Garden inspiration


April is a Good Time for Container Planting

The one activity most gardeners share, whether they own a large estate or just a tiny courtyard, is growing plants in containers. Almost all gardeners do it – with good reason. Cultivating plants in hanging baskets, window boxes, troughs, pots, tubs, even old wheelbarrows is immensely, instantly rewarding and offers great scope for the imagination. By growing plants in pots, you can provide temporary colour, with plants being easily substituted when past their best, as well as permanent interest throughout the year with perennials, trees and shrubs. No garden is really complete without at least one.

Selecting the right container is just as important as the plants you decide on and there are an endless variety of materials, colours and sizes available. As it’s part of the garden’s permanent scene, choose something that will never bore you, and, if your container is going to be outside all year, make sure it is frost-proof and not just frost-resistant.

a vivid pink flower

When choosing plants, strike a balance between the container and plant size – a tiny plant looks ridiculous in a vast tub. Aim for abundance and compose a harmonious shape with taller plants at the back or centre and a gradual descent to a frill of foliage or bloom at the rim. I tend to use containers to grow plants that don’t like the local soil and prefer acidic conditions. An excellent plant for a container, flowering at this time of year, is the evergreen Camellia japonica. Make sure you use a special ericaceous compost when planting, place it in a sheltered, partly shady spot and it will reward you with an abundant spring display.

Ever popular for Mother’s Day, Azaleas and Rhododendrons will be coming into flower soon; again, they require ericaceous compost to thrive. My favourite is ‘Blue Danube’ with its masses of small, funnel-shaped blue/violet flowers. Try planting it with the pink ‘Cosmopolitan’ for a stunning combination of colour.

purple flowers


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