacea (mid summer)
Sedum Purple Dragon (trailing)

For shade loving spots:

Japanese Painted Fern
Astilbe (late spring, early summer)

With perennials, I find regular potting soil isn't rich enough to help keep the plants growing and filling out the container. I use 1 part potting soil to 1 part compost (triple mix is perfect too).  This adds a denser medium that will encourage the perennials to beef up - and the potting soil added won't bake rock hard during the summer.

Going away for weekend getaways doesn't cause as much worry with these containers, as less watering is needed.  It gives longevity to my pots come fall too, with initial frosts not damaging the foliage much. I also love the textures, the leaf colour and the difference in look compared to what you see everywhere else.

Leaving a pocket here and there for annuals helps to finish it off, when a spot of bloom (colour) is needed.

In close proximity to seating areas, I have incorporated my foliage veggies.Great way to harvest and enjoy texture too.

If you are wondering how this planter overwinters, I will say it's a hit and miss. Lamium, hostas and Rudbekia have overwintered well in my pots. I place them in a sheltered spot, next to a brick wall for insulation - watering them til freeze up. In my front yard, I just tuck them into the garage to store once the frost has killed off any herbaceous growth.

I love doing this, as it solves my perennials getting too large for their "britches". I don't have much room to divide and add to my garden. This way, I am spreading the plants around in other ways. It's a great gift idea too, for new home owners (they can add them to their garden), or just a lovely idea instead of the common gift.

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