In the Garden:
Middle South
May, 2004
Regional Report

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1405

Spring-blooming crocuses enjoy a secure summer rest beneath pots planted with cypressvine morning glory, New Guinea impatiens, and a late sowing of basil.

Hard-Working Containers

Every year I find myself filling more containers because I keep finding such good jobs for them. Sometimes my goal is pure pleasure, like when I use containers to lure hummingbirds onto my deck or to raise fragrant plants to nose level. But I'm also discovering more practical uses for plant-filled pots, such as restraining potentially invasive plants and smothering weeds.

Creating New Niches
I don't think twice about growing rampant reseeders like cypressvine morning glory in large tubs placed near a concrete walkway. Containers provide an easy way to control the exuberance of spreading plants like mint, and they are ideal homes for marjoram, thyme, and other culinary herbs that spend summer outdoors and winter on a sunny windowsill. Pots are also great for geraniums and other plants in need of superior drainage and air circulation. Containers make it simple to provide the precise balance of morning sun and afternoon shade that New Guinea impatiens find so pleasing, too.

Problem Solving with Pots
My soil hosts a robust zoo of fusarium fungi, so I use pots to grow 'Yellow Pear' and other susceptible heirloom tomatoes. I also use buried pots to bring inhospitable places to life. The yucky rock and gunky clay by my mailbox is now bursting with purple petunias planted in a nursery liner buried up to the rim.

What about weeds? Last year, instead of trying to keep my crocus bed free of wild things, I covered it with containers and stone from summer to fall. A little patch of Bermuda that sprang up next to the iris bed got smothered with a half barrel filled with chard -- additional space for essential edibles and effortless weed control, too! Right now, that same half barrel is employed as a propagation bed, holding little perennials waiting for their permanent home. More than just pretty, pots can be hard-working elements in any type of garden.


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