How many of us dream of a place to exercise our green thumbs?
Here are a few simple ideas on setting up different types of potting benches!
For someone who can only dabble, you want to have a compact set up. Something that is fairly portable but yet a dedicated place to place your garden pottery while you create new planter ideas. A place to store some simple hand tools and maybe a bucked of potting soil.
Make it a casual place that is basic, possibly movable and has just enough space to work in comfortably. Create it out of old crates, barn wood, or a counter top and maybe concrete blocks. Paint it or leave it natural and rustic. This is for fun not for impressing people so don't sweat the small stuff.
A few tips to consider for the casual set up is make sure the area is 25 inched deep and 40 inches wide. This is the minimum work area that is most useful. Place a bucket for potting mix and another for water if a hose is not handy. Store a watering can if you need one. Attach some cup hooks to the sides of the table top to hang small garden tools, a pair of gloves, or a tiny whisk broom for clean-up. Keep a basket handy to move things around with and stack your garden pots to keep them neat and out of the way.
For the devotee, there are supply houses that make kits for professional looking bench's. Or you can have a carpenter build one under a patio top that can sit out all season long. Go for cabinets with deep shelves for storage, small drawers for garden tools and large stainless tops for potting.
Include a permanent water source like a sink with a faucet that has a hose attached for watering small potted plants. Overhead shelves and racks are a most for added storage if it is in your budget. Dream big and go big. You won't regret it.
When storing garden pottery make sure that the unused pottery isn't exposed to the elements. Slip newspaper between the pots when you stack them to prevent sticking and clean them with a wire brush before storing. All simple tips that make a big difference when next Spring rolls around.
This photo to the left, shows a built in area in a garage. It looks stunning yet not all that complicated. Placed right next to the door that goes from the garage to the backyard is great for convenience and it fits perfectly. A couple of build in cabinets with a counter top and overhead open shelves is all it takes but the addition of the garden sink is fantastic and so useful.
We really love the muted green paint color and white sink and counter tops. Simple, elegant and useful.
Window box garden planters are a great way to display color flowers and lush green plants. However, they all look the same. Here are a few suggestions for creating the planter shown above, using our Italian Roman Rectangle.
This is a stunning terracotta clay Italian rectangle, that is covered in a Fluer-de-lis pattern. Very traditional and elegant. The clay that these pots are made out of is smooth, silky and lush. Italian clay is known in the industry as the most wonderful clay products being produced.
Each one is baked to a golden terracotta color and is compact and hard. This surface makes painting the clay much easier than an porous clay. We recommend sealing the planter before you paint and after you paint, to prolong the life of the paint.
We love this blue acrylic paint next to the white pelargonium flowers. The contrast is stunning and bright. Make sure the planter is clean, then seal it with out pottery sealer. Let it dry. Put on a couple of coats of acrylic paint and let them dry. Reseal. Cover the drain holes in the bottom from our "pot filler" , pebbles, pot shards (shown) to keep the soil from running out. Next fill the planter with a good potting mix. Add a slow release plant food and get ready to plant the flowers.
Make a small hole in the soil with your hand or a small garden trowel. Place the pelargonium in the center of the planter. Next take the felicia and place on each side of the pelargonium, at the back of the container. Then take a verbena and place on each side in the front of the garden planter. Pack down the soil but don't hard pack it. Water well and place in a sunny position.
Here are the plants we recommend to get the same look as shown in the photos above. You will need:
1 - White Pelargonium
2 - Variegated Felicias
2 - White trailing verbenas
Note: White pelargoniums need regular dead-heading to look their best. Old flowerheads discolour and quickly spoil the appearance of the plant.
If you have never used sage in cooking than you are missing out. A lot of people love to grow it in their gardens because of the lovely herbal aroma and soft fuzzy leaves. But, if you only add a few fresh sprigs to a favorite recipe, you can transform it into a favorite.
I personally love using sage in all my thanksgiving recipes. It adds depth and flavor to the turkey, stuffing, potatoes and veggies. It just wouldn't be the same without a bunch of fresh sage sitting in my kitchen, while I prepare our holiday feast.
