My favourite chapter was portable drama which in any other book would be called container gardening. Container gardening is the ultimate for four season gardening; spring bulbs, summer annuals, fall grasses and winter evergreens. I have chosen to list some of Thomas Hobbs container ideas which are pertinent to all seasons.
- The container itself must inspire. You have to love it even empty. Utilitarian vessels will never become dream like visions of plantsmanship
- Use liners in your pots so you can change its contents at will.
- Placing pots is an art form, envision your pots as pieces of jewelry used to decorate your garden.
- Group containers into clusters for more impact. Create related families of pots and contents for instant vignettes.
- Limit your colour palette in any one pot to a maximum of 3 colours plus green.
- Unusual plants in surprising places provide a charge of excitement. An example is houseplant streptocarpus planted in shaded wall baskets.
- Make sure all plants in a pot have same care, same needs. Plants will die if their cultural requirements are ignored.
- Think about drainage. Pots quickly become coffins unless they drain well. Saucers that hold water are also death traps.
- Provide good rich soil full of nutrition for your plants held hostage in a pot. No bagged soil is good enough. Mix in 50% well rotted or composted manure.
- Annuals love 20-20-20 fertilizer dissolved in water and applied every 2 weeks.
- Containers can be left empty or filled with water. Sometimes actually planting a container should be a last choice.
- Sometimes one plant is all you need.
- An urn filled with a grass such as Molinia caerulea ‘Variegata’ can mimic a fountain.
And finally an interesting quote. “The fact that most uncreative people do not garden is a blessing and probably saves us lots of ugly disasters.”
Hobbs, Thomas, Shocking Beauty. Raincoast Books, Vancouver B.C. 1999.