The KPRC Radio Gardenline Tip By Randy Lemmon For 04-07-05 Printer-Friendly Version
Thinking Outside The Pot...
This week's GardenLine email tip is courtesy of Anita Nelson at Nelson Water Gardens and Nursery. I saw something she wrote for a trade magazine, and asked her if we could have permission to re-run it as a GardenLine email tip. She graciously agreed. And here it is...
Three years ago, I was on a trip to Colorado and I made a visit to the Denver Botanic Gardens (like all bona fide "plant nerds" I always visit Botanic Gardens and local nurseries wherever I travel) where I saw over 800 decorative pots "in action". There were pots everywhere in every size, shape and color imaginable. Some were huge, some were tall, some wide and shallow. Most of pots were grouped tighter usually of different sizes but unified by all having the same color. There was a grouping of blue pots, a green pot grouping there and somewhere else pots of a different color. The folks at the Denver Botanic Gardens just love the impact that using decorative pots has had on their public garden.
Many specialty Nurseries carry decorative pots. These pots come from all over the world. Pots from China, Viet Nam, Thailand and Malaysia are known for their wonderful colors and glazes. Pots from Mexican have an earthier more rustic look. European Pots are usually made from a fine grade of clay and come in classic shapes. You can find decorative pots in every color, texture and size you can possibly imagine. Iím always looking for creative ways to use these pots. I keep a large decorative pot on my porch, I made a round wooden cover out of plywood for it (someday Iíll get around to doing a mosaic tile motif on it but thatís another story) inside I store 25 pounds of bird seed. Other strategically place pots in my garden serve as storage units for tools and sprinklers.
Over the years Iíve collected lots of ideas for uses of Decorative pots. Last fall when I visited a nursery in Amarillo there it was, a new idea! This Nursery was using decorative pots as a stand for a patio umbrella. Youíll need a substantial pot for this, center the umbrella inside, fill with cobbles for ballast and viola! a decorative and unusual umbrella stand for your garden patio.
Here are some ideas for you:
One pot or a grouping of pots with or without plants is a quick and easy way to add color, texture and depth to your landscape.
A large pot will add height and dimension to a flat landscape such as the Houston area.
Create an instant outdoor table, by putting a piece of glass on top of a pot. Disguise the opening of the pot by putting a split willow round between the top of the pot and the glass top.
Any pot can be drilled or plugged and used as a fountain in your pond or as a Disappearing Fountain. Glazed and Cast Stone pots have a 20+ year life expectancy; Mexican Urns have a 3-5 year life expectancy.
Push a string of Christmas lights inside of a glass globe then set the globe on top of a pot and you now have a unique garden light.
Shallow pots with a diameter of 30" or larger can become miniature water gardens.
Hereís a twist on the classic use of a pot, change out those tired marigold, petunia, alyssums, etc in the fall for evergreen bog plants (listed below) for a bright spot of color in an otherwise drab winter patio or entryway. Simply cover the drainage holes with plastic, fill with a mixture of topsoil and potting soil and plant away.
New plant protector. Drill holes all around the edge of the bottom of the pot then knock the bottom out. Place the pot around newly planted landscape plants---this not only looks attractive but also protect the plants from over-zealous weed eater operators.
Umbrella Stand. Put a patio umbrella in the center of a large 24" or larger pot and fill with cobble stones for a stable and decorative Umbrella Stand!
A Pot doesnít have to do something, it doesnít always have to perform a function. It doesnít have to be converted into a fountain, used as a table, or even growing plants for you to enjoy it. The most recent issue of Horticulture Magazine, (a great magazine for gardeners) pictured a lovely garden on the cover with a pot nestled amongst the plants. This pot was simply beingÖ.. a pot. That pot, just sitting there being a pot, gave so much to that garden. It provided color, it had a pleasing shape and its smooth glossy sides provided a pleasing contrast to the busy-ness of all the foliage around it.
If you want to come see some of these pots pictured above, or just need to make contact with us at Nelson Water Gardens & Nursery here are three ways to do that:
Come to: Nelson Water Gardens, just off the Katy Freeway Exit 742 ( One Mile North of I-10) in Katy
Website: < www.nelsonwatergardens.com >
Until next issue, here's to
Great Gardening from the GardenLine, heard
exclusively weekend mornings from 8 to noon
on Talkradio 950 KPRC.