Looking for ideas for a large planter !

Discussion in 'NEW Gardeners !' started by GrahamDuffield, Sep 25, 2019.

  1. GrahamDuffield

    GrahamDuffield Apprentice Gardener

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    Hello there!

    Hoping some nice folks can help! The front of my house has a 4m x 8m area covered in decorative slate - not that appealing - so I've bought a large (4ft x 2ft x 2ft) planter (it's actually an old cattle trough, galvenized).

    So I need ideas for plants that will keep foliage all year round, hopefully that also flower, and that will be happy in a south facing location in a planter - and ideas to the sort of potting compost to add in (there is a lot of top soil in there so was just going to add 4 / 6 inches of compost on top?

    I'd love some Heather, and like the look of Lobelia pendula 'Monsoon' but am generally a bit clueless !!!

    Thanks in advance !
     
  2. andrews

    andrews Super Gardener

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    I'm planning on getting an old galvenised container to use in our garden so will be interested to see what you do with this one.

    I'd go with drought tolerant plants to avoid having to water too often.

    Lobelia would look great against the slate and trough although this is an annual and would need planting each spring.

    Not to everyones taste but Fascicular bicolour give a stunning 'flower'. Sempervivums and hardy echiveria don't need much water and add texture although their flowers are not that 'showy'.

    Loads of options, it all depends on the types of plants that you like

    Edit : Our Fascicular bicolour in a stone trough. It was split last year so isn't looking as impressive as it did

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    Last edited: Sep 25, 2019
  3. noisette47

    noisette47 Total Gardener

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    Hi Graham, :sign0016: First things first, has your container got drainage holes and plenty of them? Most plants hate sitting with their roots in badly-drained substrate. I'd tip out the soil and mix it thoroughly with whatever compost you decide to use.
    If you like heathers but the soil/compost mix is neutral or alkaline, go for winter-flowering ones. Summer-flowering Calluna needs acid soil. You could create an 'acid-loving plant' environment, but most of those prefer shade and cool roots, which could be tricky in a south-facing metal container :)
    For foliage, Phormium cookianum hybrids are good all year round, not too big! Helianthemum (rock roses) or Cistus (sun roses) are good spreading evergreens that flower well in sun. Lithodora diffusa 'Heavenly Blue'. Convolvulus cneorum or Artemisia 'Powys Castle' for silver foliage. A lot depends on your colour preferences!:biggrin:
     
  4. GrahamDuffield

    GrahamDuffield Apprentice Gardener

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    Hi Both! Thanks for that - loads of ideas !

    The container has loads of holes, yes! And even a tap at the bottom, although not sure how useful that will be - either way I don't think it will be sitting in water too much!

    So should I try and find out the PH level of the soil, and then get compost and plants to sit well with whatever level it is?

    Am wondering whether a few grasses or similar might work well too otherwise it might look like a furry Ottoman ?

    Will upload an image of said planter !

    (Fascicular bicolour looks lovely! - liking that!)

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      Last edited: Sep 25, 2019
    • noisette47

      noisette47 Total Gardener

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      You can create whatever soil type you want. Mix ordinary John Innes 2 or 3 with ordinary multi-purpose compost and topsoil for neutral, or ericaceous JI and ericaceous MP for acid-loving plants. If you're going for plants that like sharp drainage, mix in >40% horticultural grit.
      On the design side, if you settle on a rough colour scheme, try to incorporate a mix of leaf sizes, shapes and textures. They're around all year, the flowers are temporary :)
       
    • GrahamDuffield

      GrahamDuffield Apprentice Gardener

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      Great advice, thanks Noisette47 !
       
    • Graham B

      Graham B Gardener

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      With that size of trough, how's about sticking a nice shrub in the middle? Witch hazel is lovely in early spring when it flowers and a pretty little tree the rest of the year, and it likes acidic conditions which would go well with heather. Prune it as a standard and it'll make a nice central feature to build the rest of your plants around.
       
    • GrahamDuffield

      GrahamDuffield Apprentice Gardener

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    • pete

      pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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      I'm going to sound really bad here.:biggrin:

      But if I left that out the front of my house the scrappy would chuck that on his van the next day:biggrin:

      Get it planted up fast Graham, you might lose it.:biggrin:
       
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      • GrahamDuffield

        GrahamDuffield Apprentice Gardener

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        Haha Pete ! Think the local scrotes would be too lazy to empty it first !
         
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        • Selleri

          Selleri Super Gardener

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          Good thing @GrahamDuffield that you don't have your location in your profile or I might just have nipped around to pinch your container- it's gorgeous! :)

          With that depth you have a lot of possibilities, but with containers it's always best to stick to plants which can tolerate draught and are not too vigorous.

          What kind of overall look are you after? Architectural bold shapes, softer flowing scheme, flowers...?

          A collection of strong evergreen shapes softened by something trailing would look great in your neat front garden I think. Something upright, such as a pillar shaped conifer, grassy or succulenty sharp spikey mounds, perhaps a trailing or relaxed succulent plus seasonal colour with Heathers in the winter (you can lift them out and grow elsewhere during the summer), Geraniums in the summer and spring bulbs?

          Rosemary is a winner, and Ivy always looks very classy softening the corners.

          If the container is to remain right next to the pavement you can't grow anything too spikey though, unless of course the neighbours' kids are pests. If that's the case, grow Yucca :heehee:

          I'd be tempted to move the container in front of the window, but then again it sits nicely in the niche of the paving tiles.
           
        • GrahamDuffield

          GrahamDuffield Apprentice Gardener

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          Thanks everyone for the ideas... it's now planted up! Was a minefield at the garden centre, so taking your advices on board, I went for:

          Festuca Glauca Intense Blue
          Heuchera Sugar Plum
          Heuchera Georgia Plum
          Ophiopogon Planiscapus Nigrescens
          Carex Oshimensis

          and Choisya Arctic Gold for the centre focus

          Now hopefully they'll all get on ok but time will tell!

          Thanks Again !

          70904270_383562419260868_1353660295972651008_n.jpg
           
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