Book of Container Gardening

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9780671722531: Book of Container Gardening

With the skill, flair, and ingenuity that so delighted readers of The Book of Fresh Flowers and The Book of Dried Flowers, Malcolm Hillier has created the ultimate guide to growing garden plants in window boxes, barrels and tubs, pots, urns, and hanging baskets.

Drawing on a glorious profusion of plants for all seasons, he imaginatively combines flowers, foliage, and berries to come up with eye-catching schemes that complement containers of all shapes and sizes. He explains the principles of designing a scheme and planting it, then provides a wealth of advice on the care and attention needed to keep the plants in their very best condition and ensure a healthy, long-lasting display.

Large color photographs of sunbaked roof terraces, shady court-yards, and wind-swept balconies demonstrate how containers can be arranged to enhance a garden or decorate the individual features in it: brick walls and wooden fences, flights of steps and fire escapes, porches and pergolas.

Lavishly illustrated with color photographs and supplemented with all the practical know-how needed to ensure success, The Book of Container Gardening is a rich source of inspiration for all who wish to enhance a garden, balcony, or window-sill with decorative containers.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Malcolm Hillier has always had a passion for flowers and gardens. In 1970, he started a garden design practice with Colin Hilton and during the years that followed, created a large maze with a scented water garden at its heart; lake and woodland gardens; as well as town gardens, roof terraces, and conservatories. Containers have always played a large part in these projects. All his planting schemes have a special style that marries a romantic profusion of flowers and fragrance with a strong sense of structure and formality.

This same mixture infuses his decorations of fresh and dried flowers, produced for many well-known clients, including film and television companies, in Europe, the West Indies, and the United States. His best-selling The Book of Dried Flowers, coauthored with Colin Hilton, Decorating with Dried Flowers, and The Book of Fresh Flowers are further testament to his great talent in this field.

Before devoting his energy solely to plants and flowers, Malcolm Hillier studied music at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, and he then followed a career as a copywriter, ultimately becoming Head of Television in a leading advertising agency.

Other best-selling books by Malcolm Hillier The Book of Fresh Flowers and The Book of Dried Flowers Available at your local bookstore or library.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter 1

Planting Designs

Combining plants that enjoy each other's company and growing them in containers, gives great pleasure. The color of flowers and leaves, their shapes and perfumes, are exciting elements with which to play. Pale or bright, tamed or wild, let the plants be an inspiration for your container designs.

Hot Colors

Cascading geraniums, bedding dahlias, and modiolastrum make a vibrant summer planting.

Window Boxes

On a cold winter's morning, I love looking out of the kitchen window at the rich, golden-green plants sitting in the window boxes, just beyond the pane of glass. It is a spot that never catches the sun, but it is quite bright and the plants always look happy. Nearly everyone can have a window box or two, even if they live high above the ground with no garden at the front or back. Of course, window boxes need not be used only in window recesses. They can look most effective resting on the ground against a wall or a fence, or edging a balcony so that trailing plants can cascade down the side of the building.

CLOSE FIT

Window boxes on sills look best if they almost fit the window recess. Boxes are manufactured in a range of sizes, so that it is usually possible to find one that is a suitable size for your sill. They are also made in a great range of materials: plastic, fiberglass, composition wood, and terracotta. Some of the plastic ones are not very strong. In the middle, they tend to bulge outward with the weight of soil, although clips are available from stores to help keep the box in shape. They are the cheapest, and they are mostly available in white, black, and green. Stronger plastic window boxes are sold in various forms, but I find that the plainer ones look best. Fiberglass is a more expensive material, but it is rigid and will last for many years. Plain designs and models made to resemble lead or painted wood are available.

Wooden boxes always look good because of their natural affinity to plant material, but they will eventually rot, even if well-treated with wood preservatives and painted every year. You can get around this problem by using a well-made plastic box that fits your sill, with a little room to spare at each side, and then making a wooden cover for it. You drop the newly planted plastic box into the completed wooden cover. When choosing a color for your wooden cover, it is best to let the plants be the masters of the box: extremely brightly colored or overdecorated boxes can detract from the natural beauty of the flowers and foliage in your planting.

TERRACOTTA OPTION

Because of the beautiful natural quality of terracotta, I find that window boxes made in this material always tend to look most effective. Before buying anything, measure your window sill to ensure a good fit. Bear in mind that in exposed situations soft terracotta can easily flake and crack, so in cold areas it may be best to avoid using it, except during the warm summer and early autumn months, before the damaging frosts arrive.

SAFE AND SECURE

Window boxes can be extremely heavy, especially when they have been watered, so you must fix them securely in place. On sills that slope gently forward, prop up the front of the box, slightly, to keep it level, and secure metal brackets either to the sides of the window recess or on the sill itself to prevent the window box from slipping forward.

Window box arrangements in sunny spots need plenty of water in hot summer weather, so prevent excess water from running down the side of the building by placing a tray under the box. Plastic trays are available from most garden centers. Remember not to leave the container sitting in water.

Perfume and Petunias

It is all too easy to plant the same old favorite annuals every year, knowing that they will do well, flower for several months a year, and provide plenty of color. For greater interest, I try to use my favorites in combination with some lesser-known plants.

Here, petunias -- immensely hard-working plants producing masses of flowers -- are associated with the sweetly scented, rich purple heads of heliotrope, spikes of cream and purple salvias, and variegated pink and silver-leaved trails of wandering jew -- plants that all thrive when grown together. Remember that petunias should be planted in new soil each season to ensure that they will not suffer from petunia wilt passed on from the previous year. Otherwise they need little attention, except for watering and a weekly dose of liquid fertilizer.

PRACTICAL MATTERS

SOIL

Plant in a well-drained potting mixture of medium nutritional value.

SITE

Place in a sunny position.

WATERING

Keep well-watered but not soggy. Give liquid fertilizer once a week.

PLANTS

Grow four petunias, three heliotropes, three salvias, and three wandering jews in a 30in- (75cm-) long, terracotta window box.

Copyright © 1991 by Dorling Kindersley Limited, London Text

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