Grab a coffee and spend the next three minutes scanning these spring-starters: yep, that’s a minute each. They’re sure to spark a few ideas…
1.Mini Organics – Yummy and Pretty
Who doesn’t dream of eating clean food that you’ve grown yourself. But how likely is this for most of us? Especially if our outdoor spaces are limited to a balcony or even just the front door step? This solution is fun, easy and pretty high on the guaranteed-to-succeed list – an organic food & flower-filled moment in a great big pot…
- It’s all about bringing together easy care plants and growing them in a healthy way, which means the plants you select must be able to grow well without chemical sprays against pests and disease. An organic potting mix and organic fertilizers complete the picture.
- Dave Epstein does a very nice step-by-step how-to in this video “Creating an Organic Container” which shows the process from go to whoa. He combines garden workhorse herbs, rosemary and sage, then sets them alongside a Scarlet Flower Carpet rose to produce a mixed planting that will grow into something that will look very, very good. It will also produce a lot of ingredients for the plate and flowers for the table.
2. Be Bold with Blossom
Here’s a fact. One blossom tree is nice. You stop to point at it saying, “Oh isn’t that lovely.” Here’s another fact (which the Japanese have understood forever), that many blossom trees planted together are a thing of astonishing beauty. Blossom massed in this way doesn’t need to be pointed out. Instead it’s experienced viscerally. So here comes the inspired suggestion – plant more than one blossom tree…
- Planting a tree is no big deal and there’s plenty of good advice out there on the how-to (just type how to plant a tree into Google images). The tricky bit is deciding what tree to plant, and the suggestion here is to look at trees that give you more than just leaves year round. It’s worth getting the greatest contribution from any tree given the space it takes up, so pick something that covers itself in blossoms in spring, shady leaves in summer, offers a leafy color-show in the autumn/fall, and then bare branches (which let in precious sunlight) during the darker days of winter.
- Not all blossom trees look the same so there’s some fun to be had playing around with them. A formal line of ornamental pears looks great running up the drive. A soft cloud of plum blossom or the magical waterfall of the ornamental cherry both look out of this world when gathered together as a mini forest under-planted with a rough lawn and spring bulbs. And if you want something more contemporary, or only have room for a solitary moment in the limelight, hands down the Jury tree magnolias (like Felix or Black Tulip) are absolute picks.
3. The Classic – Potted Flowers
It’s the absolute garden basic, a flowering plant grown in a pot. Super classic. Absolutely retrouvé. And it is the perfect project for spring on two counts: it can be accomplished in any weather (i.e. you can do this indoors) and; the results are a perfect way to freshen up any home for spring and summer.
- There are so many pots to plant, plants to put into them, and ways to display the results. There is no ‘wrong’ from an aesthetic viewpoint, but here are some great designer tips worth sharing. Gather together a mix bag of containers and then plant them all with the same plant before grouping them together on display. Or flip this over and use the same style pot to grow a wide range of different plants. Consider the location of your pots. Sit white flowers just outside windows where at night they’ll stand out in the light from the interior. Line pots up on a set of bare steps to make an entrance more welcoming. Or dress an outside table with potted color to welcome people outside.
- Success depends on two things; knowing how to plant and look after a potted plant and, knowing what plants are happy to grow in containers. Dave Epstein covers the how-to-plant and post-care tips in this video, “Easy Tips for Growing Plants in Containers.” As for the easy care plants to put in your containers, seeking advice from the local garden center is a bullet-proof way to go. Bulbs are tough, and they shriek springtime and the rebirth of the sleeping garden. Flower Carpet roses are great and flower for months and months. Succulents are a good option where keeping your pots watered is tricky.
Whether it’s geraniums on a balcony (above) or bulbs in a bucket (above), plants in containers are the classic and best garden project as long as you pick something easy like any one of the Flower Carpet roses (below).