Grow Your Own Backyard Paradise in a Pot
By Melinda Myers
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[June 21, 2014]
Create a backyard escape with the help
of container gardens. Whether you’re looking for a visit to the
desert, an English garden or tropical paradise, a few planters can
help create the mood.
Reduce your workload and increase your enjoyment with a bit of
planning and proper planting.
Select a container with drainage holes and one that mimics the
color and feel of the location you are trying to recreate. Use
troughs, stone or other containers made from neutral colors when
growing succulents. The container should complement, but not
overpower the simple beauty of the desert plants.
Keep things warm and natural when going for a more tropical feel.
Wicker, bamboo and other natural materials work well with the lush
foliage and vibrant colors of tropical plants.
Add a few terra cotta, metal and basket type containers when
creating an English cottage setting. Set them on your patio, steps
or in the garden to create a focal point.
Keep your plants looking good throughout the season with the proper
planting mix. Look for potting mixes with good drainage and water
holding abilities, like Schultz Potting Soil Plus (schultz.com).
Check the label as some mixes contain enough fertilizer to last the
entire season and water-retaining crystals to reduce the need to
Use a cactus mix that provides the perfect growing conditions for
cacti and succulents. The potting mix should retain the moisture and
nutrients the plants need, while providing the excellent drainage
that is a must for these plants.
Plant any orchids added to your backyard tropical paradise in a
potting mix designed for these plants. Use an orchid mix that has
excellent drainage and aeration, yet retains the moisture and
nutrients these beauties need to thrive.
Check your planters daily and water thoroughly whenever the top few
inches of soil are crumbly and slightly moist. Allow cacti and
succulents to go a bit drier.
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Mulch the soil in tropical, herb, vegetable and annual
container gardens. Spread a thin layer of shredded leaves,
evergreen needles or twice shredded bark over the soil surface.
Use fine pebbles for cacti and succulents that like things hot
And don’t forget about garden accents. A wattle fence and arbor
of twigs and branches work well for an English garden setting,
while a water feature can enhance a tropical paradise themed
garden, and some southwest garden art can complete the desert
scene you’re going for.
So start your vacation this year with a trip to the garden
center. Invest in a few containers, the right potting mix and
plants. Then plant your way to the retreat of your dreams.
[By MELINDA MYERS]
Gardening expert, TV/radio host,
author & columnist Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of
horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books,
including Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening and the Midwest
Gardener’s Handbook. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow
Anything” DVD series and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden
Moment segments. Myers is also a columnist and contributing editor
for Birds & Blooms magazine. Myers’ web site,
offers gardening videos and tips.