Cooking sage mellows it's aroma and flavor to a very appealing level. Although sage is available both fresh and dried, we really like using fresh. Dried sage has a stronger, more concentrated flavor that sometimes can be over powering.
A potted sage plant sitting on a patio, or next to a back door, can yield tons of leaves. Sage plants are tough and can withstand light frosts, making them available throughout the year. They need lots of sunlight and do best in a well draining potting soil. The more you harvest the leaves the more the plant will grow. Be sure and rinse them before use and dry with a kitchen towel. Keep it as dry as possible because moisture can make it deteriorate quickly.
When it comes to selecting a pot to plant sage into, terracotta is a favorite. The clay is meant to breathe and therefore is good for the herbs root system. However, any garden pot from ceramic, glazed, concrete, poly resin and fiberglass will all work fine. The larger the pot the larger the plant will grow. Eventually, it will fill the pot completely and become very hardy, so don't start out with a small tiny pot. Anticipate growth.
Finally, there are many different varieties of sageplants. The most popular is the standard culinary sage (officinalis) which has gray green leaves and fuzzy texture. But, there are lots of varieties that you can find a nurseries and garden centers. Berggarten, Holt's mammoth, woodcote farm and variegated.....just try them out. Each will look and taste a bit different. Make this a fun and relaxing project.
Planted containers are useful for reinforcing or complementing colors used in the garden. It's a simple way to add a unique bit of flair, which you can change from year to year. This combo emphasizes shades of maroon and gold by pairing them with a lush green background that makes the color pop.
1. 'Indigo Spires' Salvia (Salvia 'Indigo Spires')
2. 'Ace of Spades' Ornamental Sweet Potato Vine (ipomoea batatas)
What we love about this potted display is the fact that it is so packed together. It looks out of control and wild but stunningly beautiful. Try mixing it up with different textures, compelling colors, outstanding pottery and different plant materials. Don't over think your potted displays. Be creative and have fun.
A mistake that is often made is just using flowers. Don't forget there are unique plants and foliage that can enhance any arrangement or potted display. Move beyond the basics you see at your local nursery center.
priti - thanks for the kind words. potatoes are known for being easy to grow but i have no experience with them. i am sure there is plenty of information on the internet. fruit is fun and easy to grow.
7/24/2012 3:35:04 PM
i''ve been wanting to plant a gdearn for a long time now. i would plant bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, and a bunch of herbs. have you ever tried growing potatoes? we love potatoes, but i am not sure how hard they are to grow. i''d also like to grow some fruit. i really wish i had an apple tree!i also wanted to let you know that you are one of the bloggers that i have passed the versatile blogger award to. please stop by my blog to "pick it up." :)lacey
Arizona Pottery On-line Inc.
Teach Children to Plant!
3/21/2012 4:32:59 PM
A garden is a great teaching time for children. It brings science, math, nature, and art to life and it doesn't hurt that they get to play in the dirt. Children will learn what plants need to grow by working the soil in the planters you have or in the ground. They can use their hands instead of tools so it's not only fun but safe and they will enjoy the reward of a job well done when they see their plants blossom & grow.
The first step is to choose a site for the planters you will have them plant in. Look for a area that receives full sun, is convenient so they can go out there on their own and is protected. Don't think that you can just let them go on their own. Provide adult supervision at all times. Fill the bottom of the planters with soil for good drainage and then use potting soil, NOT SOIL FROM YOUR YARD. Mix in a good fertilizer and your ready to plant.
Next is to figure out what you want to grow. Is is flowers, veggies, a butterfly garden or sweet smelling blossoms that they can cut and bring indoors to enjoy. This will help you decide on what kind of pottery to use, how large it must be and how many you will need. You don't have to use huge garden planters. Even small terracotta pots can hold a good bunch of fresh herbs. Let the child help in picking out the pots. They really enjoy this step and it makes them feel important.
Look in gardening books, check out seed packets at the local nursery and browse magazines to give them ideas. Steer them in the direction you want them to go and they will think they thought it up all on their own. You can always search the web for good tips.
Have a plan before you begin, then gather all your supplies. Let the children get involved. DON'T do it for them. Guide them gently and everyone will have a great time. Use this together time to teach them something and never assume they know what your talking about. Incorporate small toys and figurines that they love. It gives it a final touch and the child loves seeing their toys under a blooming tomato plant.
