2017 Harvest

Saturday, July 9, 2016

plant in pots, they said...it will be fun, they said

Over the years pot planting has become very popular. Every year we get more and more shows about beautifully designed gardens with huge pots filled with flowers. Pots with wonderful unity of colours that make you simply want to try and recreate the same pot joy at home.

What all those beautiful pot shows don't tell you is that this can be extremely difficult to achieve. Good amount of rain and sun will turn your perfectly sized flowers into a jungle.

Each year I use pots to bring much needed green to my front yard. Since my front yard is concrete pavement it can be difficult to plant flowers without pots. Aside from the pretty display, two of my biggest pots act as a sun block and protect my house from the heat.

Few years back I've discovered that nothing provides shade and coolness to the room like Ipomea plant covering the window. Before I've used blinds and thick dark drapes. I even placed drapes on the front side of the window, but nothing was helping. When temperatures reached over 30°C my bedroom was a hell hole. Until one year I planted Ipomea in front of the window. Difference is huge.
Now I let Ipomea completely cover the window and with the help of mosquito protection net I can keep my windows opened 24/7.

2pm and no sign of sun in the room

protective net is almost invisible 

Growing Ipomea requires a big pot with lost of soil, but most of the pot remains empty. This made me think of the way I could fill my pots. I decided to give my pots 3 different sizes of plants. In one of the pots I wanted to create different sizes of plants using Ipomea, Gladiolus and Nicotiana alata. The other one was supposed to be made of Ipomea, Zinnias and dwarf Cornflower.
Needless to say my plan didn't work so well.

This years huge amounts of rain made my plants grow twice the height they were supposed to be and this ruined my plan of 3 sized flower pots.

Nicotiana alata which I bought should have been slightly over 30cm(1in), but it grew over 1m and it is still growing. I had to tie it so it doesn't fall and break from the weight of the oversized flower stems.

Flowers are amazing and smell really intense but the whole size of the plant is killing my Gladiolus plants. They are now hidden completely inside the pot. Some of them are even knocked down by the roots of Nicotiana so I'm not even sure I'll see any flowers from them.

To bring more chaos to my pretty flower display my tomatoes decided to have their own life. I've planted two tomatoes next to Ipomea pot Megagroniasty kozuli and Rose quartz multiflora. Megagroniasty should have been around 2m and Rose quartz just few cm shorter.
This should have created a cascade of green leaves all the way to my coneflowers and finish the display with pretty yellow bush of flowers.

This was in theory...but in real life I got this:

Megagroniasty did grow around 2m but Rose is dwarf size. It is under 1m and now I have a huge gap between this two tomatoes.

My other pot is less messy but it has similar problems.
Cornflowers grew too big and have fallen down. If I had known this would happen maybe planting few more would make a pretty hanging display but this way it just looks messy.

I think next year I will have to use plants that have huge difference in size so even this kind of weather doesn't change the way they are supposed to look.


  1. I just love your idea for using ipomea to block the sun.
    I have Eupatorium (Joe Pye) planted in front of my "morning" room and it starts growing around the first of June and by early July, when we heat up, it is 2 meters high and completely shades the room. I love to watch the birds in there--especially when it goes to seed. Amazing how many creatures use that plant.
    I'm sorry you didn't like the effect of the different plants in your pots this year. Good thing there is NEXT YEAR--the saving grace for any gardener!

    1. I don't think I've seen Eupatorium anywhere here, will have to research it more, every plant that grows really tall is welcome in my garden.

  2. There is always something out to thwart our best plans. We learn from our mistakes though don't we?
    We have no need of anything at our window to block out the sunshine. The clouds are making such a good job of that for us this year.

    1. We jump from extreme warmth to days without a single minute of sun this year. It has been a really odd gardening year.

  3. The idea of Ipomoea against the sun in your room, is the best idea ever heard. I remember you had them last year too. It's a shame we don't need this because we don't have hot sun, especially this year it's most of the time cloudy and/or rainy.

    1. Ipomea is the only possible solution in my garden right now. I can't grow roses in front of my window cause they have long roots and Ipomea can grow in pots. I'm sure your beautiful roses provide enough shade in your yard and even if you did get lots of sun you wouldn't need Ipomea walls :)

  4. This ipomoea curtain looks amazing, I bet it creates a fantastic climate in your room. I always wanted to have an ivy or a five-finger ivy to grow close to my window but know I think that ipomoea is even a better idea because it flowers, and every year I can choose a different variety :)

    1. That's true, also ivy takes ages to grow to the size that ipomea reaches in one summer. I have ivy in my backyard climbing from the bottom floor to the balcony. I wanted it to reach balcony and dress it up in ivy. But here we are 15 years later and it still didn't reach the second floor. It only spreads horizontally.


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