If you haven't taken the time to take an inventory of your fall garden containers, then now is the time to do so. Do the flowers look spent, or the veggies given up and the grasses no fared well in the winter wind gusts? Then it's time to transition them into winter items that will hold up to the cold and harsh weather that is coming.
The first thing you need to do is toss all the plants and replace the potting soil. Now is not the time to try to salvage anything. Pick new plant materials that can with stand the harsh conditions coming in the colors and textures that will easily mix up and create a beautiful arrangement. Add color with painted sticks, berry branches or colorful shades of greens and yellows.
Fill your winter containers with Birch Branches. They look lovely when clustered together and add a depth of texture to a garden container that is lovely for many months. Ever seen colored branches like dogwood? They come in red to yellow and you can find other textured branches like reeds or thin sticks that come in brown and can be woven and displayed beautifully.
When it comes to plants try evergreens like boxwood that can be made into topiary. Conifers of all sorts will work wonderfully. Any kind of greenery that can handle the cold will be stunning covered in a light snowfall.
Berried branches like winterberry and dried seed pots add an artistic touch that really upgrades any garden container. Ornamental grasses add height to the center of a planter and trailing ivy flows over the pots sides, draping the planter in color.
Don't wait till it's too cold to transition your planters. Now is the time to make the most of the remaining weather.
Your backyard organic garden may hold the keys to preventing global warming. Researchers at the Rodale Institute have learned that organic soils trap atmospheric carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas, and convert ti to carbon, a key component of healthy soil.
In the longest running study of it's kind, the Rodale Institute's Farming Systems Trial has compared organic and conventional farming side by side for the past 23 years. Important findings have included organic, crops ability to withstand drought year stress much better than crops raised on a diet of chemicals.
What this suggests is that synthetic nitrogen fertilizers speed up the decay process of organic matter so that it is released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide rather than stored in the soil as carbon. Both plants and organic soil operate as powerful sinks, capturing the greenhouse gas considered by many scientists to be largely responsible for global warming.
An increase in organic matter in the soil also helps preserve bio-diversity. All organisms depend on biomass - living and dead organic matter. The higher the biomass content, the more the biodiversity. You can see where organic farming and organic gardening fit in there clearly.
When you reject chemicals and choose instead to garden organically you address other issues of critical concern, by embracing a system that is much less reliant on fossil fuels. This has implications for our dependence on imported oil and natural gas as well as the climate change problem. You are preserving the soil and you are reducing the use of chemicals that are directly dependent on fossil energy use.
So, you may ask why here in the blog are we mentioning these findings. Because every time you buy potting soil at your local garden center you have a choice on what type to buy. We recommend you choose Organic. You will know that you are planting in the best soil and giving your plants a great start. Not only will your new plants love you for it but so will the planet. Choose Wisely!
Creating a mini fairy garden in a fun container has become very popular. They are basically a new take on the old terrarium ideas of years gone by. What makes these extra special is all the miniature goodies that you get to place in the pot with the plants. Little things like benches, water features, houses, walking paths, stone, mini birdhouses, all things that are miniature and fairy like.
First you want to find the container. We have seen everything from a terracotta clay flower pot to picnic baskets, wheelbarrows, tea cups, boxes, suitcases, purses, colorful glazed garden bowls, metal cans, and pretty much anything you can think of. Next add soil and please use potting mix not dirt. Select your plants. Herbs, ferns, bonsai trees & bushes. Make sure it's miniature and you can keep it small.
Then add your fun and playful accessories. Seating areas, paths, fences, furniture, and tables. Use natural materials like reeds, rocks, raffia, twigs, bark. A small mirror makes a great reflecting pool. You get the idea.
Fairy Gardens should have a taste of whimsy.. This isn't the time for being realistic. Use seashells, marbles, buttons and bottle caps for stepping stones. Finish off with a few touches and that should do it.
Keep it clean, watered and replace items as necessary. These are perfect for a patio table or any garden area where you want a touch of playfulness.
Everyone loves secrets! Wouldn't it be exciting to create a Fairy Garden that is full of tiny secrets? Here are a few suggestions.
Take a shallow garden pot, like a low bowl or a low cylinder dish and use that as the base for the Fairy Garden. Make it as large or as small as you like. We have even seen the top of a birdbath turned into a lovely display. Filling the base with soil, is the easy part. Just make sure you use a good potting soil and not garden dirt. It's better if the container has a drain hole but not totally necessary.
Now comes the fun part. You can place a layer of green moss around the top of the soil to create a soft cushion for all the "Fairies" to lay on. Then start adding the fun stuff. We have seen miniature doll house chairs, clay pots turned upside down for furniture. Colorful glass marbles and decorative rocks. Plant mini greenery and small brightly colored flowers. Create a mystical and magical place for your fairies to come to. The possibilities are truly endless when creating something so innocent and sweet!
