Winter Containers

Containers in winter_DBG_10200118_LAH_6918Winter used to leave a huge hole in my garden. Containers that were once jammed with vibrant annuals were reduced to pots of old potting soil. Flower beds that had hosted brilliant orange marigolds and salmon-pink petunias had become boring expanses of brown dirt. At least I covered the soil with a layer of mulch—shredded leaves, dried grass clippings, pine needles—but it all looked so depressing.

Not any more. A spontaneous trip to the Denver Botanic Gardens last March gave me the inspiration I needed to make my winter landscape far more interesting.


Upside-Down Tomatoes?

tomatoes-greenhouse-2008sept08-lah-296We’ve probably all seen the ads for growing upside-down tomatoes, with the plants protruding from the bottom of a hanging plastic bag full of potting mix. They’re the Big New Idea in gardening. The question everyone’s asking is, does this work here in Colorado? After all, this isn’t exactly prime tomato-growing country.

Carol O’Meara is the horticultural extension agent for Boulder county. She has decided to find out for herself if growing tomatoes upside-down works in our climate, and is sharing the ongoing results of her experiment on her blog, Gardening After Five. Carol brings up a number of important issues; if you want to try this too, reading her article is a good place to start.


How to Grow a Houseplant: Containers & Repotting

pots-for-sale-santafegreenhouses-20089jun28-lah-132Note: This is Part 3 of a three-part series on How to Grow a Houseplant. Part 1 covered light & temperature requirements, Part 2 was about feeding and watering.

A bird has a cage and a gecko has a terrarium. Plants need a special places to live too.

You have a lot of latitude in choosing a container for your plant. Consider not only made-for-plants pots, but other bowls, cans, and even shoes. However, there are a few requisites. Drainage is paramount. If your chosen pot doesn’t have a drain hole, add one.


Recycled “Greenscapes”

continer-whimsy-dbg-2008jun26-lah-461“Don’t throw that away!”

My family is used to my exhortations by now. Mom, the recycling nut. It’s true—I have a bin for metals and one for plastics, 1 through 7. Glass has its own container, next to the compost bucket. Worms eat my garbage. Paper and cardboard pile up in old laundry baskets (I’m recycling the baskets too). Still-usable discards go to the thrift stores, worn out clothes get used as rags. Not much ends up in the small trash can we lug to the curb every week.

As a gardener, I want to extend my recycling efforts to my yard. How can I avoid making new purchases for my garden?