Hello! I’m Katherine Crouch, BBC Gardener of The Decade. We are here at the beautiful Sommerset gardens of East Lambrook Manor. I’m going to be showing you how to plant a tub a beautiful flowers that will keep going all the way through the summer in a really lovely hot theme of reds and purples. I’ve bought this really lovely terracotta pot from the garden centre in a lovely glaze of browns and reds to complement our theme. You can see it has got a god hole in the bottom which we need for drainage. A good pot is a good investment, this was 20 pounds on special offer. First of all we need to make sure we can drain all the water through when we’re watering. So we are going to use pieces of broken pot, any gardener will end up with a collection of these whether they like it or not.
Start of with a good sized piece upside down on the hole. Then add some more pieces so there is a good air space at the bottom so when we are watering all the water will drain through. If you haven’t got any crock pieces then one stone accross the hole and a layer of gravel in the bottom of the pot will be fine. So here were are. Without sliding them to one side, can you see the crocks in the bottom there? I’ve got a really lovely selection of plants. It’s not rocket science to plant a tub, you just shove in some compost and add some plants! Easy peasy!
But today I’m going to show you some tips that will really make your pots that bit special. I went to a plant demonstration and I heard this wonderful American woman say. ‘Honey! When your doing a mixed tub what you want is a thriller, a filler and a spiller!’ It makes perfect sense. Our thriller is our main event in the pot that gives us some height. This is a beautiful Cordeline Torbay Red which you can see is a really good colour to go with our pot. Then as our filler I’m going to have as our center main colour event, three beautiful Osteospermun, Two of them are in a lovely flame red and just for fun a really rich velvetty purple. First off all I need to fill up the tub halfway with compost.
The aim of the game is to end up with the tops of the root balls about an inch and a bit below the top of the rim. So when we water we can just fill up all that top space with water and let it drain down through. We don’t want them set down to deep and we don’t want them sticking out either. So, lets start off by putting some soil in. Use a nice big scoop, to pop it in over the top of our crocks. There we are, that’s about right to start with. Now you can see that our main thriller plant appears to be taking up nearly all of the pot already. We are going to have to do some clever cutting in order to make sure that we have got room for all the other plants.
If we put the Osteospurmuns in with this Cordeline, can you see how it is going straight over the top of the Osteopermun? What I want to do is give this a bit of a trim. Using just an ordinary pair of scissors I can just quietly cut off right next to the stem the very lowest of the shoots. We won’t see these when the pots completed. The great thing about using these is that these plants, if given a mild winter and maybe a little protection, are hardy. You will be able to use this plant year after year. That should do it.
We’ve got some cuts there, they won’t show. Knock it out of it’s pot, there we are. Lovely root ball, tease out some of these roots so that it encourages the plant to send out new growth into the compost instead of going round and round in circles. We are going to pop this in the pot like so. We are really going to have to plant these fairly tightly, so I’m just going to tease of the root ball either side to make this a slightly flattened oval. The plant won’t mind if we break a root it can grow another one. I’m going to put this as hard to the back of the pot as I can.
Container Gardening Top Tips for Success
Music Container gardening is becoming more andmore popular as people appreciate the flexibility andextra growing space it provides. It’s not just about flowers either youcan grow your own tasty produce right outside your door and many speciallyadapted plant varieties arenow available. But growing in containers does come withits own special challenges and if you want to succeed it’simportant to plan ahead.
Let us take you through the essentials. Where to site your containers is the first thing you need to consider. Most vegetable plants like lots of sun,so it’s important to choose a place which will provide 6 hours or more of direct light south or west facinglocations are the best. Placing them as close to your house asyou can will mean you have easy access to your plants great for harvesting and easy for you totake care of them.
Choose a sheltered spot for your pots soyour plants are kept out of cold, drying winds. Walls, fences hedges are good locations, or try to screen the pots. Using your window ledges and balconies is a great way to get started if you don’t have agarden but make sure your pots are properlysecured to prevent them from blowing off when the weather gets windy. Watering is the number one priority forcontainers
as the plants won’t have access to moisturebelow ground. On a hot sunny day they can dry out within hours and plants might not recover from seriouswilting. On hot days giving plants a thorough watering in the early morning and evening will be required, making sure that you don’t just wet thesurface, but allow it to soak down to the roots. For added convenience, drip irrigationcan be installed particularly useful if you’ll be awayfrom home during part of the summer.
Containers come in all shapes, sizescolors and materials. Plastic and wood are tried and testedmaterials, but you can unleash your creativity just make sure they are clean and won’tleach harmful chemicals. Large pots can also be used to growplants that aren’t native to your area for example they can be filled with an ericaceous soil for blueberries, which like acidic conditions. And for heat loving plants such as dwarf citrus trees, containers enable the plans to be moved to a warm conservatory or greenhouse during winter months, protecting them from the worst of the winter weather.
There are plenty of options available for using vertical space too, and if you have a warm sunny wall whichabsorbs heat during the day this will radiate the warmth during thenight, protecting the plants from cold snaps. It’s essential to provide good drainage. Plants are easily killed if their roots arewaterlogged. Make sure there are adequate drainageholes and that they’re free from dirt or blockages Adding a shallow layer of stones or brokenpottery to the base of the pot often helps to improve drainage.