Immediately after planting, water your container garden thoroughly. Use a watering can with a rose or the gentle shower setting on a hose end sprayer. You may have to water the pot several times over the course of a few minutes to completely soak soil. If you’re planting in one area and will display your pots in another, place your pots in their final destination before watering. (Wet soil is heavier to carry.)
Look for pansy formula mixes with color blends to suit every season. Panola Autumn Blaze pansy opens blossoms in shades perfect for fall: burgundy and gold. Panola pansies are multiflora types, which open smaller flowers on shorter stems, giving plants a thick covering of blooms. Panola is an overwintering pansy, the kind that garden centers guarantee to survive winter and usher in spring with fluttering flowers. Pansies in pots won’t survive winter in colder zones, where soil can freeze solid. For best winter survival, tuck Panola pansies into planting beds.
When early season snow starts to fly, some plants in fall container gardens won’t survive. Ornamental or flowering kale and viola sail through even a dusting of snow. As snow melts, wilted violas bounce right back, while the ornamental kale just keeps looking good. In pots, garden mums and nandina don’t recover from snowfall like this.
Shady spots explode with color when you draft botany’s big guns for shade: caladium, begonia and ivy. This pot showcases classic container garden design. A white and green caladium stands in as thriller, with Dragon Wing Pink begonia as filler and green ivy as spiller. It’s a blend that easily fits on any porch or deck to bring season-long color. Dragon Wing begonias are a shade all-star, strutting their stuff in part to full shade. These begonias are low maintenance, heat tolerant beauties that pump out flowers until fall’s first frost. This planting combination looks great in a pot, but would transition easily to planting beds, too.
Replace tired fall plants with a mix of pretty evergreen boughs. Aim to include different pines, spruce, cedar and holly for textural and color interest. Tuck in berried twigs and twinkle lights to give pots a holiday feel.
Plan on enjoying time in your retreat year-round by including a fire pit or other source of warmth for the chilly seasons. Tending a cozy fire brings its own magic for unwinding after busy days. Keep the makings of s’mores on hand if that makes you happy. Tall ornamental grass clumps enclose this retreat with a living privacy fence, and pretty seasonal container gardens offer a just-right splash of color. Before adding a fire feature to your outdoor spaces, be sure to check local codes.
Pansies bring strong cool-season color in containers that can last well into the New Year in regions with mild winters. Choose pot planting partners that also deliver a long show, like Blue Arrows juncus, a type of rush, and sweet alyssum. For longest lasting color, keep pots in a sheltered spot on a porch. When air temps fall below 25 F, pansies look wilted and leaves turn gray-green. This is a typical response to cold air. Plants rebound as air temperature rises.
Whether you go for a hammock snooze or a family picnic, nothing compares with relaxing on your deck. Wood decking demands constant upkeep—scrubbing, bleaching and staining. Composite polymer decking, on the other hand, lasts longer, stays cooler to the touch and retains its color, all while capturing the warmth of wood. Better still, composite decking helps the environment, keeping about 30 pounds of plastic (usually milk jugs and shopping bags) out of landfills for every 20 feet of decking.