Gardening with containers - whether commercial or improvised - offers
wonderful opportunities for creative gardening, especially on terraces, patios,
window sills and other restricted areas.
Unlike plants embedded in a garden bed, container plants can be moved around
to make the most of flowers and foliage at their best - or even to match your mood. When they
are no longer at their best, permanent plants can be retired to less obvious positions and
others can be composted and replaced with new seedlings or bulbs.
You can also use containers to fill weak areas in the main garden.
Containers can be anything from expensive antique pots to old buckets or a few car tyres placed
on top of eachother. You are limited only by your imagination. Obviously, appearance
is important and it is best to avoid unsightly containers, unless you can disguise them with
hanging plants, or covering material. They need free drainage - one or more holes in the bottom -
or you will soon find yourself experimenting with unexpected pond gardening. Remember also that
that small containers will dry out quickly and restrict root growth.
Soil for Container Gardens
Garden soil is not an ideal growing medium for containers, especially if you have a
clay soil. Good potting compost is much more likely to produce luxuriant plant growth.
Commercial mixtures are excellent but you can also make your own with soil, sand, a peat substitute
and slow release fertilizer..
Caring for Container Gardens
The critical task is watering. Container gardens dry out quickly in warm
weather and will probably require thorough watering once or twice a day. It is best to do this when
temperatures are at their coolest - morning or evening - so that plants can take up the maximimum
amount of water. Rain water is best - some plants react badly to tap water. In essence, you are dealing with pot plants on a larger scale, so feeding is