Posts Tagged ‘container gardening’

Garden writers vote for Carol’s unusual drum planters

August 12th, 2014 | News, The flower garden | 0 Comments

Unusual drum plantersMany staff members at Mr Fothergill’s are also keen gardeners who enjoy taking their work home with them.  This summer the company challenged them to grow plants in unusual containers.

Twelve people rose to the challenge, and their handiwork was judged by members of the gardening press who visited the Mr Fothergill’s Kentford trial ground in Newmarket in early August.

The winner was Carol Parsons, who divides her time between the company’s seed testing laboratory and working in the trial ground.  Her winning entry was this pair of male and female metal drums sporting blue lobelia and pink petunia ‘hair’.

In second place was product development coordinator Pim Dickson who planted a brazier with flame-like celosias.

Among the entries were some weird and wonderful creations, including a brassière used as a hanging basket.  As one wag was heard to remark,  “It’s good to see underwear recycling in full swing!”

Pim Dickson's celosias planted in a fire basket

While the competition was mainly for the fun of growing the plants and the glory of winning, there was a first prize of a case of beer and a second prize of a bottle of wine.

A stroll into almost any allotment plot in the land will reveal unusual planters in old baths, toilets, old tyres and containers that would otherwise be described as old junk.

There have been some great examples of using broken crocks, discarded kitchen crockery and other containers to house alpine displays on the Flower Show circuit this year too.

Do you have an unusual planter?  Share your pictures with us on the Facebook wall and let us all see!

Cool pansies for containers and ground cover

July 16th, 2014 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Pansy 'Cool Wave Mixed'Those of us old enough to remember ‘Universal’ pansies will recall how they delighted so many gardeners as the first pansies that flowered in the winter as well as the spring. That was back in 1979.

The Universals are long gone (though the name is sometimes attached to newer varieties) but since then there’s been a long succession of improvements: more flowers, more colours, better hardiness, better weather resistance and now pansies with a trailing and spreading habit.

Pansies for hanging baskets is a relatively new idea and ‘Cool Wave’ is the one to look for. Flowering from October to May, the seven colours in the mixture harmonise well together and make a delightful basket without any companions – although silvery ivies (‘Glacier’ or ‘Little Diamond’)Pansy 'Cool Wave Mixed' provide colour when the worst of the weather reduces the flower power of the pansies. And the stems of ‘Cool Wave’ don’t simply hang down in straggly vertical sheets, no. The plants are more semi-trailing, they arch elegantly over the sides of the pot or basket.

But there’s another way to use these versatile pansies – as ground cover. Plant them at the front of a border that gets sun for most of the day and they will spread out with the flowers standing up above the leaves. The flowers are medium-sized, so they’re colourful but not so large that they’re easily damaged by rain, and they’re held up above the leaves which cushion the rain splashes. They’re also tough; ‘Cool Wave’ pansies will tolerate temperatures of -29C – should we so unlucky.

You can order Pansy ‘Cool Wave’ now, try get your order in before the August Bank Holiday.

Container gardening guide

April 8th, 2014 | The vegetable garden | 0 Comments

Mixed Spicy Salad LeavesGet some ideas on how to grow crops in containers for gardens where space is tight, or simply to have easy access to regular cropping vegetables from your kitchen door in this container gardening guide.

Window ledges and balconies are a great place to grow plants in pots if you have no garden, otherwise choose a good sunny site on the patio in your garden. Warm sunny walls are ideal to provide a good source of warmth for your plants.

Great plants to grow in containers if you are new to this style of gardening include:

  • Salad leaves – grow them as cut and come again for a continuous supply of salad through the warmer months
  • Tomatoes (try them in hanging baskets!)
  • Potatoes in patio planters
  • Herbs to provide the kitchen with a ready supply for cooking

Use our Garden Planner to help you plan your container garden.