Category Archives: container gardening

Pink and Purple Humming Bird Basket

Here’s another basket I put together every year for the Humming birds. This is for Partial shade.
I use three trailing Torenia (wishbone flower) and three pink Calibrachoa (million bells) in a 12 inch hanging basket.
The Torenia is deer resistant but the Calibrachoa isn’t. This basket is hanging by the back door where the dogs go in and out, so unless the deer get really bold, they should leave it a lone. It’s also in front of the window so we can see the hummingbirds visit it. 
I mix my own soil, 1 part organic peat, 1 part organic compost or mushroom compost, 1/2 part untreated vermiculite or perlite (no added fertilizers),  and about 2 tablespoons per gallon of soil of dry organic, low nitrogen fertilizer
I grow a lot of plants so I usually mix up a wheelbarrow full at a time- so I add about 2 cups of the fertilizer per wheelbarrow- it’s never an exact science with me- then I mix it all together with a shovel. 

This is a very easy care basket for part shade areas. Make sure your basket has a drain hole and just water when soil starts to feel dry or the basket feels light (don’t let it get bone dry though). You can also get in the habit of touching the soil every time you pass by.

Happy Gardening!

(Hopefully) Deer Resistant Flower Containers

As you may have already guessed from the many pictures of deer in previous posts, my new house is in the middle of deer country.
So… knowing how deer treat flower gardens as their own personal buffet, I’ve been researching plants that are supposed to be “Deer Resistant” for my new perennial bed in the front yard.
So far they’ve  sampled only a few plants on the list (a Centaurea montana and the Cardinal vine –
Ipomoea), but have left them alone since.
Anyway, I also love my flower pots and usually line my porch steps and any other convenient place that begs for a spot of color. So I decided, after the deer ate my ivy gerainum off the porch last summer, to apply the Deer Resistant gardening to my flower pots as well.
Here’s what I’ve come up with:

Alyssum, dwarf snapdragon, sweet william, and corkscrew grass (Juncus) in a 20″ ceramic bowl. (oh, in case you’re wondering, I don’t use chemical fertilizers- I mix my own soil of peat, compost and a bit of organic dry fertilizer. The plants love it!). The Juncus isn’t on the resistant plant list but I thought it looked cool and I’m depending on the “undesirable” plant to protect it (fingers crossed!)


Purple fountain grass, silver falls dichondra, and a little bit of blue lobelia, barely poking out.


A perennial and annual ‘Mailbox’ garden- Osteospermum, Alyssum, Yarrow, Dusty Miller, Purple Fountain grass, dwarf snap dragons, and a Shasta daisy  (daisy is hard to see from this angle).
 and a box full of Dianthus- or biannual sweet william. The little green pot next to it is Peppermint.


This is Mama Deer. She shows up around dinner time, everyday.
She has a fawn hidden close by in the woods.
So far she’s leaving my pots alone…


Here’s my source.
It has lots of good information about deer behavior and other pests and how to detour them.
But the best part is in the back with an extensive list of plants that resist deer, listing their toxicity if any, their care and a very brief description of ways to propagate your own
 (notice is didn’t say “deer proof”- no plant is deer proof as they will nibble on anything at least once).
You can find this at in the Kindle version  but the pictures of plants are in black and white. The paperback version is nicer and has full color picture of the plants.


Haircut Victim Recovering


Over the winter the deer decided they liked my variegated pink and green sedum I had growing in a little clay pot on my front porch. They ate it completely level with the dirt and were rolling it around trying to finish it off.
I stashed it away, between some bigger pots of dormant hostas by my back door to save it.
Well it lived, and thanks to it’s haircut, it’s growing quite vigorously.

Sign of a plant hoarder?

Most people, when they move to a new house, take with them their furniture, china and other household possessions. I made sure all my favorite plants came with me.

An assortment of trees, shrubs and perennials, waiting for spring and a spot in a new flowerbed.

Container Gardening for 2012

A favorite hobby of mine is seeing what I can grow in a pot, anywhere from little flowers to perennials, veggies and herbs, all the way up to shrubs roses and trees. Some things work, some things don’t, but that’s the fun of it.

Here’s some of this seasons projects…

Herbs in pots and tubs~ your standard basils, chives, rosemary, catnip, green onions peppermint, chocolate mint, camomile, sage, stevia, parsley-flat and curly, thyme got lost somewhere in there… no  pun intended (or maybe it was… ). Strawberries on the side are in their second year and I have them caged to keep the Devourer of Gardens‘ out of them. The hens and chicks and the blue spruce sedum are there because I thought they looked good in that spot.

close up of hens & chicks and blue spruce sedum (pink flowers belong to the spiderweb hens & chicks). This container is on it’s second year too.

Hosta in a pot. ‘Red October’ second year and doing beautifully.

Tiny Tim cherry tomato in a galvanized bucket (I grow these every year). It only gets 15″ tall and has 1″ size tomatoes on them. I’ll update this one later with the tomatoes. It’s one of my most popular tomato plants and I always run out fast.

Banana Peppers in a galvanized bucket. Just one of the many pepper plants I grow in a pot.
(The tree behind it is an Amur Maple I grew from seed-beautiful little tree that only gets 12′ high).

