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Container Enthusiasm

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By Teresa Odle

It’s not just that I love pots, as I say every spring when I shop for herbs and ornamentals to fill the decorative containers that scatter our patios and lawn.  Container gardening has so many benefits that if I could, I’d grow just about everything in containers.  Here’s a partial list of the benefits of container gardening:

Flexibility. You can place and move containers anywhere. Our prized Japanese maple is in a large container that we move around the patio, depending on the season’s sun and wind exposure.

Earthbox planters make growing tomatoes and other plants a breeze.

Earthbox planters make growing tomatoes and other plants a breeze.

Convenience. Along the same lines, you can place containers with herbs or vegetables closer to your kitchen that you cook with often. If an area looks like it needs something, place the perfectly sized container there and fill it with a plant that matches the sun or shade exposure. I like a decorative pot right by the front door and usually fill it with begonias and a coleus, both of which grow in shade and are low maintenance.

Ergonomics.  Planting a full bed of flowers or weeding a vegetable garden can be hard on the back and knees. Containers and raised beds ease some of the strain on your body. Of course, you might need help hauling the containers around once they’re full and surprisingly heavy. We’ve used wheeled stands, dollies and wheelbarrows to move them around.

Space. Containers are perfect for small spaces, especially decks and patios. Apartment

Save space on your deck by planting in a deck railing container

Save space on your deck by planting in a deck railing container

and condo dwellers can grow their own vegetables and herbs right outside their doors. Even homeowners can place containers in small spaces on patios or in window boxes.

Creativity. Why limit yourself to ceramic or plastic pots? A little junk shopping can produce great containers. Just be sure to create drainage (usually by drilling a hole in the bottom and placing the container on a tray or hanging it) and plant away. We’ve got morning glories in an old washtub from my in-laws and will grow peppers this summer in a claw-foot bathtub.

And each year when I arrange annuals in my containers, it’s like designing a living floral arrangement. I love to give them as gifts, mixing textures , heights and colors for full effect.