I'm not an expert gardener, but I enjoy it so much that I can't help but dabble. From the shopping to getting my hands dirty in the soil, for me there's nothing better for the soul than a few hours spent creating something living and lovely.
My favorite sources for plants are:
Gethsemane in Andersonville
City Escape on West Lake
Matt's Urban Garden at the Green City Farmer's Market
And here's my personal 6 step guide to planting a decorative container garden:
I picked up the Paula Hayes garden book for a steal the other day and found the below arrangement that I used as my inspiration. You can also just walk your neighborhood, check your favorite florist or garden center's website or look on Pinterest or Instagram. I find that it really helps to have an inspiration when shopping or it can get overwhelming and quickly become daunting.
Step 2: Find the right pot for your space
Again, Gethsemane and City Escape are great resources for pots and planters too. I also like the ones from West Elm and CB2 this year. Even Home Depot has some good ones depending when/where you look. If you want to go a little higher end, Old Town Fiberglass has everything you could imagine and they do custom orders.
Step 3: Shop
Here's my shopping strategy:
1. Annuals or perennials? The latter is more expensive usually, but the upfront cost saves you in the end if you think your plant will survive the winter and is what you want long-term.
2. Variety: In my experience, you need a little height, a little width and a little that cascades down. Finally, a variety of sizes of the leaves and colors. I like an ombre color palette meaning varying shades of greens with maybe a bit of another color thrown in (in this case I did a little purple and a splash of blue as taken from my inspiration photo).
3. Care of the plant: Make sure you get all sun/part sun or shade/part shade plants with similar watering needs. The people working at the nursery are a great help for this and this is another reason why I love Gethsemane, Matt's Urban Garden and City Escape- they're knowledgeable and NICE! You're there to have fun and learn, not to be treated like you're a burden.
4. Amount: You want to have a couple more inches of plant than you do dimension of pot as I find that you always need more than you think and you don't want it to look sparse when you first plant. They'll all grow and you can always trim things down.
5. Soil and other fillers: Soil is SO important. I like a good organic soil and again more of it than you think you'll need. Ask the nursery for their recommendations and don't skimp on this one. It can make all the difference in having plants that last. You may also need something for the bottom of your pot for drainage like rock or packing peanuts. Below is a good illustration:
Step 4: Arrange
Play around with what works together in the container before you remove the plants from their plastic pots. I like to start by putting the tallest plant in one of the back corners and go from there.
Step 5: Plant
- Start by filling your container with rock or for a lighter approach, packing peanuts. If you're in a cold climate, lining containers with packing bubble wrap is a good idea.
- Add a good organic soil.
- Water the soil and let it settle for a bit then go back and add more soil if needed.
- Before removing your plants from the plastic pot, roll it gently (like you would a lemon before squeezing), remove the plastic and scratch the bottom of the pot to aerate the roots.
- Place your first plant in a corner then pack a bit of soil around it and repeat with the rest of your plants. I like to tilt the plants in the front towards me a little as I think it looks fuller and nicer.
Step 6: Care
Top your plants/containers with mulch or decorative rock if needed/possible to keep them moist and water a bit more often in the first week or so to allow plants to establish.
For more detailed tips on how to care for your plants, I would suggest asking the nursery workers.
Enjoy and let's hope summer really is around the corner!!!