Pots of Quick Wins
If it’s your first garden, or you simply don’t have much time at the moment, an easy way to get plants into the garden is to start with some pots. It’s also a great way to see which plants work in your garden and once you start developing your borders, the plants in the pots can be planted straight into the borders.
Choosing your pots
Traditionally terracotta or ceramic pots have been the popular choice, but there’s such a wonderful range plastic planters now available that the choice can become tricky!
Plastic has the obvious advantage of being lighter than pottery, and many of today’s plastic planters are very robust too!
With terracotta or ceramic, an important consideration is their resistance to frost.
Truly frost -proof pots tend to be very expensive because they have to be coated to prevent water getting into the pottery, and consequently there’s limited choice.
Frost-resistant pots are more readily available and affordable, and providing you keep them off the ground and don’t over-water in winter, they cope perfectly well with the majority of British (and even Scottish!) winters.
Planting your pots
Planting up the pot is very simple. Start with a little ‘crock’ or gravel in the bottom to provide drainage, fill with a good compost -either a multi-purpose compost or one that’s suited to your plants – and that’s about it!
As a general rule, don’t bury the stem any deeper into the compost than when you buy it, firm the plants in so the roots make good contact and water in well after planting. Keep an eye on your plants until they are used to your conditions – for example, if you live in a windy position, you may have to re-firm the plants until they root into the compost and stand up for themselves.
You’ll often see our plant team potting when you visit Merryhatton, and if you’ve never potted a plant before, please do ask u to show you – we’re always happy to have an excuse to talk gardening!
Large pots create great impact and with the volume of the container, plants can grow in them for many years.
Obelisks (see left hand corner) can be placed simply for height or to grow climbers on. For summer flower, scent and cut flowers we adore sweet peas, and if you want a plant that will grow year after year, choose from Clematis, Lonicera and host of other perennial climbing varieties.
A simple planted bowl can create lots of impact, particularly with autumn and winter plants. Consider having 3 main elements; an evergreen plant or grass to give height at the back, seasonal bedding such as pansies, violas or primroses, and some bulbs. The plant and the bulbs can be kept in the bowl for the following season or planted out in the garden. The seasonal bedding is inexpensive, and would be considered simply as one-season plants that are replaced next year, giving you the opportunity to choose a different look next time.
Hanging baskets are very easy to make and provide another level of colour for the garden. If you don’t have brackets, or just don’t know where you’d put the baskets yet, why not use a bird table meantime – it’s an excellent way of getting some height into the garden, keeps the basket (s) at a easy level for watering, and with a little food on the table, you may even find you make some new feathered friends in your garden!
If you’ve not planted a hanging basket before, click here to find out more.
Placing a few items together can create a focal point of interest – as Julie has done here in our plant area. Even if your garden is new and waiting to be planted, a collection of a couple of pots and other items of interest will draw the eye to the focal point, and provide a real subject of interest in the garden.