musings on an established container garden…


One *not* so good thing about having an “established” container garden (meaning a garden of mature/established plants primarily in containers) is that there comes a time when there’s not so much novelty.

On one hand, I LOVE my garden as it is. I know every plant in it (there are over 100+ at this point) was grown from careful attention and my own two hands. I am familiar with the trials and tribulations of every leaf, every bloom. I can look on it every day and think “hey, I helped this grow!”


And things still have the power to surprise me- every time a plant blooms, I get excited. Some things never get old- the huge, colorful hibiscus blooms, a new spray of blossoms on the (many many) geraniums that grew from seeds I planted in the fall/winter. (sidenote: I have no idea what I am going to do with all those geraniums when summer comes- they hate being over-moist and having too much sun and I only have so much room under the roofline outside, so… but that’s a problem for June.)


I especially love it when i cut back a plant and it comes ROARING back. That happens fast in the spring, and it’s great fun to experience. The petunias have done a lot of that this year.

And I also love it when plants “recycle” themselves- when they finish a blooming cycle and then sort of reset by shedding all old growth, getting tiny, and then growing from a tiny nothing in the soil again. The canna do this- they get sparse on their own and then a few days later there are tiny green shoots in the pot and then a few weeks later, total flowering.


But I *do* miss the general “digging in the dirt” and evaluating that goes along with starting a garden. Planting seeds and seeing them germinate. I have done a lot of repotting these past few weeks, so I’m feeling better about that. And there is something super satisfying about taking an established plant and unearthing its roots and cleaning everything up and giving it new soil and a larger container to grow in. There’s a feeling of satisfaction after I do that, when I lean back and clap my hands together to get the loose soil off, and realize the plant is OKAY for a few months.


One thing I miss is the shifting things around to accommodate new plants. I’m almost out of room on the lanai, to be honest. I liked the curating of the garden- picking out what to grow and where it should go. Now I have a great sense for what plant does best where and what time of the year, so I don’t spend too much time just nudging pots around and making pretty little corners. I also don’t spend as much time cleaning up- when I first started gardening I was obsessed with keeping the pavers soil-and-debris free, and now I realize that beyond a general sweep, it’s just impossible to have a big garden and not have a little DIRT around.


Most of my work in the garden these days is watering (endlessly) and pest control (misting, endlessly) and pruning (deadheading, endlessly). I don’t think I like that as much as planting things, BUT I like established plants a lot more than pots of dirt, which formed the bulk of my garden for a long time. That’s a big one.

But the flipside of losing the novelty and the “starting out” of a garden is a¬†massive sense of comfort. There’s no anxiety attached to gardening, besides fussing over the plants that struggle a bit and trying to figure out a way to eradicate the mealybug and aphids once and for all.

Oh, and it’s so much less expensive! The only thing I really have to pay for at this point is potting soil and the water bill. Once every few months I’ll order a *few* packs of seeds (got more petunias for the summer) or pick up a plant that catches my eye at the nursery. But gone are days of going to the nursery and spending a significant amount of money on things that were *necessary* for the garden to be a garden. The garden IS a garden.

Now, I’m just along for the ride.


Comments 2

  1. Misti wrote:

    The garden is looking gorgeous right now! Loving all of your blooms!

    Posted 18 Apr 2014 at 10:00 am
  2. Donna wrote:

    So pretty!!!!

    Posted 19 Apr 2014 at 5:09 pm

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