6/21/2009

Contain yourself when it comes to containers!

After several months of regular afternoon thunderstorms, I think it's safe to say that we've survived the drought here in the Southeast U.S. Our local water resovior is full again, and the only remaining signs of the drought in my backyard, several container plants that didn't make it, are now compost.

I love the look of lots of containers, but when you live in a hot and dry climate, they require a daily dose of water. That gets old quick. So here's some lessons I learned from the drought about container gardening:

1) Seek out drought-resistant plants. I found that lantana and salvia were two perennial flowers that could take the heat and keep on blooming.

2) Aim for shade. The impatiens in containers on my shady walkway didn't need water nearly as often as plants on my sunny deck.

3) Keep it simple. I have cut back the number of containers this summer. I've decided to focus on gardening right in the ground this year and to start investigating drip irrigation.

4) Water plants don't need regular watering! OK, so this sounds counter-intuitive, but my container with the water lily could survive a week with the water down three inches without suffering. I can water it when I have time.