Finally use your imagination. This is a time of learning, sharing and creating memories.
Really cute ideas that make me stop and think for a minute. The kids are grown but it's more fun with the grandkids anyway!!!
Arizona Pottery On-line Inc.
Start a collection.
3/19/2012 3:32:59 PM
Once houseplants become more of a consuming hobby than a passing pleasure, you will begin to look for more ways to feed your passion. One option is to start a collection of a particular type of plant, whether a large and diverse groups such as cacti, or a smaller interesting group like African Violets (shown).
Start by grouping your plants to find an arrangement that pleases you.
The design will look more interesting if you can create a cascade effect using florist's foam to build up different levels. Build up the back of the display with the foam first. Fill in the spaces in front in steps. Try the plants for size so that you can use more foam beneath the pots if needed.
Arrange the plants to look as though they could be growing as a natural group and not in straight rows. Fill the spaces between the pots with moss.
When selecting a container you have many options. Match the color of the pot to the accent colors in the room. Do you have bright red pillows? Then select a bright red planterto compliment and draw your attention to the brightness. Do you have a rattan table? Then use a bamboo theme planter. Is everything natural with neutral colors? Stick with a clay terracotta planter. It's a natural product that is lovely with sun baked terracotta color tones.
To find the best range of plants do not go to just one garden nursery. Hunt for specialists for imaginative and superior items not seen everywhere else. Plant early in spring when the selections are the best.
" An outdoor dining area must look inviting from afar so that you're drawn to it as a destination".Outdoor dining can be a feast for all the senses. The taste of food, the tune of the wildlife, fragrance of flowers and warmth and charm of potted plants.
Of course as with anything, you need to find the right spot. A place that is convenient to the kitchen or tucked away in a secluded corner for peace and privacy. The key is to make the most of what you have. Start by working with what you have and then expand to adding potted plants, lighting, or a structure like gazebo. Do you need to protect your table from the elements or are you lucky enough to be able to sit out under the stars?
Are you looking to feed a crowd or just a quaint setting for 2 on occasion? There are some guidelines on how to set a table up. A 26" bistro table will seat two, a 48" table will seat 4 to 6. Tables stay put but chairs get pushed around so make sure there is plenty of space to accommodate that. A rule of thumb is width of table plus 3 feet on each side. This is enough room to get in and out of chairs comfortably. Plan carefully!
Strive for a sensory experience. Have lots of potted plants that you can move around to accommodate the table set-up. Plant them with fragrant fruit trees, and luscious smelling plants and flowers. Use palm's to block unsightly neighbors and to break up the noise of traffic. Planted pottery is portable and is very easy to move around and set up the look and feel that you want easily.
Make sure your furnishings all match and are comfortable. Try to follow a color theme by matching the potted plants with the cushions on chairs or the tablecloth you cover the dining table with. Use candles, fire-pits, hanging lanterns and music to set the stage and enjoy your hard work and labor. It's your home and you should be comfortable.
Here are a few ideas on "things" to get done around the garden. Indoor and outdoor tips and have you done it lately ideas!
Check them out.
Right now in season are grapefruits, navel oranges, pineapples, tangerines, cauliflower, new potatoes, and rhubarb. Did you know that you can plant many of these fruits and veggies in garden planters. We offer tons of tips on planting these and more here in our blog sections. Check them out!
Prune your roses. Early spring is the time to shape and trim most rosebushes. Remove the damaged or diseased branches. If you have ever blooming plants, prune even more to encourage healthyflowering all season. Climbers, which we love, and shrub roses that bloom just once, however, should be pruned only after flowers fade. All roses are easy to potand if you set the pot next to a garden wall or decorative pillar it's easy to get them to climb.
Continue to fertilize houseplants, prune and re-pot if necessary. To be sure plants on windowsills get an even amount of light , rotate the pots a quarter turn each day. You can always place the heavier pots on a lazy suzan for easy turning.
Open the windows and let the fresh air come into your home. Do the same in the attic and basement if you have those. Your potted plants are not the only things that need fresh air throughout the year.
