No time? Put 'em in a pot

After a cool, wet winter, spring finally arrived. Crocuses are now popping up. Flowering cherry and plum trees are now bursting into bloom. Avid gardeners are loading up on composts and mulches to prepare their gardens for the upcoming growing season. Landscapers are buzzing around Magnolia and Queen Anne like busy bees readying the garden beds in their charge.

Among all this swarming activity, a new breed of gardener is emerging. With so many time pressures pulling us in multiple directions some complain they no longer have time to garden. However, a growing number of gardeners have solved this problem by focusing their efforts on beautiful containers located on their decks, patios, entryways and even sprinkled throughout their existing garden beds.

Using vessels ranging from the traditional terra cotta or glazed pottery to modern-style composite materials in contemporary colors, gardeners have discovered they can have the enjoyment and beauty in a fraction of the space. They have the added benefit of less time spent weeding, preparing and planting.

There are few plants that can't be grown in containers. Over the years we have seen everything from fancy vegetable gardens to mini urban forests replete with mountain hemlocks and huge rhododendrons. The combinations are endless.

With the world of plants and containers to choose from, where does one start? The first step is selecting the best pots for the area you wish to decorate.

Containers should be chosen like furniture. Ask yourself several questions. What style goes with your house and yard? Is it a formal setting with lots of symmetry? Are the existing plants or surrounding structures more classically styled or trimmed? Perhaps you need urns that are heavily decorated with geometric patterns in traditional colors and shapes.

Does your yard or deck feel more informal? Think about bright containers with more organic shapes. Is yours a contemporary space? Try modern black fiberglass pots with sleek lines.

Just like the plants in a garden, stay with a theme when choosing decorative containers. You don't need to stick with the same color throughout, but the colors should work together. Use similar styles.

Think in terms of sets in a series of three or more. Choose a style family that really grabs you. Or select a combination of two or three colors just as you would when painting your house. And unlike house painting you can change the look in a flash.

Next time: Blueberries: the healthy crop.

Chuck and Margaret Flaherty are the owners of Magnolia Garden Center and have been gardening all their lives[[In-content Ad]]