My favorite this year.
I planted Purple fountain grass, two purple potato vines and a white ‘Million Bells’ Calibrachoa in a garage sale plastic urn.
the window box is planted with a variety of romaine lettuces.

An assortment of flowers and herbs~ a Dwarf Korean Lilac, the Tiny Tim tomato in the middle, mandevilla vine, Pineapple sage, moss rose, variegated sedum, and blue spruce sedum starts.

“Wait Mom! There’s a leaf out of place on this sedum! I’ll fix it for you!”

Torenia aka Wishbone Flower

 When I first met this little flower, I was introduced to it as the “wishbone” Flower.
Torenia fournieri ~ If you look closely, you will see a ‘wishbone’ just above the yellow. It’s also been dubbed ‘Clown Flower’. If you look at it for a bit, you’ll see a silly smiling face!
I wasn’t very impressed. They were featured in hanging baskets in the normal Peat mixture, which if you didn’t water it daily, dried out quickly resulting in burned and crispy plants.
I did my best to keep them watered and presentable but like me, most of the customers passed them by. 
Last year, I was looking for an annual to 
put in my deck rail basket that would tolerate shade most of the day.
I looked at my options but didn’t really want to do Impatiens again. 
I remembered that the Torenia liked shade and decided to give it a try. 
I put three little white flowered plants in the basket along with my special mix of potting soil and kept it well watered all summer. Once it got established, it grew like crazy.
Well, I was very happy with it. 
This year I bought eight plants of the purple and planted the basket right away.
It filled in quickly and the heat hasn’t fazed it one bit. 
It’s defiantly my new favorite!
Unopened flower buds
 and it blooms nonstop until frost.
 Here’s some features~
Light:Part Sun,Shade
Soil: Average to Moist
Plant Type:Annual
Plant Height:8 to 12 inches tall, depending on type
Plant Width:6-9 inches wide, depending on type
Landscape Uses:Containers,Beds & Borders
Special Features:Flowers,   ~ Deer Resistant! ~

Container Gardens

Trailing Vinca on the front porch ~ pre-potted for me but my favorite!
Every year, I like to experiment with plant combinations in pots and tubs.
It’s fun throwing colors and textures together and then waiting to see how they grow.
Some turn out some don’t, but I enjoy the experience non-the-less.
Annual Purple Feather grass & Potato vine and Impatiens & Torenia
Hens & Chicks and Blue Spruce Sedum
close up of chicks
and finally an update of the White & Fuzzy Tub….
The washtub is almost hidden from view & the snow in summer is starting to trail the ground and the Yarrow is now completely hidden…

Oh, no wait…. Here it is….  Maybe next year it will flower.

White roses, Green tomatoes & an Uncooperative Chickadee

Last month I ‘rescued” a miniature white rose from my IGA store. You know, the little roses you find sitting among assorted house plants and such in the grocery store’s floral section. 
This little rose was sitting there all by it’s self, looking lonely, and loosing it’s blooms for lack of light~ 
so of course I had to take it home.
(Yes, this is an addiction….  and when they come out with the TV show, “Plant Hoarders Intervention”, I will probably be one of the featured guests!)
 Anyway, I gave it a new home with lots of organic compost and plenty of sunshine. 
It really loved this and was quickly covered in new growth and fat little buds!
Isn’t it pretty?
And, I finally have green tomatoes! Yay!
I got my garden in late so I’m very happy to see these now. 
There’s nothing better than a garden grown tomato! These are Rutgers.
And last, my garden has been made home by a family of Chickadees this year!
I’ve been trying to get pictures forever of these quick little guys 
but by the time I snap the picture, they’re off and flying again!
This is one of the babies and he’s not afraid of me at all. 
He’ll sit on the feeders right next to me as I work in the garden! 
He just didn’t want to hold still for the camera!

Bonsai! ~ sort of…..

You may remember in a previous post that I showed you this Red Japanese Maple in a nursery container.
Well, I decided to keep it in a pot until I can find the perfect place to plant it.
I found this really cool pot that is made from resin, fiberglass and rock dust. 
Not exactly a Bonsai container but I think it suites the tree.

Blooms & Barrels

As summer carries on…
the Daylillys are popping
Double Old Orange Lily ( Hemerocallis fulva )

 The label said Stella D’ Oro when I bought this lily, but it’s a little more orange than it should be
The Butterfly weed has finally bloomed
Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
 The Foxglove is Foxy
The Tick Seed is ticking
And the Arrowood has Berries
Arrowood Viburnum ( Viburnum dentatum )
 My Barrel ( container ) gardens are doing great too!
Catmint, Coreopsis, & Obedient plant ~ there is a barrel under there somewhere, Honest!

The herb gardens (notice the wire around the strawberries? Annie ate last years plants! Wire seems to be working!)

Purple Ruffles Basil from seed~ really easy, get soil wet, sprinkle seeds, lightly press in with fingers and don’t cover seeds. It needs light to germinate. If the soil is warm enough, Basil seed will swell and sprout within 24-48 hours!
And my Newest project! 
Red Japanese maple
Daisy Says~ 
“Don’t miss next week’s episode to find out what Mom does with the Maple!”