Outside check all potted trees for broken or damaged limbs. Clean winter debris from top of potted plants so the top soil is exposed. Remove, leaves, and brush that may of blown onto them. Remove winter mulch you may of placed on top to protect them. Bring your summer blooms out of storage and the garden bulbs that you have. Pot them and start watering them now or keep them inside till after the last frost.
Potted orchids are no longer the rare exotic plants that they used to be and most garden centers now stock them. A few inexpensive materials and a little time will create a stylish container to show these lovely flowers at their very best.
Orchids do not like to stand in water but they do like a humid atmosphere. A layer of gravel underneath the pot acts as a reservoir for excess water which creates humidity. The potted orchid will also benefit from being sprayed with water with a fine mist. Plant these lovelies any time of year.
There are many types of planters made specially for orchids. The sides of these pots have holes in them for air circulation. These extra holes really help with the root system of the orchid and are the best chance you have of gardening success.
Arizona Pottery sells a number of orchid pots. Some in terracotta others in glazed ceramic. Just go with the one that you prefer for looks and follow a few simple tips.
Pour a one inch layer of gravel in the base of the pot to help with drainage and line the pot with moss. Tip the orchid over in the nursery pot and gently remove it. Place on the moss in the garden pot and fill in around it with more soil. Do not pack it down. Cover the top of the plantwith more moss.
You can push a small reed or garden stake into the soil and then use some string or raffia to tie the plant to the stake. This helps with stability so the orchid doesn't droop off to the side. Give it a good water and your good to go. Enjoy!
Because their roots can reach deep into the surrounding soil, plants growing in the open ground may survive some amount of drought. But container plants have only the soil in their pots to draw from. They depend on you for the moisture they need. Obviously they will require more watering than plants in the ground so here are a few tips to help.
Potted plant's need different things. Some need soil that is kept constantly moist, but not soggy and other shoudl feel barely damp. Many fare best is soil is allowed to dry out somewhat between one watering and the next. In these cases, don't water till the soil in the top half of the pot feels dry.
Even other plants need less water and you can let the soil dry out almost to the bottom of the pot between watering though not so much that the soil begins to pull away from the pottery sides.
Lighter soil mixes dry out faster than heavier ones and if you find the soil mix is difficult to wet, apply one of the wetting agents available at nurseries and garden centers.
After awhile you will develop a watering plan that suits your container collection. The important thing is to stay flexible and check the plant containers periodically and water the plants according to their day to day needs not by a set schedule. During hot or dry and windy weather growing plants may need watering several times a day. But in cool, still overcast conditions, you may get by with much less watering.
Don't neglect pots placed under eaves or overhangs in rainy weather. If no rainfall reaches them they can suffer from drought even during a season of daily downpours.
Cactus and succulents are appealing, dramatic plants, best shown off in containers. Collecting them can be addictive - many a sizable garden has been inspired by the purchase of just one whimsical looking cacti. With rare exceptions, every cactus is a succulent. Cacti are distinguished from other succulents by areoles or well defined areas on the plant's surface from which sprout tuffs of spines, bristles or hairs. Cactus flowers always bloom from these areas also.
Planting Tips: You can buy a special soil mix for potted cacti at garden nurseries and center. Or you can make your own. Just combine one part leaf mold, one part peat moss soil mix and two parts river sand or fine gravel.
Pot Tips: Cacti will thrive in almost any style and type of garden planter. There is where you can become creative and choose round bowls for combinations of cacti and succulents. Choose colorful containers to add some brightness to the basic green of most cacti. Go with deep or shallow pottery because these types of plants have very short root systems. Make sure if you go with ceramic or poly resin that you don't over water.
When planting make sure and wear garden gloves to protect your hands. You can wrap folded newsprint around the plant so that you don't come in contact with the spines.
Plant suggestions & care: These types of plants are easy to grow and don't take much care. It's best to soak soil completely each time you water and then let it dry almost out completely before the next watering. Fertilize monthly during the growing season. Potted Cacti love direct sunlight so make sure they get some especially during the winter months. Once a year check to see if you need to re-pot into a larger container.
Here are a few of the favorite type to pot: Aconium - Agave - Aloe - Crassula argentea - Kalanchoe
Opuntia - Schlumbergera - Sempervivum tectorum.