How to Plant a Hanging Basket With an Angel Moss Liner

IMG_5753.jpgYears ago, when I worked at a local independent garden center (Hi, Miller Farms!), one of my favorite winter activities was creating moss baskets to sell. We used loose sphagnum moss to line the baskets, and stuffed the sides and tops with lettuces, annuals and herbs. It was a blast! So when Discoveries in Gardening asked if I’d like to test out one of their hanging baskets with the Angel Moss lining, I was excited! Eliminate the messy and time-consuming process of soaking the loose moss and stuffing just the right amounts around the wire frame? Yes, please! More time for planting and chasing the kitties around the yard. I made a quick tutorial on how I planted it up so you can see how easy the process is and feel inspired to make your own basket. They’re lovely hanging on a hook on the porch or in your front entry. I’m going to sink a post in the ground so I can hang my basket right in my garden bed for a little vertical interest – hopefully the fact that the post is made of wood will encourage the cats to use that as a scratching post instead of my poor tortured peach tree. (One can hope.) Anyway, the process: [Read more...]

The Stab Wiggle and Drop Technique for Planting Annuals Fast

HoriHoriKnife.jpgYou all know how I feel about my Stainless Steel Hori-Hori – if I’ve got that, my Bahcos, and gloves – I’m ready to tackle the world! Or, um, the world of gardening at least. Anyway, I want to show you a technique for planting six-packs of annuals or veggies FAST – the Stab, Wiggle and Drop. My friend-in-the-dirt Karl Katzke coined the term in this review. It’s a time-saver if you’re like me and have lots of annuals and veggies to plant – but even if you’re just planting a few, it’s fun and all that stabbing at the soil makes you feel like a badass. Anybody who sees you planting annuals is not going to want to meet you in a dark alley. Here’s my review:

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Read my earlier review of the hori-hori soil knife and see it compared to the Fiskars Soil Knife Buy the hori-hori from my gardening shop Check out my other tool reviews

Victoria, B.C.- Style Hanging Flower Baskets

LeavenworthBavarianVillageAnnualsphotocreditstarmist1.jpgThe city of Victoria, British Columbia has the most decadent flower baskets hanging from the lamp posts in the shopping district all summer long. They’re bright, they’re cheerful, and most importantly, they guide tourists down the streets and show shoppers which areas they’re likely to find most interesting.

How can you use this idea at home?

City of Alpena Hanging Baskets Photo Credit- NettasNurseryWell, one of the problems I see often as a landscape designer is that a lot of folks have confusing entryways. Clients often complain of their “before” garden that people are coming to their kitchen or back door instead of their front entry, and then they have to guide guests past the dirty breakfast dishes on the way in! Hanging baskets are an easy way of drawing people’s attention where you want it. Even within the garden, if you have some views that are less sightly than others, you can lead people’s eyes to your small fountain or pretty statue by placing a bright hanging basket on a pole nearby, instead of letting their eyes wander to your crumbling vegetable bed or needs-to-be-weeded wilder area of the garden! [Read more...]

Winter-Blooming Annuals to Help Your Garden Shine

Winter-Blooming Paludosum Daisies
Winter-Blooming Paludosum Daisies
Winter can be dull if we haven’t prepared for it, with the gray skies and so many plants dormant. Much as I am a fan of shrubs and low-maintenance perennials, annuals can be a fantastic way of filling in the time between fall dormancy and spring with sparks of cheery color. You can set out annuals between dormant perennials, or fill pots to overflowing with bright bodacious color. You can even move pots into your landscape and allow them to act as anchor points for the winter garden. When using a pot within a garden bed, I like to make sure it is big, makes a bold statement (so fill it with lots of just one or two things!), and is placed close to some larger evergreen shrubs to help it fit into the surroundings.
Calendula Flowers
Calendula Flowers
During the growing season, I’m often attracted to cooler colors and classy combinations, but after a couple months of clouds, I start craving those bright yellows and oranges! So keep in mind when planning your colors that the skies will have a dulling effect on your color choices – go just a bit bolder than you would in summer! Early fall is a great time to get your winter-blooming annuals going, because if they get growing before the weather gets foul, they’ll perform a lot better through the cold months. If you are going to plant six-packs, get them in the ground in September so they have time to fill in. In October and beyond, go for the 4″ size.
Winter Annuals - Dianthus, Paludosum Daisies, and Violas
Some annuals to plant now for early and mid- winter color:
  • Dianthus, in sun or part shade – great in shades of magenta, pink, and white.
  • Violas or Pansies, in sun or part shade (I find Violas do better through the rainy months – here, the large Pansy blooms tend to mold).
  • Paludosum Daisies, in sun – I love these little white daisies; they are great with yellow Calendulas or Violas that have both yellow and either purple or blue on each flower.
  • Begonias, (the bedding Begonias with petite flowers, not the tuberous Begonias with the  huge honkin’ flowers), in sun or part shade (these are only reliably good till it freezes, so put them in a more sheltered spot for longer bloom).
  • Calendulas, in sun – I think Calendulas are pretty gaudy in the summer, but in the winter when everything is dingy and grey? I just crave those warm colors! You can get these in yellow, orange, and some shades in between – I might go so far as to call the pale yellows and creams classy for all times of the year!
  • Swiss Chard, in sun – I like the Bright Lights variety so you get all those fun-colored midribs.
  • Lobelia, in sun to part shade – we all know about the deep blue ones, but don’t forget there are cute lilac-colored ones, whites, and white with blue – they are a lot better than Bacopa or other flowering trailers at this time of year since they don’t implode at the first signs of coolness.
Annuals to plant in the coming months for late winter and early spring color:
  • Ornamental Kales and Cabbages in sun – yeah, so they’re kinda frilly, and I don’t do frilly – and yeah, they stink – but hey, that’s a heck of a lot of cheer at just the times when things are the dullest. I like to use them with a smattering of flower color and a bold burst of other foliage interest.
  • Primroses, in part shade to bright shade – the old standby for winter and spring color – they feel so gaudy and goofy when they come into the nursery, but by January, that glow of bright color is just what I’m craving. I love that they come in flats that have a bazillion colors, so you can just choose whatever color goes with your plantings. It’s fun to experiment with some of the oranges and reds when you have things that turn orangey-bronze in winter elsewhere in the bed, or the cool blues with yellow centers if you have yellow calendulas elsewhere.
    Winter-Blooming Primroses
Let’s not forget the excellent Fall-blooming Crocus, Crocus sativus. These lovely beauties won’t make you wait till spring to bloom, and their glowing purple color goes gorgeously with orange calendula, anything with purple foliage, and fresh white paludosum daisies. I’ve seen them used beautifully in a stand of Dwarf Mondo Grass – or if you are feeling bold, intersperse them with Black Mondo Grass for a glowing fall show! Hopefully that gives you guys some good ideas to get started with for some fall container and annual planting. Tune in over the coming weeks for more ideas on how to make the most of fall planting time without having to wait endlessly for the gorgeous results of your labor.