Design tips for gardeners

Tips for a great looking garden

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  • Scotch moss covers bare soil around these violas. The wire container is lined with sphagnum moss and filled with soil; cinerarias surround it.

    Design tips for gardeners

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Plant seasonal color in pots. To brighten entries and soften hardscapes such as patios and poolsides, the women fill pots and bowls with annuals twice a year: in October for fall through spring color, and in May for summer color.

They combine two or three different types of plants per pot ("Less is more," Gousha says). Johnny jump-ups, pansies, and violas in shades of purple and violet might fill pots during the cool season. In May, they're replaced with warm-season bloomers such as white African daisies (Osteospermum Symphony Series), lavender bacopa, pale pink geraniums, hot pink million bells (Calibrachoa hybrids), and blue and white nemesias.

Before planting, Sisters fills pots with four parts potting soil to one part worm castings (available at nurseries). To achieve fullness fast, they pack the pots with plants ― a flat of 4-inch annuals (16 plants total) for a 2-foot-diameter pot, for instance. Plants get water as needed (about once a week in winter, twice weekly in summer) and are fed every two weeks with liquid fertilizer.

Cover bare soil. Nothing makes a planting look unfinished or immature like bare soil around it. Sisters lays lime-colored Scotch moss (Sagina subulata) over the soil beneath potted topiaries or other plants in containers (such as the violas pictured above). A blanket of moss lends a weathered, Old World appeal to pots. Use a knife to cut pieces of moss from nursery flats, trimming them to fit your container. Moss needs regular watering and occasional feeding with liquid fertilizer.

Sisters Specialty Gardens: (760) 473-0234.

 

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