I would have thought that because our community was built on a previous dairy farm (for McCarthur Dairy), it would have had rich soil, but it's actually very dry and rocky for doing any small plantings. Using containers helped solve personalizing our curb appeal.
Red lava rocks relate to the pavers and will blend with the adjacent homes mulch.
Salt & Pepper marble chip rocks is my way of adding the B&W from inside - out.
One of the juniper transplanted added another texture to the garden.
To help keep the rocks, containers, and garden looking crisp, I periodically take the time to de-leaf the rocks, paint the pots, and renew the container arrangements with colorful combinations. This year, since I'm using greens and pinks in our home, I used those colors for the inspiration for outside.
When I picked up some fresh flowers for the containers (the lower left is called a kalanchoe and packs a powerful punch for only $2.97!), I also picked up a bag of Moisture In Control, which really helps with the nutrients in the container.
While getting leaves out of the rocks, I'll also collect some stained rocks to remove - but not waste. I reuse stained rocks to help with drainage in the bottoms of my pots and containers.
An old suede wine gift tote works well to carry my garden tools around with.
And three things I can't garden without: Music, sunblock, and my Coke =).
I had gotten these witch-kettle terracotta pots from Home Depot back in 2006.
Although it does look nice distressed and weathered, I stain them once a year.
They are filled with: rocks first for drainage, sand for more drainage, moisture in control potting soil and plants.
I'll put a bag around any nearby plants to protect them from the stain, and just use a wood stain (this year was Ebony) applied with a chip brush. My old cookie sheets also come in handy to have a flat surface for the can nearby the planter.
The cookie sheet also helps to make it easier to move supplies around.
Back in January, I had replaced the white poinsettias & juniper (from Holiday) with some green plantings, but it was too green. The renewed pot in ebony really helped to pop the new colorful plants I added.
You can really PACK containers with a lot of flowers and plants. I just read the tags to make sure they could all exist in full sun and use the same amount of water. I did also remove a plant from the main pots, but transplanted them as singles in smaller ones - so again, no waste. "Simple shift" also happens outside too! =)
These smaller pots were once off white. I stained them ebony and they really helped pop the green on front of the larger container.
I removed the glass from my lanterns and also use them as elements for plants in the garden and at the front door. The tall pink leafed plant (sorry - although common around here, I don't know its name) I had in the large pots last year - but I transplanted out into a smaller pot before holiday. To help spruce it up, I added inpatients, begonias and a creeping vine to drip down the planter.
The container was not only ready for Spring on the first day of it...
It's now ready for Easter too!
For more tips on container gardening, be sure to check out
Do you do container gardening?
What are some things you've learned along the way?
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