11 Jul Taking Gardening to New Heights

Whether you have limited space or an expansive patio or deck, gardening in containers is one of the most popular ways to enjoy plants. Many types of plants are adaptable to container gardening, and those with draping habits and compact growth have long been small-space favorites. Recently, however, designers taking gardening to new heights. And you can too!

Go Beyond the Traditional

Traditionally, window boxes and pots have featured annuals of similar size, with low growing plants cascading over the edge or with a spike-like plant in the center. But today’s gardeners group several pots of different sizes and materials together and combine plantings for striking color and elevation. This elevation is achieved by growing plants on forms or trellises, raising pots off the ground, and by using nontraditional plants in containers. With just a little effort and imagination, these techniques can be used to create dramatic effects in your garden.

Choose Your Containers

Start by choosing pots, urns and perhaps some unique, unusual containers. Just be sure your containers have holes in the bottom for drainage. If it has an opening large enough for a plant and a hole for drainage, just about anything can be used. Fill your containers with a potting medium that retains moisture but also light enough to drain well when watered. Miracle Gro potting mix works well. If you’re planting vegetable and herbs, consider Espoma Organic Potting Mix. Provide a backdrop for your plants by inserting a trellis or obelisk at the back of one of your pots. Any of these are perfect for training a mandevilla,  or any other trailing vine. Surround with supertunias, million bells, coleus and foliage plants in colors to accent the vines of your choice.

Creating Vertical Interest

You can also create vertical interest by stacking pots of graduated sizes. For safety, anchor each pot to the one below it by partially burying it in soil or by pushing a thin metal rod partway through the drainage hole. If you stack containers of the same type, such as terra cotta azalea  pots, you can create the effect of a flowing waterfall, with plantings spilling from one pot to the next. Trailing coleus or sweet potato vine will produce this effect quite easily.

For more vertical pizzazz, try bold tender tropicals such as banana plants or ornamental grasses. Ornamental grasses also offer the added bonus of tall, fuzzy flowers during the growing season. Espaliered shrubs and trees make stunning centerpieces and backdrops for cascading annuals and perennials grown in large pots.

Proven Winners Supertunias

Photo Courtesy of Provenwinners.com

Varying Heights

To vary the heights of your containers, give a few of the pots in the group a boost. Set them on footstools or atop overturned pots. Place planted baskets in brackets attached to walls and fences or step containers up the stairs. When you use steps as gardening spaces, you also open the possibility of using handrail supports for vines and other climbing plants. Make the most of limited spaces by placing hanging baskets on shepherd’s hooks of various sizes. Using the airspace above pots maximizes a small area. If you add a spot light, you can instantly brighten the dreariest of corners.

The bottom line is to abandon all your preconceived notions of container gardening. Expand your horizons by gardening up, out and down. Let your plants spill from their containers and let the drama of their natural growth habits be the focal point of your garden.