Lee Valley Tools Gardening Newsletter
Vol. 2, Issue 3
June 2007
Container Gardening Made Simple

Years ago, I carried a few of my houseplants out to the patio to brighten up the bare spots. They did so well in their summer home, I decided to add a few more. After 10 years, there are 30 containers, which add spectacular summer color to my Ottawa, Ontario home (United States Department of Agriculture zone 4; Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada zone 5a).

I've found it takes little time and effort to ensure my container garden yields excellent results, even after enduring harsh winters. Here are a few suggestions to help yield the same results.

Poolside containers
Containers work well to dress up the author's poolside area.


The beauty of the more recently fabricated pots is their lightweight construction, which makes them easy to move. Additionally, the resin and fiberglass varieties require little maintenance.

Although terracotta, clay, and ceramic pots look attractive, there are distinct disadvantages involved in their use. First, it's necessary to remove the earth from these pots before winter, or the soil will expand and potentially crack the container. Second, additional cosmetic upkeep may be necessary. For example, I used old whiskey barrels for many years, which required regular staining.

Regardless of the material, it's essential to drill several holes in the bottom of the pot to facilitate drainage. This can easily be done using a power drill.

If you live in a climate that experiences four seasons, keep in mind that the bigger the pot you choose, the more winter protection you'll provide for the plant due to the greater amount of earth surrounding the roots.


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