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Container Garden Tips by the Editors of Reader's Digest


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Container Garden Tips

What makes container gardening so very versatile is that you can grow several plants in one large pot, or arrange a group of planters side by side to become an integral part of the garden design. If you have a passion for a particular type of plant, then you can build up a container collection.

The pots could each hold a different variety of hosta or lily or several species of grass. Or you could gather together a number of tiny plants, such as alpines which would look small and insignificant on their own, into a group that demands attention.

Alternatively, you can group a collection of different plants to create a particular effect, such as a traditional border, or to add a pretty cottage garden look to a bare terrace.

Rearranging a group of pots as flowers to fade into one and come into bloom in another also enables you to refresh the look of a container garden again and again. This is particularly true of spring bulbs, which have a short season, compared with summer pot plants such as busy Lizzies. Using containers, you can add a new bowl of blooms to replace an old one from early March to late May to keep the display constantly fresh and pretty.

Putting a group of containers together also provides scope for experimenting with the effects of combining colors and textures. If you are not confident about whether the combination of plants you want will look good together, put them all in separate pots and shuffle them until you achieve a pleasing result.

If your chosen plants have different heights, it is obviously best to place the taller ones at the back and the shortest ones at the front, arranging the others so that their sizes are graduated in between. If you want to group very low plants together, you may need to place them on a tiered stand, which maximises limited space, or on a table to lift small leaves or tiny flowers closer to eye level.

If you are adding containers to an existing group, then they need to be sympathetic to the atmosphere already established.

As a general rule, it is wise to choose one style of container from a source which enables you to add to the collection with ease. Visit garden centers or potteries where you can pick out pots and arrange and rearrange them until you create a pleasing group.

If you want to achieve a tight arrangement, square or rectangular shapes can be butted up closer together than rounded shapes. Sharp angles also create a modern style, whereas curvaceous shapes have a more traditional appearance. Flat-backed wall pots are also useful containers if space is short, because they sit tight against a wall.


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