Posted in "Daily" pages Gardening

Planter Rennovation

May 1, 2013 - 8:01 am

Yesterday was a busy but reasonably productive day.  The most interesting thing I accomplished was renovating the planter pots on my deck, and I thought I would share that process.


Plants are not designed to live in pots, and they resent it. The develop root systems that press up against the edges of their containers like prisoners against the bars of their cages. If there are multiple plants in the same pot they will wage war for space. All of this root growth in the end keeps the plants from thriving, because the roots rapidly fill the spaces that could hold air and water. To have nice looking pots it’s important to empty and replant them every year, even if they are going to stay the same.

My goal for my deck planters this year is to increase the number of hummingbird and butterfly attracting plants we have. There were a few last year and we enjoyed them, but we want more. To that end I’ve bought a wide variety of sages and other plants that will flower prolifically and attract critters. 

I started by lifting the existing plants out of the two biggest pots, and then dumping the remaining dirt onto a tarp. The picture up there was after the first pot was emptied. There were some overgrown sedums other small succulents, dahlia tubers that survived the winter,  black mondo grass, and crocosmia bulbs in the second planter that missed their close-up. The plants I wanted to keep were divided- at least half of their growth from last season will be moved to the garden beds because otherwise they would over grow the pots- and the remainder were potted up with the sages and other plants. 

I use mats of small succulents as a living mulch in pots, because they are very thrifty with water. Exposed soil will rapidly dry out, but covering it with these little plants helps keep everything in the pot healthier. Their root systems are superficial and so don’t compete much with the deeper rooting plants. I’m happy with how these pots came out.

First pot:


Second pot is to the right below. The one pot I didn’t renovate is on the left- it gets done today!


The dirt in the planters is just fine, the overgrown roots have to be removed. The third pot I renovated shows why repotting is so important:


There was a Russian sage and a curly sedge in the pot. They were waging an underground war that had completely clogged the pot. I trimmed off the bottom 6″ of roots from the pot immediately, and then thinned the roots down to more moderate sizes and repotted them. I had planned to add canna bulbs and dahlias to this pot and the 4th (which was planted identically) but I like the sage and sedge and they certainly seemed to thrive, so I decided to just re-pot them, again with succulent mats: 


I bought some additional planters which will receive the cannas and other extra plants today. I have a fair amount of extra plant material which will be moved out to garden beds. That which I wasn’t ready to plant yesterday got covered with some potting soil, watered, and then covered with the tarp to keep it healthy. Here’s a picture of post watering pre-tarping:


Note if the tarp had been black this would have been a bad idea, because it could have cooked the plants. The silver side of this tarp was ideal for this job. If I hadn’t had the tarp I would have just dumped more potting soil over them, or tucked them into an empty garden bed if they were to rest for more than a day or so. 

I’m looking forward to having these pots all summer. They were a delight last year, and I hope this year they will be even better!

Yesterday’s goals:

  • Illustrator class for at least an hour
  • Complete flyer for Hack Your Clothes night and get it posted
  • Begin outline for Machine Knitting class
  • Begin tee shirt tutorial
  • Show up at Metrix for the proto- textile class night
Yesterday’s other accomplishments:
  • Submitted a pattern proposal for a new sweater pattern
  • Posted FO pics for a sweater from last weekend’s photo shoot
  • Renovated three of four deck planters
  • Extra meditation
  • Drew a sketch for the hack Your Clothes flyer
Today’s goals:
  • Blog post
  • Zentangle
  • Finish planters
  • Boot up the mini and start clearing it off
  • Go to Metrix to retrieve power brick and talk to Matt
  • Begin outline for Machine Knitting class
  • Begin tee shirt tutorial





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