Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Winter Garden Refresh

I hardly ever check the weather and I honestly did not know that today would be a beautiful day.  My trip to the garden center yesterday could not have been more perfectly planned.  I was feeling very annoyed with the current situation by my back door.  This door goes into the garage and is the one everyone uses to come into our house.  There is a small patch of earth beside it.  In the summer this spot is blooming with liriope, tall phlox, homestead verbena, gladiolus, etc.  In the spring it boasts tulips and grape hyacinth followed by hydrangeas.  In the fall pansies. In the winter, blech:


It was not helping matters having a red snowman doormat, a pine cone & red berry wreath and some very sad looking containers!  Oh, and that is not a tombstone (just says "God Bless this Garden").  I don't know what I thought when I bought it, but now I think it looks like a creepy pet cemetery, so it is gone now.

First things first, those pots need reviving.  In the picture you probably can't tell they have a little variegated liriope (looks like mondo grass, but gets nice purple flowers), and a few sad violas.  Violas, like pansies, usually do quite well here in the South over the winter, but the snow last week put them through the paces.  They will come back, but they look quite defeated now.

I decided that I wanted to invest a little money in the pots by buying an evergreen plant that will look nice all year.  That way I just need to add some annuals for color a few times a year.  I found a nice sized boxwood that should last a few years in the pots before it outgrows them.

To create a design for your planter, go ahead and carefully remove any existing plants, keeping as much dirt as you can around the roots.  Take your boxwood, existing plants, and new ones (for me, fresh violas) and just set them out in the pot to get an idea of where you want them all.

To plant boxwood, you need some type of fertilizer like osmocote or plant-tone.  You can use this for almost any plant, but don't bother with pansies or violas. They need a specially formulated fertilizer which I swore I had and of course, do not (you can sprinkle it around them if they are already in the ground).


Dig your hole a little larger than the plant and pour a tablespoon (or as directed on package) of fertilizer into the bottom of the hole.  Gently untangle some of the roots if the plant was root bound like this one:


Fill in around the new plants with potting soil and press down the soil around your plant.  Give it a nice drink of water to soak everything (if it has had a good soak, the water will run out the drainage holes in the pot).  Add a little gnome if you happened to get a few at Target last spring.



Switch out the wreath, steal the doormat from the front door and ta-da!



Next I just planted some fresh pansies and lenten rose (or hellebore) to liven up the garden


until these guys start blooming!
I still have some work to do, but the kids never actually took their naps so I got them up and we walked to the park to enjoy the beautiful weather. 






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