Published on Thu, May 12, 2005 by arbara Wean

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By Barbara Wean

Growing plants in pots and window boxes is one of the most satisfying ways to garden. Cultivation is simplified and it is easier to maintain displays that change with seasons.

The containers themselves can be inventive. Wood for classic window boxes, stone pots, beaten or cast metal plastic, fiberglass and the good old standby, terra cotta. Interesting found containers like an old wheelbarrow or children’s wagon look great with bright casual flowers spilling out over the edges.

With the generous use of hard surfaces (patio and walkways) in today’s larger homes, planted containers may be positioned to emphasize the geometry and at the same time relieve the severity of the layout. Thank goodness for potted plants where the yard is formal and small and most of it is a hard surface, because the pots overcome the difficulty of plant-ing where there is no soil. Condominiums are perfect places for potted plants.

Using matching containers at entrances is a great way to add importance to the space. Try to complete the eye-catching impact of a large container for a visually striking plant like a hosta or a pot full of daisies. One of my favorite plants in a pot is dwarf boxwood trimmed into a round ball shape. This is a good way to visually create structure in a group of tumbling plants falling out of containers.

Some great combinations of flowers for pots are available in Reader’s Digest, “The Complete Container Garden.” For those of you not able to get to the library or bookstore I thought I’d mentioned some of the combinations. Start with a terra cotta pot 12 inches in diameter and 16 inches in height. Use a good quality potting mix with slow release fertilizer. Now comes the fun part! Add one red fuchsia, one double scarlet nasturtium, one bidens, yellow, two dark blue salvias and two gray-leaved helichrysums. Add four 30 inch bamboo stakes to tie some of the long arching steams of the biden and fuchsia.

Here is a simple but effective combination. One purple-leaved sweet basil and two magenta petunias. Another favorite and ultimately simple container plant for those of us with no time to shop for lots of different combinations is the petunia. Alone in a hanging basket is just fine, thank you very much. Add three or four and the basket will be bursting with color all summer. Don’t forget to feed regularly and you will probably need to water nearly every day when the weather warms up. When the petunia flower dies, pinch back behind the flower.

I love this combination – one purple-leaved phormium, two red cannas, three red Ivy-leaved pelargoniums four red zonal pelargoniums, four lime-green flowering tobacco plants and two red salvias. Now there is an eye stopper! Sometimes, the most beautiful combinations are different colors of foliage such as a beautiful white wicker basket filled with sweet potato plant, coleus and other pleasing plants. Your choice and be inventive.

Don’t forget that pots can include vegetables, privacy screens like bamboo and just about anything else you can think of. You just have to get a pot, some potting mix, fertilizer and start

Grow your own on G Street!

Reap the rewards of growing your own organic herbs, flowers and vegetables this summer. Imagine growing fresh corn, baby potatoes, peas, sunflowers and all of your other summer favorites while having fun doing it.

No experience is necessary, space is limited. For more information, call 332-1082 or 371-8195.