Friday, March 4, 2016

Early Spring Container Gardens

Many of us are itching for spring at this point and can't wait to get a jump on gardening season. 

I'm anxious to get planting, without a doubt. But I know our last frost is a long way off. Typically in my Zone 5A garden the last frost date is somewhere around Mothers' Day. 

That's like....a million weeks away!

But that doesn't mean I wait until then to start planting - it just means I have to be smart about what I put out in those first containers. The plants I select need to be able to take a light frost - if we have a heavier frost coming I may throw a blanket or garbage bag over the pot. Worst case scenario I can move them into the shed if we get a spell of awful weather. 

Hey, it happens - we've had snow in May up here!

Here are my go-to plants for those early spring container gardens:

1. Pansies

Via
Without a doubt, pansies are my number one go-to flower for my early spring containers. They have the happiest little colorful faces and brighten up those early days of spring. They can take a light frost without any adverse effects and in my mountain top garden they will actually keep going all summer long.  they come in a variety of colors but I am usually partial to purple and yellow - to me that combinations just screams SPRING!

2. Violas

Via
Very similar to Pansies but with a smaller head, Violas have all the same wonderful attributes as Pansies and earn a spot in my garden every spring. I have a few that I'm trying to overwinter in my garden cottage....fingers crossed they survived so I can get a jump start on spring this year. 

3. Sweet Alyssum

Via
Sweet Alyssum is incredibly easy to grow from seed if you wish but are also readily available at any garden center in the spring. These tiny flowers are also frost tolerant and have the added bonus of a lovely sweet scent, as the name implies. I love to include the white version to balance out all the colors I use - white gives the eye a place to rest and also makes the other colors really pop!

4. Stock

Via
I told you about my love for Stock in this post - this flower belongs in your spring plantings not as much for the flower itself but for the heavenly scent - I just can't get enough of it! Stock releases it's scent in the evening so you should include it in a planter that is near a patio door or seating area where you will enjoy it on a lovely spring and early summer evening. 

5. Creeping Jenny "Goldilocks"

Via
Creeping Jenny "Goldilocks" is absolutely my go-to for the 'spiller' in all my container gardens and for very good reason - it comes back every year. 

At the end of the season I can put a pot in the shed or garage with some Creeping Jenny in it, completely neglect it for the winter, and then put the pot out in the garden when the first nice days come along. A couple of weeks later? A lovely full pot of Creeping Jenny, ready to split among my other pots! 

This plant also propagates so easily - if you just cut a small piece off and stick it in moist soil more often than not it will root within a few days.  I love some of the other 'spillers' such as Sweet Potato Vine and Vinca Vine but this one just wins me over. It's easy, it saves me money, and I love the chartreuse color against the other colors in my containers. 

Perhaps those of you that aren't true gardeners just yet might try your hand at some of these simple favorites....you never know, you might get hooked!

Happy Weekend, Friends! 


~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sharing at:











47 comments:

  1. I love them all. I've never grown Stock. Is it easy?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I usually just pick up a few plants at my garden center. It likes the cool temps of spring and then gets leggy in summer so I don't invest too much in it - two 4 packs will do it just to get the scent!

      Delete
  2. I have only plant stock once..The pansies and violas are my all time early flowers. I know my friend has some of the creeping Jenny...so I am going to see if I can get some starts from her. I love things that trail over the edge in container gardens. Blessings for a great weekend, xoxo,Susie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Creeping Jenny will go crazy in your containers, spilling all the way to the ground by the end of the season! I love it - the color is so vibrant and just looks like green sunshine!

      Delete
  3. I have never heard of Stock or Creeping Jenny before. I will have to see if I can find any at one of the garden centers near me. :) I was just looking at my thyme and parsley plants that have been overwintering in the garage and they thyme is springing back to life! I will have to get it out in the sun and give it some water. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I gave my plants in the garden cottage a little sprinkle of water last weekend....but then we got single digit nights again this week so I'm not sure if I helped them or hurt them! We're going to have some really nice days coming up this week - maybe I can take them out for a few days and see if they show any signs of life!

      Delete
  4. I have never heard of Stock or Creeping Jenny before. I will have to see if I can find any at one of the garden centers near me. :) I was just looking at my thyme and parsley plants that have been overwintering in the garage and they thyme is springing back to life! I will have to get it out in the sun and give it some water. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have never tried to overwinter parsley - you'll have to let me know if it worked!

      Delete
  5. You have picked some of my very favorites, too. We don't plant anything outside until after Memorial Day here. I love Stock and Creeping Jenny for the same reasons you do! xo Diana
    ps. I have never overwintered Creeping Jenny...didn't know you could....duh on me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad I was able to bring you a little tidbit of new information, Diana! :)

      Delete
  6. When it gets hot here, the pansies disappear.
    Brenda

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, they hate the heat, for sure. They did well here on the mountain last year, though!