Children of all ages love these types of garden/pottery projects. Hide the container in a secret place in the yard or garden. Place it on the patio or outside a kitchen window where you can watch for the fairies to land. Create a playful place for kids to go to and dream about. Be sure to take photos to preserve these types of memories.
Arizona Pottery is here to help made those magical moments happen. Shop our website and find the perfect piece of pottery for the base of your Fairy garden!
Creat a garden where you never knew you had rooom for one: indoors on a windowsill with eastern or southern exposure.
Start a windowsill garden by taking cuttings from some of your favorite indoor and outdoor plants and rooting them in water.
Use pruners or a sharp knife to cut a 3 to 4 inch stem, strip off the bottom leaves and place the cut stem in a small container of water.
If you like, choose colorful containers and set them on a windowsill for a pretty effect.
Although it doesn't suit every plant, rooting plants in water is the easiest propagation method. Change the water in the containers weekly because stale water turns cloudy and detracts from the attractiveness of the arrangement. More importantly, bacteria may develop and create unhealthy medium for the plants. Enjoy cuttings during the winter months, then transplant them into containers and set them outdoors for the summer.
Most plants thrive only a limited time without soil in which to spread their roots. When you transplant rooted cuttings into a garden planter of potting mix, remember that the roots they form in water are fine and delicate. Keep the potting soil mix moist to avoid shocking the plants and to allow new roots a chance to grow.
However, cuttings that are rooted ins oil should be watered once when they are planted in a planter of soil to begin developing and not again until the soil is almost dry.
Do you know what you really need for a water garden?
A pot that holds water!
When you combine, a colorful planter, water, plants, stones, greens, a pump and a fountain nozzle, you can make a stunning water garden with ease.
The steps for making a water garden are easy to follow.
1. Select a colorful, generous sized garden pot that is water proof. You do not want to use low fired terracotta clay pot, since terracotta will absorb water and break down over time. Get a lovely glazed container since these have been fired twice in a kiln and will repel water unless, and this is a big unless, they get cracked or chipped.
Then the water will search out the crack and penetrate the pot, causing it to break down over time. The last think you will need to do is plug the drain hole in the bottom if there is one. Arizona Potteryrecommends using a silicone product since these are waterproof.
2. Search out plants and ask for recommendations from your local nursery. Look for ones that flower and then select some attractive foliage. Here are a few examples:
Flowers: Japanese iris, water lily, cardinal flowers or march marigold.
Greens: Water clover, houttuynia, horsetail, or fiber optic grasses.
3. Fill the inside plastic pots with heavy garden soil, not lightweight potting mixes. They will float up. Pot the plants just like you would any other garden container. Leave room for a layer of gravel to keep the soil from washing away. Submerge the pot in water. Place most plants so that the rim are at water level. You can also float lilies on the top. Place cement block in the bottom to add height to the planted pot along with dimensional character.
Be creative when selecting the wonderful textures and brilliant flowers of aquatic plants. Use both submerged plants and floating for the most beautiful visual effect. Try for fragrance to add that extra touch and finally go for a contrasting color effect. Dark greens, with light whites and pinks.
Lastly, don't be alarmed if the water turns green at first. This happens with the nutrients in water create small algae. It is only temporary and will quickly clear. By adding a small pump you can create that soothing sound of trickling water that everyone loves.
We think that the most important feature of any plant container is the style of pot, what it is made of and whether or not it has a drain hole. Drain holes are so important because they make sure that water doesn't sit in the pot but drains off. Standing water in the bottom of the pot will cause the plants roots to rot and over time the chemicals in the water or fertilizer will damage the plant also. If water run-off is a problem because of the pot location then we have a couple of suggestions:
1. Use a saucer. Make sure that it is large enough to catch the amount of water it will take to saturate the plants soil. Too small of a saucer is pointless since it won't be able to do it's job of capturing excess.
2. Drop the pot that holds the plant into a larger outside pot that is decorative. This way when you water the inside pot the run-off water will drain into the outside pot and evaporate. Many landscape companies use this technique, especially when planting trees or large bushes inside office buildings.
If you need a pot that will breathe the Terra-cotta clay planters are the best. Unfortunately they will break down over time from the chemicals in the soil or fertilizer that is used. In order to have a planter that will hold up and not break down, it must be made of a clay that is glazed and high fired or concrete, poly resin, sandstone, or fiberglass. These materials repel water and do not let it absorb into them.
Choosing the correct container is the best step you can take to assure success when planting your landscape in pots.
