container planting

Once again, my good friend Jan, who gave me those lovely green birds, also gifted me with this vintage galvanized tub.  Since I already had one that I had bought at a flea market, I decided to drill holes in the bottom of this one and turn it into a planter.

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I wanted to pot it up with something that would survive the winter and be a permanent planting.  I was thinking a small tree, rose, boxwood, or shrub.  After perusing the plants at the garden center for what seemed like forever, I decided upon a Fernleaf Hinoki Cypress.

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It won out over a tree because of price, and over a flowering bush/shrub because I decided I wanted something green that would be a mainstay for anything I wanted to plant with it.  I loved the formation of this shrub, which greatly resembles (as it’s name suggests) a fern.  It is also several shades of green, which makes it more interesting.

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It has a broad, upright growth habit and will grow 6 to 8 inches per year.  It is cold hardy to -10F, which covers our winters.  It’s garden size is 10 feet high by 7 feet wide, but it won’t get that large in a pot.  And it likes sun to partial shade, so that gives me plenty of places for moving it around the yard.  It seemed a good fit.

Since it will be a few years before it fills out the tub, it gave me plenty of room to do some companion planting.  I started with this multicolored coleus, and then picked my other two plants to complement it’s colors.

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I chose a soft pink petunia and burgundy potato vine to pick up the colors in the coleus.

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After drilling holes in the bottom, I filled the bottom third of the large tub with packing noodles.  They served to fill some of the space so less soil is needed, and to keep the container lighter for moving around.  As the shrub grows over the years and fills out more of the container, I can lift it and remove the noodles, so the shrub has more room for root growth.

With the cypress being the tallest plant, I set it towards the back of the planter and filled in around the front and edges with the filler annual plants.

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And here it is after completion, looking a little skimpy, but the summer growth of the annuals will fill it out in a few weeks time.  The annuals will be pulled out in early winter allowing the cypress full run of the tub and room to spread it’s wings.  Depending on how much the cypress grows over the summer, will determine what I plant with it next spring.  I expect it to fill out the tub within the next five years, and then it will become a nice mainstay planter for the yard or deck.

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In the meantime, it sits between the two plastic green Adirondack chairs, a nice resting place, near the garden gate.

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6 thoughts on “container planting

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