Category Archives: containers

King Tut Grass

tutKing Tut grass is an annual up here in zone 5, but I buy it every year because I love this plant! It is an evergreen, so it’s not really a grass, but it certainly looks like a graceful grass.

It can be planted in the ground or in a pot. My father plants his in the yard each year near his front porch. This year, I placed it in a pot with a slight roof overhang above to protect it a bit–I’m so glad I did! With all of the thunderstorms we’ve been having, it could have been damaged this year.

King Tut prefers a sunny to partially sunny area, and it loves water. It does have to be watered every day, unless rain handles it for you.

It can grow quite tall, so it can work to hide unsightly areas around the house.

I have mine planted with a canna, petunias, trailing petunias, and geraniums.  Sadly, it won’t winter over in the house, either, but it’s worth the five dollars I spend each summer!

Happy Gardening!

Lily of the Nile

lilyofthenileI love this plant! Lily of the Nile, or Agapanthus, is a perennial in some zones, but an annual in my zone.  While it is an annual, I cannot resist it!

This plant can be grown from bulbs or seeds, and I think the fragrant flowers are worth planting the bulbs and digging them up for the winter. Alternatively, you could plant your them in pots and bring the pots in during the winter.

About mid-summer to the fall, Lily of the Valley puts on an extravagant show of large blooms!

This plant likes the sun, so be sure to pick a sunny spot for your African Lily!

They do require a bit of work–they need to be fed monthly. But the gorgeous blooms and the scent will pay you back for your hard work!

Lily of the Valley is also attractive to bees and butterflies, who enjoy the nectar.

Happy Gardening!

 

 

A Little Frost Coming: I’ve Got You Covered!

Everyone’s worried about their plants and the frost coming this week. First, don’t panic. This can easily be handled, given the size of your garden.

First, cold hardy plants, such as peas, are going to be just fine. You may cover them if you wish, but peas can even withstand a light snow, so they will be fine.

Spring hardy plants, such as Bleeding Heart, will also be just fine. Again, you may cover them if you wish, but I’m not going to do that. They will be fine, and mine are under trees, so I’m not really worried about them.

For everything else:

If you went ahead with the heat wave and planted pretty flowers, you have to cover them.

  • Before you cover them, make sure the plants are watered in well. This will actually protect roots from freezing, even though it goes against instinct.
  • Now, you may cover them. Do NOT use any type of plastic. Plants have to breathe, too! I’m going to use flannel sheets. Any sheet will work, but the flannel will give it just a little bit more warmth and protection.
  • Uncover the plants during the day, so they can have air and sunlight. Even on a cloudy day, they are still getting some sun.

And that’s all you have to do to keep your plants warm, comfy, and beautiful during the frost. Not so bad, really!

Sadly, if you own a large fruit orchard, this isn’t going to be enough–but if you own a large fruit orchard, you’ll know what to do!

Happy Gardening!

How to Grow Broccoli in Containers

broccoliBroccoli is a delicious vegetable, and it’s time to get planting! For zone 5, broccoli seeds should be planted outside on May 1. I’ve already started mine inside the house in a mini greenhouse. But in general, we want to plant the seeds two to three weeks before the last frost.

What we need:

  • Broccoli seeds or plants
  • Vegetable soil
  • A pot that is at least 12 inches wide and 12 inches deep with good drainage
  • Rocks or coffee filters
  • Fertilizer (I am using a combination of Epsom salts and sugar–1 cup each)
  • Water

How to Plant:

  1. Place your container in a sunny spot–broccoli needs at least three hours of sunlight a day.
  2. Add the rocks or coffee filters in the bottom of the container.
  3. Add in the soil. I am using an organic vegetable soil. If you want to go this route, it isn’t hard to find–I purchased mine at Target.
  4. Mix the fertilizer into the soil.
  5. Plant the seeds 1/2 inch deep or plant the small plants slightly deeper than their current growth.
  6. Space the seeds 12-24 inches to give the broccoli room to grow. Leave around 36 inches between rows, or use another container.
  7. Cover with soil.
  8. Water.