Other tips to consider are:
Sun exposure: Make sure where you place the pots is where the plant materials in them can thrive.
Soil: Always use a lightweight, well draining soil mix with a built in fertilizer is the best way to start.
Watering: Know what the plants demand when it comes to water and make sure to provide them with their specific needs. It is ideal to select pots that require the same watering schedule but that is not always possible.
Plants for containers: Herbs, cacti & succulents, citrus, veggies and flowers are all great choices and they offer unique ideas for displays. Try blending them together for the most outstanding arrangements.
Whether you have a balcony, courtyard, or patio begging for some color, potted plants are sure to transform even the smallest of spaces!
Never thought of it like this before. It makes sense that with all the home troubles people are having they are looking at downsizing. When it comes to pots that makes great sense. Thanks
Arizona Pottery On-line Inc.
7 Water Loving Plants for Pottery
6/1/2011 12:00:12 PM
Many pond species will thrive in a tabletop water garden. Some float, others grow in moist soil. Treat most water garden plants as annuals.
1. Water Lettuce:(Pistia Stratiotes) They have great floating rosettes of leaves and exquisite feathery roots.
Tip: Most pots come to us from our suppliers
with drain holes already drilled into the
bottoms. You must plug them up in order for
them to be able to hold water, sufficiently.
2. Elephant's ear:(Alocasia sanderiana) Moisture loving with dark green arrow shaped leaves. Each leaf has lovely silver veins that really add contrast to your arrangement.
Tip: The best way to plug a ceramic "high-fired" pot is to cover the bottom with a piece of tar paper larger than the drain hole. Then calk, tar or cement it on to the bottom of the pot. Don't just
plug the hole with calk. It will fall out, eventually.
3. Arrowhead:(Sagittaria Latifolia) Dainty leaves that are arrow shaped and a lovely white blooms. In nature this plant grows at a ponds edges.
Tip: High-fired pottery, Poly Resin, Cement, Metal, Fiberglass etc are preferable styles. Terracotta clay is meant to break down over time and is not the best product to use for a water feature.
4. Water Hyacinth:(Eichhornia crassipes) A pale blue to violet flower that clusters above floating leaft rosettes. Stunning!
Tip: Many types of water plants are colorful and bright. You don't necessarily need a colorful piece of pottery to start with. The black clay Vietnamese pottery we use is "high fired" and will wear just as good as ceramic.
5. Caladium:(Caladium bicolor) Grown for its showy green leaves that are spotted with white, pink or red. Many varieties.
Tip: A nice mixture of grasses, plants and flowers make the most interesting containers. Just use materials that you like and you can't go wrong.
6. Umbrella grass:(Cyperus involucratus) This clumping grasslike annual forms umbrella like inflorescences on top.
Water pots are not the easiest set ups to create. But, as you can see from the photos below they are some of the most beautiful. Take the time, do your research, talk to your local plant specialist and have fun.
7. Waterlily:(Nymphaea Spp) Iconic floating water garden plants. Both tropical and hardy varieties are available. Ask your local garden or nursery center.
Fairy gardens tickle the imagination. There's something about these under sized - but perfectly proportioned - gardens and their diminutive denizens that makes us feel a bit like Peter Pan. Suddenly, we do believe in fairies.
Fairy gardens are ideal for small space situations, first-time gardeners, and busy people. Though fairy gardens still need watering and tending, their size makes them faster to create and easier to maintain.
Almost any container can house these little creations. Small clay pots, glazed saucers, birdbaths, and window boxes. Its without drain holes work well also, but avoid over watering and cover or protect them in heavy rains.
Fill the chosen garden container with potting soil mix. Avoid garden soil because it doesn't drain well. Choose miniature plants such as mosses, babies tears, sedums, thymes and ivies. Prune the plants to maintain their small stature. The most interesting Fairy Gardens create a miniature scene that is completely in scale. Use small doll furniture and objects.
Place a completed garden where plants receive enough sunlight. All the soil to dry out before watering. Over watering will kill plants faster than under watering. When actively growing, fertilize plants every other week according to package directions.
Finally, relax and have fun. Fairies have a sense of humor. Don't be surprised if things seem to change the longer fairies inhabit your garden.
Ideas:Live near the sea? Find a seashell container and cover the potting soil with blue stone to look like water.
Not all magical beings are fairies. Use a mermaid and place amoung succulents to create a fish tank effect. Add a venus fly trap for fun.
A rustic woodland setting with mini step stones, garden fence and birdhouse is adorable and creative.
How about using a birdbath and create a world of fantasy by mounding the soil in the center.
Strive for unusual textures from plants such as rippled and variegated peperomias, friendship plants (pilea involucrate), pebbles and river rocks. It makes a charming village.