All Posts   Posted:   September 4, 2015 by Jennifer William
With Jennifer Williams [Dennis' 7 Dees Lake Oswego store manager & container design expert]

Jennifer Williams, our store manager & container design expert, gives us a glimpse into her creative process and shares tips for container gardening success.

Process:

  • Choose the container – this will dictate the rest of the process, whether it’s highly decorative ceramic or simple plastic. The size is important, many people go too small only to have them look dwarfed by their surroundings while the plants quickly outgrow the pots.
  • Pick three colors (at most) – this is my biggest source of inspiration! stick with a color scheme to avoid what I call the “confetti approach” this will give you a much more cohesive design overall.
  • Establish the exposure – determine what conditions the pot(s) will be in. Sun versus shade is very important. What is the water availability? Don’t set yourself up for failure.
  • Thriller, Filler, Spiller – this is a general guideline and may not apply to all container plantings but is useful as a tool. Thriller is an upright centerpiece, evergreen or not. Filler is a midrange flower or foliage plant. Spiller is a trailing flower or foliage plant. Remember foliage plants add punch and definition essential for a well-rounded combination.
  • Instillation – use quality soil and fertilizer; make sure to rough up the roots. I’m talking more than “teasing” them; I like to use a Japanese gardening knife (hori hori) for tight root balls and I cut the bottom in the shape of a cross, and then pull back the four segments before planting. This reducing the root ball slightly while promoting much faster root growth.
  • Maintenance – Regular watering, fertilizing and cleaning/pest control are key for most containers to keep looking great throughout the season.

Drop-ins:

This is a new approach to container plantings that is ideal for today’s busy schedule. The idea that great looking containers are permanent is a recipe for disappointment. Instead of planting a pretty ceramic pot directly in hopes that your investment will last years, consider finding a preplanted plastic pot that can discretely fit inside your decorative one and voila instant seasonal color that can be switched out easily for the next season, that way you always have a fresh look without the hassle and expense of planting “permanent” plants. 

Container Maintenance Tips:

  • My favorite fertilizer combination (just G&B for edibles) – Rose Society 15.10.10 mixed 50/50 with G&B Organic Bud & Bloom. The combination of a time release and an organic with beneficial microbes makes for a healthy and colorful start.
  • Watering - is the most important aspect to a successful container, not too much and not too little! And remember the more water a container requires the hungrier it will be, so feed them regularly throughout the growing season.
  • Preventative – treat for pests before they wreak havoc, that doesn’t mean spray every chemical on the shelf but if you know that petunias and geraniums are prone to budworm spray with BT (bacillus thuringiensis, a natural bacteria that is very safe) every two weeks to protect new growth from voracious caterpillars.
  • Pinch – Don’t be afraid to trim plants that are bullying other plants in a container to maintain balance.
  • Have fun – every planting is a learning experience and if you have a casualty, or two, it’s a great chance to try something new!
Container design inspriation can be found adorning our garden center displays and grab-n-go solution are available for those of you who are too busy and/or don't enjoy getting your hands dirty. We do custom container planting as well. Contact us to schedule your container garden design needs today!
With Jennifer Williams [Dennis' 7 Dees Lake Oswego store manager & container design expert]

Jennifer Williams, our store manager & container design expert, gives us a glimpse into her creative process and shares tips for container gardening success.

Process:

  • Choose the container – this will dictate the rest of the process, whether it’s highly decorative ceramic or simple plastic. The size is important, many people go too small only to have them look dwarfed by their surroundings while the plants quickly outgrow the pots.
  • Pick three colors (at most) – this is my biggest source of inspiration! stick with a color scheme to avoid what I call the “confetti approach” this will give you a much more cohesive design overall.
  • Establish the exposure – determine what conditions the pot(s) will be in. Sun versus shade is very important. What is the water availability? Don’t set yourself up for failure.
  • Thriller, Filler, Spiller – this is a general guideline and may not apply to all container plantings but is useful as a tool. Thriller is an upright centerpiece, evergreen or not. Filler is a midrange flower or foliage plant. Spiller is a trailing flower or foliage plant. Remember foliage plants add punch and definition essential for a well-rounded combination.
  • Instillation – use quality soil and fertilizer; make sure to rough up the roots. I’m talking more than “teasing” them; I like to use a Japanese gardening knife (hori hori) for tight root balls and I cut the bottom in the shape of a cross, and then pull back the four segments before planting. This reducing the root ball slightly while promoting much faster root growth.
  • Maintenance – Regular watering, fertilizing and cleaning/pest control are key for most containers to keep looking great throughout the season.

Drop-ins:

This is a new approach to container plantings that is ideal for today’s busy schedule. The idea that great looking containers are permanent is a recipe for disappointment. Instead of planting a pretty ceramic pot directly in hopes that your investment will last years, consider finding a preplanted plastic pot that can discretely fit inside your decorative one and voila instant seasonal color that can be switched out easily for the next season, that way you always have a fresh look without the hassle and expense of planting “permanent” plants. 

Container Maintenance Tips:

  • My favorite fertilizer combination (just G&B for edibles) – Rose Society 15.10.10 mixed 50/50 with G&B Organic Bud & Bloom. The combination of a time release and an organic with beneficial microbes makes for a healthy and colorful start.
  • Watering - is the most important aspect to a successful container, not too much and not too little! And remember the more water a container requires the hungrier it will be, so feed them regularly throughout the growing season.
  • Preventative – treat for pests before they wreak havoc, that doesn’t mean spray every chemical on the shelf but if you know that petunias and geraniums are prone to budworm spray with BT (bacillus thuringiensis, a natural bacteria that is very safe) every two weeks to protect new growth from voracious caterpillars.
  • Pinch – Don’t be afraid to trim plants that are bullying other plants in a container to maintain balance.
  • Have fun – every planting is a learning experience and if you have a casualty, or two, it’s a great chance to try something new!
Container design inspriation can be found adorning our garden center displays and grab-n-go solution are available for those of you who are too busy and/or don't enjoy getting your hands dirty. We do custom container planting as well. Contact us to schedule your container garden design needs today!