26 December 2009

Complete Guide to Container Gardening

Can a beautiful and inspiring book make a gardener think of spring?
I think so because I've been looking at a review copy of Complete Guide to Container Gardening, sent to me by Ashley Newton, Associate Publicist, at Wiley.
This is a book I requested because frankly, my container gardening skills could use some improvement. Either I put too many uncoordinated plants in my containers or I fail to water them regularly enough, or, they are one plant in a pot - totally boring.

Wiley says it is "A simple, lavishly illustrated guide to container gardens of all shapes and sizes."

The book is an 8.5 by 11-inch paperback that is full of color photos of successful container gardening themes - whites, pinks, succulents, etc.

And, there are tips on planting containers of all shapes and sizes, including one of those towers of pots stacked on top of each other to create a tall cascade of flowing flowers when they take off and bloom.

The trend (?) of illustrating the layout of the plants as color dots to make it easier to replicate the photo is used in each suggested pot design.

They say it this way, "Each garden idea includes a recipe and an ingredients list that makes shopping and preparing a breeze. The easy-to-follow reference format explains every project in detail and in depth, including helpful hints and essential information on plants, growth, and potting options."

Yes, maybe. Here's one page so you get the idea.
"Three's a Charm" pot
Essentials: Container: 18-inch blue-purple glazed ceramic pot, Light: Sun, Water: When soil begins to feel dry.

Ingredients: A. Red Copperleaf (Acalypha wilkesiana), B. 6 pink petunia, C. 3 Sweet Potato (Blackie)

Notes: "As a fast growing plant, ornamental sweet potato can quickly take over and dominate a mixed planting. Group it with comparable growers or control its rambunctiousness by whacking it back from time to time."

Easy Threesies: "Solve the mystery of choosing plants for containers with this popular formula. Pick a thriller, an upright plant, for vertical structure. Ad a filler, a bushy plant, for balance. Mix in a spiller, a cascading plant, to edge the pot and anchor the grouping. Each plant type works with the others to create a balanced design, even when there's only one of each."

There are 125 of these container recipes, with photos, plans, tips , and shopping lists.

Also, there are tips you may not have read before. For example, when you want to fill the bottom of a large planter, use pine cones, plastic water bottles or plastic pots turned upside down instead of filling a huge pot with planting soil.

It's an attractive book, with lots of specific and solid information to back up that pretty face. $19.95 at the Wiley link above and $12 online.

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