Buy, create a plant display for patio, porch, yard or garden
A summer display in an urn.


Use a planter for an exotic summer display of beautiful and colourful, tender plants that grow so well on a sunny patio in summer. In the UK the plants can be obtained from Suttons and bedding plants can be bought from Gardening Direct An Urn provides a classic quality that looks good whether you live in a modern housing estate, country cottage or Victorian semi. The Urn is also useful to provide height to the patio, break up an expanse of paved area and to keep plants off the ground so that they can be looked after at an easy height.
Urns made of plastic, glass fibre or brass are inexpensive, light and easy to move. Urns made from stone or concrete will last longer but are heavier and more expensive. The urn should have a diameter of at least 13 inches (33 cm) and planting depth of 13 inches (33 cm).

Whichever type you buy, choose suitable plants and ensure they are given a good start with the best growing conditions as described here.

plants to buy for floral arrangement in planter on the patio, porch or yard
1. A cordyline, fuchsias, busy lizzies and lobelia to fill the urn.

Plants chosen for the stunning display above are a cordyline in the centre, fuchsias encircling it with impatiens (busy lizzies) and trailing lobelia. These plants were all bought separately as shown in picture 1. You can change the choice of plants to suit your colour scheme and design, but ensure that a tall plant is included to be the centre of attention. Plant several bushy plants around the centre plant and use trailing plants to trail over the container's edges to soften them. Alternative plants can be chosen from zonal geraniums, petunias and non-stop begonias.
Bedding plants can also be bought from Gardening Direct

Remember that many of the plants in the display are tender and should not be put out until there is no further risk of frost in the first half of the year. This is at the end of May in the South of Britain or the first week of June in the North. The plants, however, can be bought a week or two earlier and looked after in the conservatory, cold greenhouse or on a windowsill. Ensure that the plants are hardened off for at least a week in a cold frame before using them outdoors. An alternative way to harden the plants off, is to leave them out on the patio by day and take them in at night.

If there is room for the arrangement in the cold greenhouse or conservatory, the display can be built up there at the beginning of May. The display can be held there until the risk of frost is passed outdoors, when it can be moved to the patio.

Create a summer display for patio, porch, yard or garden
2. For drainage build a small layer
of broken clay pots and stones.

The first essential when planting up a container is to ensure that excess water can drain away. A drainage layer can be made at the bottom of the container by covering it with broken clay pots, stones or pebbles (picture 2). Scatter some charcoal over this layer to help keep the compost sweet. Then cover this layer evenly with sharp sand or horticultural grit.

Create a display for patio, porch, yard or garden
3. With the cordyline still in its pot
check the level of compost.

Buy plants and create a display for patio, porch, yard or garden
4. Tease out the roots of the
cordyline if root bound.     

Buy plants and create a display for patio, porch, yard or garden
5. Position fuchsias evenly
around the container.

Place a layer of compost, such as John Innes No. 2 or one made from three quarters good garden soil to one quarter horticultural grit, over the drainage layer. Make the layer of compost to a depth sufficient to position the cordyline. Place the cordyline still in its pot into the container. Add more compost to the compost layer until the top of the cordyline's rootball is about 3 cm (1 inch) below the rim of the urn (picture 3). Remove the cordyline from its pot and examine the roots. If it's rootbound, with a mass of roots coiled around itself, gently tease the roots out (picture 4) before planting the cordyline centrally in the pot.

Plant three fuchsias at equal distances around the cordyline, keeping them in their pots as you position them. When you are happy with their positions, remove them from their pots and plant them (picture 5).

Buy plants and create a display for patio, porch, yard or garden
6. Place the busy lizzies
between the fuchsias.

Buy plants and create a display for patio, porch, yard or garden
7. Fill in gaps between the plants
      with compost.     

Buy plants and create a display for patio, porch, yard or garden
8. Water with a fine rose
watering can.       

Add a busy lizzy between each fuchsia (picture 6). Fill in gaps between the plants with compost (picture 7). Complete the display by planting the trailing lobelia around the edge of the container to trail down over the sides. Finally fill in any gaps between plants with more compost and firm down all the plants and compost. Use a fine rose watering can to water evenly over the display, taking care not to overwater (picture 8).

Water the display thoroughly during hot weather. Ensure the display does not dry out, even for a day as it will prove fatal to the plants. Check and water each day if necessary.

Feed the flowering plants with a feed the plant with a liquid Tomato or Seaweed fertiliser every ten days, until the end of August to ensure a succession of flowers. Remove all faded flowers and seed heads as soon as they appear.

At the end of September, the tender plants can be saved by potting them up into individual pots. Keep them in a frost-free area in a cold greenhouse or conservatory over the winter period. Busy Lizzies are perennial plants and can be kept from year to year by taking 5 cm (2 in.) cuttings in August. Pot up once they have rooted and keep frost-free over winter.

ultimate container gardening book.

The Ultimate Container Garden, by Stephanie Donaldson. This book provides many ideas for container gardening. Step by step colour photographs make the various designs easy to follow. To buy the book at Amazon, click  here for USA  or  here for UK.

container gardening, container, planter, patio.

Container Gardening throughout the Year, by Malcolm Hiller. To continue gardening using containers throughout the year read this book. Using colour pictures and clear instructions, the book shows how to use different plants and containers to create beautiful displays for every season. To buy the book at Amazon, click  here for USA  or  here for UK.

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(c) All rights reserved. Written and photographed by B V & T M Wood.

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