Whether you live in a tiny city apartment or on a large country estate, gardening in containers is a way to add splashes of color and natural beauty to your environment. Use containers where soil is absent or of poor quality, such as on steps, decks, and balconies; along driveways and fences; and around trees, mailboxes, and flagpoles. Containers can also enhance permanent plantings. Add instant blooms the day of a party, move a mature sun-loving plant to a shady terrace, or coddle exotic flowers indoors until the weather permits outdoor display. Here's how to get started:
Choose your containers. Garden stores carry a variety of pots, boxes, and hanging planters, but more creative choices -- such as watering cans, hollowed-out logs, plastic-lined baskets, or even old boots -- also can serve. Containers should hold water well enough that plants won't dry out quickly, yet also be permeable enough to allow air circulation. Be sure they have enough root space for the plants they will hold.
Select your plants. We advise starting with familiar favorites and building around them. Create compositions of plants that complement each other but vary in form, texture, and size. Repeat related colors to establish a theme, then add a contrasting element for interest.
Group containers for effect. Don't stop with just a single pot -- the more the merrier! Mix and match pots and plants to make a powerful statement.
Tend faithfully. Water often. Remove spent blooms and leaves regularly.
Continued on page 2: A Walkway Garden