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Container Gardening
Monday, 25 Feb 2013 11:10 am

Container GardeningWe have all seen container gardens with beautiful flowers or small shrubs at the a friend's home or in an office or garden centre. People think that it takes a great deal of effort to make up these containers or that they are professionally made (indeed, some are!). However that may be far from the truth.

Container gardens can be very simple to plan and grow and are almost always easy to maintain. Anyone who loves to garden and has even a small amount of space can plant and successfully grow a container garden even those with only a tiny balcony. You can create a quite beautiful garden with just a few containers.

To begin start with some form of plan. You need to know at least roughly, what you are going to plant, garden flowers, small shrubs or even vegetables. You may even want an herb garden in your container. The plan allows you to choose the right size container for the plants with enough space for both compost and plants. Trailing plants and vines need a large, deep pots to grow over and flow around or for a large plant you need a wide based pot to give balance. An important consideration is that there must be adequate drainage in any container you use. No plant likes to have soggy roots or ‘wet feet’ so check for drainage holes and use feet to lift the container off the ground slightly.

The type of soil or compost you use in your container is important. Container gardeners say you must use a good quality loam based potting compost rather than use the soil from your garden. Potting compost will not compact down so much and will therefore let more water through to the plant roots, where it is needed. It is also important to research your plant types and keep plants of similar needs together. Your plant groupings should consider water, sun and fertiliser needs.

Essential to any pot or container gardening is to pay attention to the watering needs of your plants. If you get a very hot spell and your container is outdoors you will need to water daily. If this is your first time container gardening, choose drought tolerant plants. Plants in containers can't use other available water supplies so it is up to you to make sure they get enough water.

Plants only last so long, so if a specimen growing in your container garden become less productive swop it out. With container gardening you decide how long your garden will be in bloom. You can manipulate your plants by moving them around the garden space available or taking them from outside to inside periodically.

You must however, be wary of pests. If you find a container that has any sort of pest or insect infestation, isolate and treat it immediately. If possible use a natural pesticide that will keep the insects under control but if buying commercial pesticides ALWAYS read the label first and be sure they are suitable. If in doubt – ask advice!

Environmentally friendly pesticide:
Combine a teaspoon washing up liquid and a cup of vegetable oil. Shake vigorously to mix. Using a spray bottle, mix 2 teaspoons of the oil/washing up liquid mixture and 1 cup of warm water. Use at ten-day intervals (or more often if needed) to rid your container plants of aphids, whiteflies, mites, and other pests.

Search at your local library or ask at your garden centre for additional container gardening advice and tips so that your beautiful container is a success. Hopefully once you have planted your first container garden you will be anxious to start another.

Trade discount for professional gardners.

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Opening Times:  March to December: Monday to Saturday - 8am - 6pm  |  January & February: Monday to Saturday - 8am - 5pm  |  Sunday's 10am - 4pm All year
Please note: We are closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years Day and Easter Sunday
We close early (3pm) on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve.

       
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