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1potted plantsWell ContainedThe right pot can enhance the appearanceof any plant and visa versa and, wherespace is limited, it is also one of the easiestways to create a stunning instant gardenWords: Sandra Batleynew zealand Backyard & garden Design Ideas 13
potted plantsWith gardens becoming more compact,even the smallest patio or balcony canbe transformed with a pot filled withcolourful flowers, sexy succulents or deliciousfruits and vegetables. Container gardening canquickly beautify any area of your garden withouttoo much cost or upheaval. The mobility of themalso makes it very easy to rearrange and redesignany area of garden at any time of the year.Choosing a containerPlants can be planted into any number ofcontainers — you are only limited by yourimagination. Pots have been a popularchoice for many years and come in allshapes, sizes and materials, such as ceramic,terracotta, aluminium, fibreglass, stone,concrete, tin and plastic.However, your choice does not have to berestricted to garden pots. Try using woodenwine barrels, old watering cans or evenrecycled car tyres. It is important to choose astyle to complement the surrounding décor.Take cues from the architecture of the homeand style of the garden.For a contemporary look, choose a containerwith a simplistic shape in sleek metal or smoothconcrete then select a plant with interesting foliagefor a striking display. For a more classic, formalstyle, try terracotta pots with clipped mounds of32 41. A trio of easy-care succulents makesa strong statement against this stonefeature wall.2 Yuccas adapt well to life in a pot,tolerating little water and lots of sun andprovide an eye-catching focal point.3. Get creative. Try mixing plants withcolour both in flower and foliage withcontrasting textures for an interesting effect.4.. Two large clay pots complementthe Agave attenuate and make a boldstatement in this entranceway.5Buxus sempervirens or standard bay and citrustrees. Several New Zealand native plants such asAstelias and Scleranthus work well in concrete orceramic pots for an easy-care foliage effect.Complement or contrast the colour of thepot with the colour of the flowers. A containerwith a glossy black finish provides a strongcontrast to exotic-looking, vivid-colouredblooms. Create a stylish monochromaticeffect by planting succulents such as Aeonium‘Schwarzkopf’ or Echeveria ‘Black Knight’ ina simple white ceramic pot. Perfect for sunny,hot courtyard spaces.Plants for containersContainer gardening lets you grow a huge arrayof plants from annuals, bulbs, succulents andperennials to tropical and edible plants.First, it is important to consider the locationthe pot is placed. Will the pot be in full sun,shade or exposed to coastal winds? Next,choose the right plant for that situation; alsothink about scale and proportion. Balancethe size of the pot with the eventual size ofthe plant. Very few plants survive long in anovercrowded, restricted container.From a design perspective, single plantingalways creates great impact. For example,hydrangeas, pelargoniums, lavender and flaxlook stunning in a large tub or pot or, for astylish statement, try using a single specimenwith extraordinary foliage such as Cycadrevoluta (sago palm) or a dwarf Japanesemaple. Nothing looks more elegant thana potted Japanese maple in a secludedcourtyard or sheltered entrance way.If flowers are your thing, try pots filled withgardenias, seasonal bulbs or annuals such aspetunias, pansies, begonias, impatiens, salvia,lobelia, verbena and marigolds. These will needto be replaced every season. You can play aroundwith colour to suit your own personal tastes.For a feminine, romantic touch you can’tgo past good old-fashioned cream or pinkroses. Roses are often easier to care for in pots.Fertilising and dead-heading petals are importanttasks for a successful, colourful display for thesunny, sheltered spot in the garden.If you love cooking and enjoy eating freshhomegrown fruits and vegetables, the goodnews is many herbs and vegetables are suitablefor containers. You can grow basil, mint, lettuce,capsicum, parsley, chives, tomatoes, dwarf fruittrees, strawberries and many more.How to plantContainer-grown plants provide great appeal.They can remain happy in their pots for manyyears and you can even take them with you ifyou move house.By following a few simple rules, your plantswill flourish and provide you with a constantsource of pleasure.• Make sure your pot has holes at the bottomfor drainage. This will prevent the rootsfrom sitting in water.• Add broken crockery, pebbles or gravel atthe bottom to help the water move freelyout the bottom of the pot and prevent theholes becoming blocked.• Use pot feet under your pots in winter toraise the pot for additional drainage andplace a saucer under the pot to help retainwater in summer.• Use a quality commercial container mixinstead of garden soil to fill your pot. Ina contained space the right potting soil isessential. Plants require the right blend ofminerals, nutrients and slow-release fertilisersto help keep them healthy and happy.• Leave a 50mm gap from the top of the pot toprevent the soil spilling over when you water.• Once the plant is in the pot, water it gently usinga soft spray nozzle on your hose. Water it untilwater is coming out of the bottom of the pot.56potted plantsContainer careOnce planted, plants usually require regularattention to keep them looking good. Adheringto a few maintenance tips will ensure yourplants continue to impress.• During the summer, water daily — earlymorning or late afternoon is best. Plantsdry out a lot quicker in pots, so check themregularly and add a layer of mulch on topto help retain moisture. Even in winter, potsand tubs may need watering once a weekdepending on their individual requirements.Irrigation can be installed and automated totake away the worry of watering if you go awayon holidays.• Feeding is the next essential part of keepingyour plants healthy. Maintain regularfeeding, especially during the growingseason. Apply a top dressing of dry fertiliseror apply a liquid blood-and-bone, whichyou mix with water.• Keep the plants groomed. Trim and removetired-looking and broken leaves. Deadheadspent flowers promptly. Keep an eye out forpests and diseases as these can be moreeasily controlled if caught early. n5. Rocket lettuce grows happily in thisplanter situated on the deck a shortdistance from the kitchen..6.Dwarf green flax has been planted enmasse in rectangular planters, creatinga simple lush green effect beneath thisconcrete wall.“Container gardeningcan quickly beautifyany area”14 new zealand Backyard & garden Design Ideas new zealand Backyard & garden Design Ideas 15