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Container Planting 101




Tired of spending money every year on annuals for my outdoor ceramic pots, only to throw them into the compost heap at the start of winter, I decided to aim for mostly perennials in my containers this summer, and thus save some money (and keep the hubby happy). Alright, alright, I'm a slow learner!

I only plant perennials in my garden beds, so was wondering why I have been reluctant to do the same in my containers. Is it the lack of summer-long blooms that most perennials provide? Is it the addicting pull of petunias, lobelias and cosmos that tempt me with their cheery colours? Well, money doesn't grow on any trees in my backyard, so this was the year to move to a more economic solution.

Going to the local nursery in Whistler, I was once again in my happy place. I don't know about you, but as soon as I place a step in a nursery, I start to breath deeply, a smile is transfixed to my face and I feel very calm and well, yogi.

However, it can also be a little overwhelming to enter a nursery full of masses of blooms and colours, and wonder where to start. I used to walk around a nursery, only realising that an hour has gone by, and I have done nothing but walk in circles! Happy circles, mind you, but still aimless wandering to be sure.


So to keep me focused, I have started to take photos of the empty spots, garden beds or pots I want to plant when I go to nurseries nowadays. I know my weakness with plants, sort of like shopping at Costco, I don't want to come home with a trunk-load of stuff I didn't plan on buying.


While at the nursery, I collect the specimens that catches my eye and start to gather them together. I can then stand back and make sure they look harmonious. My go-to colours are generally pinks and purples, with touches of golden-light green and white.

In the end, I choose creeping veronica speedwells (perennial), purple salvias (perennial), ipomeas (annual), gold moneywort (perennial) and purple Mexican feather grasses (annual).

I also like to keep a bookmark of the Invasive Species link on my phone, so that I can quickly find out if something I am about to buy might come home with me only to terrorize and conduct a massive take-over of my yard. Not gonna happen on my watch, buckoo!

A quick search of the botanical names found on the plant tag finds none of them are listed in BC as invasive. Ok, good start.

But I am aware that ipomeas, otherwise known as sweet potato vine, are of the larger family of morning glories, which are a terribly invasive tropical species that can quickly over take a yard, surrounding wild areas and eventually smoother full tropical rainforests in affected areas. The pretty sweet potato vine is not the same plant as the coastal morning glory, and wouldn't survive one of our tough winters here, but I will be keeping them securely in their pots to ensure no go MIA.

Also, cute and innocent-looking gold moneywort, is also known as creeping jenny, and can be highly invasive in warmer climates. I will be keeping these locked up in their pots with the ipomea.

I fill the bottoms of the pots with a handful of pebbles and gravel for drainage, and fill the pots halfway with SeaSoil container soil - this is a dark, loamy soil and I find I do not have to feed my pots as regularly with it. Place your new plants around the pot, and then refill with more soil. Water, water, water and you are ready to stun your neighbours!


#plantingcontainers #noninvasives #perennials #annuals #pottingplants

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