by Connie Oswald Stofko
Previously I showed you my experiment with a container garden on my front lawn. That container garden wasn’t as successful as I had hoped, but I learned a lot and tried it again.
This time it was successful and my neighbors told me they loved it, too!
It didn’t look like much in May or June, but in July the plants filled out and it was gorgeous. We had a mild autumn, and the container garden looked great into November.
Tips on using containers and making it look like a garden
I found that the key to doing a container garden is to make it big enough to fill the space.
Use large pots. This year I used three pots that were about 18 inches in diameter and filled in with seven 14-inch pots. Last year, I used pots that were only 14 inches. They looked wimpy.
Use enough pots. In addition to using larger containers, this year I used more containers. I used a total of 10 containers; last year I used only eight smaller containers. And as the plants in the containers filled out, I moved the pots away from each other. That filled out the space even more.
Get some height. I used some taller plants this year, including a hydrangea and sunchokes. In addition, I set a couple of the pots on some old pots I had. It looked great from the back as well as from the front.
Bonus tip: Neighbors were surprised that I had tomato and pepper plants in my containers. Finding a sunny place for my vegetables was my original reason for trying out the container garden, and my front yard is sunnier than the back. You can mix flowers in the same pot as your vegetables! And don’t forget about fruit shrubs and even trees.
Four reasons to create a container garden
You can figure out where your garden should be. I tried out the container garden concept last year because I thought I might want a garden in my front yard, but I wasn’t sure where I wanted it. I figured if I didn’t like where the containers were, I could just try a new location. I’m glad I did it this way because, as it turns out, I didn’t like the location I had chosen last year. I’m glad I didn’t build up a new garden bed and plant perennials.
You can decide where your plants should be. If you have a perennial or shrub and you’re not sure where the best location for it is, you could try it in a pot for one season and see how it does. You can even move it throughout the season to sunnier or shadier spots.
You’re not sure how big your plants are going to get. Did you ever get surprised when a plant grew wider than you thought it would, or a plant didn’t grow as tall as you thought it would? With containers, you can just switch those plants around. Slide the large plant to the back and place the short plant in front.
If you move, you can take your plants with you. You can plant small shrubs, perennials and vegetables, even if you plan to move during the growing season. Set the pots in your moving van (or depending on the size, even in your car) and away you go.