Complete Guide to Container Gardening

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The ultimate guide to adding beautiful, imaginative, and colorful container gardens to your yard, deck, patio, porch, sidewalk, windowsills, balcony, or roof terrace

An invaluable sourcebook of ideas with more than 400 gorgeous color photos that inspire and teach

Clear, simple, and informative instructions for both first-time and experienced gardeners

Specially commissioned ...

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The ultimate guide to adding beautiful, imaginative, and colorful container gardens to your yard, deck, patio, porch, sidewalk, windowsills, balcony, or roof terrace

An invaluable sourcebook of ideas with more than 400 gorgeous color photos that inspire and teach

Clear, simple, and informative instructions for both first-time and experienced gardeners

Specially commissioned photography by leading garden photographer Andrew Lawson

Comprehensive information on what types of containers work best for what plants; seasonal planting schemes; step-by-step planting techniques; care and maintenance; and selecting the right plants

Complete care guidelines, including feeding and watering, pruning, staking, propagation, and dealing with pests and diseases

A fully illustrated A-Z directory of more than 100 species and varieties of plants, with detailed information on how to grow them

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Here are creative ideas for special plants to capture more than casual interest for the container garden.”

– Dick Delano, the Dutch Gardener (broadcast)

“The ideal book for those who are looking for ways to dramatize their container gardens.” – The Florida Gardener

“This is one of the best container gardening books…great attention is given to the often-neglected maintenance of container gardens.” – Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch

“This is the ideal book for gardeners who are short of time or space and for those looking for simple ways to add drama and color to their outdoor living spaces.” – Gardens Decks & Patios

“Using clear language and photography, this excellent book covers all of the important aspects of container gardening – including sites, design, care, and a plant directory.” – Library Journal, starred review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580173292
  • Publisher: Storey Books
  • Publication date: 2/14/2000
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 917,534
  • Product dimensions: 8.24 (w) x 10.88 (h) x 0.43 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Berry is a garden writer and editor who specializes in gardening, design, and craft subjects. Together with Steve Bradley she has written Contained Gardens and The Practical Guide to Container Gardening. She is the best-selling author of other books that include Gardener's Guide to Plant Life and Dried Flower Arranger's Year, a publication of Reader's Digest. She lives in England.

Steve Bradley is director of horticulture at Merrist Wood in England. He is respected as one of Great Britain's foremost horticulturists.

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Read an Excerpt

Containers can be employed in a variety of ways to enhance the architecture of the house and the garden itself. In this chapter, all the possible situations for displaying containers are examined, and their particular attributes and constraints are discussed in detail. Patios and roof gardens, entrances and steps, paths and alleys, balconies and verandahs offer many design opportunities for large and small containers, and for container groupings. Choosing an appropriate container style, creating a balanced plant display that is in scale with the architecture of the house, and massing together color and shape in attractive and interesting ways are all key elements in achieving a successful scheme.

Before planning your display, it is important to assess the practical constraints of the situation as part of the overall design consideration - for example, you might want to train your plants to provide shelter on a windy roof terrace or employ tough plants as a screen for more tender specimens, or achieve a good vertical display of plants in a narrow space by using climbers or wall pots. This chapter provides useful guidelines on these more practical questions, as well as inspiration for attractive planting schemes.

Entrances and Steps

First impressions are extremely important, and nowhere is this more true than for the entrance to a house or apartment. Very often the path to the front door or the steps leading up to it offer no actual space for the soil. Containers of plants make the perfect solution, providing a splash of color in what otherwise be a monochromatic area of brickwork or paving. In addition, foliage and flowers can have the effect of softening the hard texture of the stone and concrete walls or paving, creating an altogether less forbidding approach to the building.


The architecture of the house provides the backdrop to the container planting and you should take this into account in deciding what container to use. Brick, stucco, shingle, tiles and stone are all used for house walls, while the doorway itself can be in any number of styles from classical to rustic, gothic or colonial. Pick containers that blend with it - not only in shape, color and material, but in size as well so the scale is right. The geometric simplicity of most townhouse doorways is enhanced if you position a container on either side, planted up with identical plants, whether in the form of, say, a pair of clipped box balls or large displays of ox-eye daisies (Leucanthemum vulgare). For a country home with a rustic door or porch, a looser style of planting combining climbing plants with some perennial would look charming.

Aromatic plants are particularly valuable for entrances. Sweetly scented climbers are always a good choice, as they provide such a wonderful welcome and take up relatively little of the available space on the ground. Among the most popular are honeysuckle, (Lonicera spp.), jasmine and many forms of rose (although some

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Table of Contents


Entrances and Steps 8

Patio 12

Balconies 16

Roof Gardens 20

Walkways and Paths 24


Choosing Containers 30

Large Containers 38

Small Containers 42

Hanging Baskets 46

Window Boxes 50

Unusual Containers 54


Displaying Foliage Plants 62

Displaying Flowering Plants 68


Buying and Setting Up 78

Growing in Containers 80

Potting and Repotting 82

The Growing Medium 85

Feeding Plants 86

Watering Plants 88

Pruning Plants 90

Staking Plants 95

Propagation 96

Maintaining Containers 102

Diseases and Pests 104


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Customer Reviews

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