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How To Create Classy Container Gardens With Roses

According to the National Gardening Association, 91 million households participated in some form of do-it-yourself lawn and gardening activity, spending an average of $387. Over the past decade, an increasing percentage of this total has gone towards container gardening.

Containers offer a versatile form of gardening that fits into any lifestyle and yard size. City dwellers can use them to brighten up lifeless balconies, roof decks or front stoops, while those with more space can decorate high-traffic spaces and incorporate them into lawn and garden areas for added drama and flair. Because of the multitude of options on the market, container gardens are an easy way to add a splash of color to any outdoor space, big or small.

Roses are among the most spectacular and rewarding choices for a container because of their combination of color, fragrance and season-long blooms. Also, with advances in hybridizing, roses are easier to grow than ever before. Look for the All-America Rose Selections (AARS) rose logo as a “seal of approval,” which indicates that the rose excelled in the most difficult plant trial in the world: two years of testing in 23 gardens across the country, representing all climate zones. By performing well against 15 criteria including fragrance, ease of maintenance and disease resistance, AARS roses are proven to be the very best.

Tom Carruth, director of research at Weeks Roses and hybridizer of eight AARS Winners in the past nine years, provides the following tips for building the perfect container rose garden:

Pick the right pot. Size is the most important consideration. Make sure the pot is not too small and, when in doubt, go for the larger size to allow the roots to grow without constraint over time. Make sure all pots have at least one drainage hole to prevent root rot. Do not use saucers beneath the pot; instead, use pot “feet” to lift the pot off any surface and guarantee good drainage.

Get the good dirt. Roses prefer a well-drained soil. The commercial soil mixes do well but can dry out quickly. Consider adding some soil from your garden to help stabilize the mix and extend the moisture retention. Plants grown in pots require more water, organic matter and fertilizer than plants in the ground.

Select the right spot. Remember, roses like full sun and good air circulation. Since pots have the advantage of mobility, you can move the pot around to find just the right location.

Think vertical. Place a rose bush in the center of the container and surround with “filler” and “spiller” plants at the base. The rose plant draws the eye upwards and adds height to the space, while the fillers and spillers cover the base and accentuate the container.

Group plants strategically. Choose plants with the same sunlight and watering requirements as roses. Shallow-rooted fillers do best as they will not compete with the deeper rose roots. Try annuals such as sweet alyssum or lobelia, or consider smaller creeping herbs such as thyme or ornamental oregano.

Don’t forget the foliage. Mix colorful plants with those in various shades of green to create a more intensified, three-dimensional effect. Smaller, variegated ivy hybrids look great and will spill out over sides of the container as they grow.

Consider “pot-scaping.” Choose pots of different sizes and shapes that are made from similar material or those that are similar in color to create a complementary and leveled look. Pot feet can also be used to create levels with pots of the same size.

For the best results, experts prefer to start with AARS award-winning roses, including this year’s best new roses-Julia Child, Rainbow Sorbet, Tahitian Sunset and Wild Blue Yonder-all of which are suitable for container gardens.

These and more AARS Winners are sold in select mail-order nursery catalogs and at local nurseries and garden centers nationwide.

How To Grow And Handle Fresh Herbs From Your Garden Beds Or Your Container Garden

How To Grow And Handle Fresh Herbs From Your Garden Beds Or Your Container Garden
How To Grow And Handle Fresh Herbs From Your Garden Beds Or Your Container Garden

In any recipe calling for herbs, use fresh herbs. Preparing the herbs for your dish is easy. The more tender herbs like mint, parsley, basil and cilantro can be gathered in a bowl and snipped with scissors. This is the fastest and safest way to chop the herbs. If your recipe calls for the more hardy herbs like oregano, rosemary, or thyme you should use the stripping method. Hold a branch of the herb upright in your fingers and run the fingers of your other hand down the stalk stripping the tiny leaves free. The flavor will be more intense if you have gathered the herbs from your herb gardens or container gardens because they will be absolutely the freshest herbs available.

The best way to have fresh herbs is to plant and grow them yourself. No longer is there a designated herb garden. They can be found in your flower beds, along walkways or in pots on your porch. Many ambitious gardeners are finding new ways to incorporate herbs into their garden beds and their container gardens.

Many gardeners are unaware of the beauty of flowering herbs and never consider planting them within their flower beds. Some herbs that have beautiful flowers are purple coneflower, catmint, bee balm, yarrow, pinks, lavender, pot marigold, borage, feverfew, and nasturtium which is particularly lovely in fresh salads.. Many other herbs, such as parsley are excellent next to flowers of all sorts because of their spectacular foliage. When planting red or blue flowers, place purple basil around them for an artful arrangement.

Another area to consider is to use herbs as ground cover. The herbs that are suitable to this are the low growing oregano, chamomile, woolly and other creeping thyme, mint, and rosemary. Not only will it look pretty but it will be absolutely fragrant. Just be careful of the mint family, they tend to take over everything.

One of the best ways I have grown herbs is in containers. In fact, I like container gardening so much I wrote my eBook Container Gardening Secrets (available at ContainerGardeningSecrets.com), so everyone could enjoy this type of gardening. The beauty of a container garden is that it is portable and can be changed at a moment’s whim. When there is no more room in your garden, start a container garden which you can place on your door step or patio. Use them to fill in bare spots that come up during the gardening season or put them on a sunny window sill in your home for easy harvesting. Best of all you can bring your herb containers inside over the winter months and continue to harvest for months to add to your tasty meals or to be used for medicinal purposes.

Another way to employ pots in your garden is to plant invasive herbs such as mint into a pot and then plant pot and all into the ground. This is an easy trick to keep those creepers from taking over your garden beds.

Plant a container garden near your door with the cherry pie scented blue flower heliotrope and other fragrant herbs such as rosemary, thyme and basil. Every time you walk by you will be greeted with there delicious scent.

Some herbs that have grown on rocky hillsides over the centuries such as thyme, oregano and lavender are perfect for cracks in flag stone paths or walls and rock gardens. They thrive in hot dry areas with good drainage. Some believe that those herbs grown in these conditions produce much better flavor.

Now is the time to plant your herbs, whether it is in a garden bed, a cracked wall or a container garden. Use your imagination. Consider color height and texture when planting your gardens. Not only will it be visually pleasing but your cooking will improve too!

Happy Gardening!

Copyright © 2006 Mary Hanna All Rights Reserved.

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