That’s it! Wasn’t that easy?! In about three weeks, you’ll want to fertilize the plants. Be sure to water the plants regularly, avoiding getting water on the broccoli heads.

When to Harvest
I wish I could give you a clear date–like eight weeks after planting–but that never works. Harvest the broccoli when the buds are firm and tight–before it flowers. If you see a yellow flower, harvest immediately! Off shoots from the main plant will continue to produce broccoli for several weeks–or all summer, depending on how hot it gets.

The Uglies
There are a few pests we have to watch out for–aphids (awful) and cabbage loopers (ick!). If you see curling leaves or small holes in the leaves, take action immediately. I generally spray with a combination of water and dish soap.

Overall, broccoli is easy to grow and will provide your family with a super food throughout the summer! Broccoli may also be planted again for a fall harvest–just keep an eye on the first frost date!

Happy Gardening!

 

 

 

Sweet Pansies–a Bridge to Summer

pansiesSometimes it is hard to wait for spring and summer blooming flowers, but Pansies help to bridge the gap between winter and spring/summer’s abundance of blooms.

Pansies are hardy plants that can withstand the colder temperatures of early spring and late fall. They add excellent color into an otherwise dreary landscape.

In the language of flowers, Pansies are associated with loving thoughts, and as the Pansy is quite an old plant, can also be found in Greek legend. In the legend, all pansies were once white flowers, but after Cupid struck the flower with an arrow, the flowers became colorful. It was believed that the Pansy could be used in love potions.

Pansies come in a variety of colors, with their most distinctive feature being the “face” on the flower. They can be grown from seeds, but I buy some in early spring from the local nursery. Once they are planted in a partially shaded area, all you have to do is remember to water them and enjoy the bright color!

Happy Gardening!

Prepping for Spring!

clematis
Cleaning out planting beds

Today was the first warm (53 degrees), sunny day we’ve had since last October, so my husband and I got busy prepping for spring! It was so nice to feel the sun!

 

We began by cleaning out planting beds–we did this last fall, but we have massive oak trees behind the house and in the yard, so keeping the beds and the yard free of oak leaves is a year round job. We only got two beds done today, but once we did, we could see flowers finally sticking up out of the ground!

Pretty flowers Arriving Soon!

mycrocus2

tulip3
tulips peeking out

The crocus are finally making an appearance. I had about given up all hope for the crocus this year, but here they are! The tulips and hyacinths are also poking their heads out after our long, brutal winter. I’m very much afraid that instead of having a gradation of blooms, everything will bloom all at once; but, better this than no blooms at all! I hope the plants are coming alive in your garden, too!

 

Vegetables

peas
Planting Peas

We also planted our peas today. It is late; normally, we would have done this around March 17, but it’s just been too cold and snowy. I’m hoping for at least one good crop of peas, though! This time, we did add Epsom salts and sugar (1/2 cup each) into the soil instead of other types of fertilizer. As things develop, I’ll let you know what happens with this.

Happy Gardening!

Pink Cotton Candy or Betony

cottoncandyBetony, or Pink Cotton Candy as it is familiarly known, really stands out in a garden.  Pink Cotton Candy boasts fluffy combination pink and dark pink flowers in the summer. The long flower stalks rise up from a bed of deep green foliage.

Pink Cotton Candy is attractive in flower beds or in containers–and a real show stopper wherever it is planted.

How to Grow

The plant is easily divided in the spring, so ask your friends and neighbors. It is relatively new, so you may need to buy it at the nursery.

  • Pick a sunny spot in your garden.
  • Dig a hole a bit larger than the root ball.
  • Mix fertilizer into the soil.
  • Add the plant and cover it with soil.
  • Water.
  • Remove dead flowers to encourage re-blooming.

Pink Cotton Candy is easy to grow and requires little care. The long, bushy flowers make excellent cut flowers for arrangements. Best yet, it is deer resistant while attracting butterflies and bees into the garden. If you see this at a nursery, snap it up quickly! Cotton Candy seeds are selling out quickly.

Happy Gardening!