      Delete
  7. What a treat to see all of these beautiful spring flowers! I generally don't do my spring planting until Memorial Day. I thin I'll try the Stock and Creeping Jenny. I love to use pansies in early spring, but once it gets hot, they're done!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We get so few truly hot days up here on the mountain top so I guess that's why they lasted all season for me - they were still blooming in December!

      Delete
  8. We can't plant most things until Mother's Day either. I do have pansies in my pots right now though. It was so nice to dig in the dirt even if it was for only a few minutes :)

    As far as your last post... I can't even look at a gardening catalog right now without dreaming about Spring. But, like you, I know better ;)

    xoxo,
    rue

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The pansies haven't hit the garden centers yet....usually around April 1st I'll find some at Home Depot or Lowes. Can't wait!!

      Delete
  9. We are in the same zone as you are...and I cannot wait til I get to plant my pots! I've used stock once, but it never rebloomed, maybe because it was a cold weather plant? So, it was kind of a disappointment to me. Thanks for the inspiration! ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Stock only likes the cold weather - after the heat comes in it's useless. But it's worth it just for the scent while it lasts!!

      Delete
  10. I am not a gardener so the creeping jenny looks like a possibility for me. I am thinking about growing my own herbs too :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Herbs are fairly easy and you can do them in pots, too. They like sun...and basil won't tolerate any cold at all. Oh, and if you're planting mint? Make sure you put it in a pot, not in the garden, or it will take over the whole garden!

      Delete
  11. Aside from containers it is not safe here in southwestern Pa to put anything in the ground until the end of May. I have learned not to be in a hurry over the years ...unless I want to cover everything with blankets! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's probably why I end up with so many containers every year....because once I see all those gorgeous flowers hit the markets I can't wait to get started!

      Delete
  12. Aside from containers it is not safe here in southwestern Pa to put anything in the ground until the end of May. I have learned not to be in a hurry over the years ...unless I want to cover everything with blankets! :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. This year I will be buying some pots to put flowers in along with some plants for the yard. I will be planting in late April.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We could still get snow in late April so I have to be careful....at least with pots if the weather turns cold again I can bring them in the garage or the garden shed.

      Delete
  14. Pansies are my favorite. I'll be bringing some home soon. It's finally warming up here. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will have to take a trip off the mountain to see if anyone is carrying them yet....I would think with the forecast we have for the next 10 days they would be starting to come out soon at Lowes and Home Depot! Can't wait!! :)

      Delete
  15. I have pansies and allysum out back and my wisteria is just about to burst into bloom. Our spring begins early in the southwest.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No doubt! Your growing season is much, much longer than ours!

      Delete
  16. Sweet container plantings. I love pansies, violas, and primroses for this time of the year. They just brighten the cold rainy spring days, don't they ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I never had much luck with primroses, unfortunately....but perhaps I'll try them again this year!

      Delete
  17. Oh I do so love the pansies and violets. I have never had stock or creeping Jenny. I'll be on the lookout for them this year. I am worried this year about having plants, as I have the free ranging chickens in my yard that eat... everything! This is my first year to have chickens free ranging. Should be interesting! We can't really start planting here until after Mother's Day, and sometimes not until Father's Day for things that can't take any frost. I'm itching to get some violets and pansies... thanks for the inspiration dear friend, hope you are having a wonderful day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had free range chickens for a few years....they loved to eat my gardens, drove me nuts!! Perhaps if you put them in planters that are a bit taller or hanging baskets they will be safe? I don't remember if they hopped up on to my pots or if they just stuck with the plants in the gardens....but I do know that's one of the reasons I'm hesitating on getting chickens again right now. That and the hawks....I had a hawk kill a chicken one year and it nearly broke my heart. Fortunately my sweetie has a neighbor with a ton of chickens who just gives away the eggs...yes, please! :)

      Delete
  18. I have never heard of Goldilocks but I am going to be on the lookout for it now!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's so pretty in hanging baskets or window boxes, Kim!

      Delete
  19. Goldilocks and Creeping Jenny are new to me. I am so anxious to plant flowers for my balcony but we seem to be in monsoon season this week. Thanks for all the suggestions!

    xo
    Pat

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have an incredible day here, 70's and sunshine - and I wish I could stay home and play in the garden, Pat!!

      Delete
  20. Lovely spring flowers make us all smile! Enjoy! Glad you shared.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm heading off the mountain Friday and hoping some of the stores in the valley will have pansies!

      Delete
  21. You shared some of my faves! Alyssum smells so good. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stock is my favorite for scent...but Alyssum is a close second!

      Delete
  22. Everything is looking quite springy at your house.

    Thanks for sharing at SYC.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I love stock and just planted some, I don't know how they are going to do...time will tell!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They probably will not do well in the heat of the summer, Jemma, but they are such a boost in those early spring plantings I don't mind - I just replace them when they get all leggy and put something more heat tolerant in their place.

      Delete
  24. You make me want to begin planting! Sheila

    ReplyDelete

I thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment...I truly love reading your comments and I try to respond to each and every one of your sweet comments right here on my blog page!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...