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Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2005
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by NeverGardened on April 21, 2005 11:15 AM
I need help....I have been asked by my job to do our outdoor raised planters. I'm not much of a gardener but am interested in learning more. If anyone has tips on:
How to take out all of the previous years flowers so that I am able to start from scratch?

Is it possible for me to just buy a bag of top soil once all the previous stuff has been cleared and plant from there?

What are good flowers that are low maintaince, and that really have attention grabbing beauty?

Any answers to any/all of these questions will be greatly appreciated, by myself and my work [Smile] . Thanks to all.
by mike57 on April 21, 2005 01:33 PM
HI [wayey] Are the plants prenales or anuals?
if you have prenanel plants you might try just pruneing them up. then add some anual flowers.
yes you can buy top soil buy the bag.
if you would like to look around on the internet
for flower beds so you can get a few ideas on what you would like the planting bed to look some searches on types of plants and flowers pick out what you would like.then just get some petty cash and do the best thing GO SHOPING [Big Grin] Visit a few nurseres to look at plants.find things with lots of color.i am sure you will find something you like.hopefuly they will give you a good budget to spend on your project.good luck with it.your friend in gardening.mike57 [wayey] [flower] [flower]

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by tkhooper on April 21, 2005 01:46 PM
Yes with a short growing season you are going to have to start with plants not seeds for best effect. So you are pretty well limited to what your garden centers offer. Remember you are zone 3 when you go shopping and that you are looking for full sun plants. And personally the planters in commercial centers that have drawn my eye are those that have plants hanging down the sides of the container as well as of varing hights inside the container. Ivies some with varigated leaves might be a good option. Although there are also a number of flowering plants that will drop down from the edge of the planter. Is the planter large enough to hold a small trellis where you could plant a vine to add visual interest? Or would a bush that is cold hardy be better? Many plants have foliage that turns colors with the seasons so that you don't have to depend on the flowers alone for visual interest. This makes the planter an attractive asset to the area for a longer length of time each year also. Don't forget to look at ornamental grasses while you are shopping. If you look down in plant profiles you will see a huge selection of plants that Bill grows in Western Washington State not exactly your zone but it can definitely give you ideas. It gives me ideas all the time.

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by Barb Illinois Zone 5 on April 22, 2005 05:58 AM
Hi! [wayey]
TKHooker gave you some good pointers so I'll concentrate on the "dirty" part...
Definitely do not recommend the use of topsoil in planters! What you need is POTTING soil. This is a lighter mix which will not compact nearly as much as topsoil would. Suggest 1st removing old plant material to trash or compost pile. Remove aproximately half the existing soil (another gift for the compost pile). Once you have your plants purchased, you'll know how big their containers are so...using potting soil (ammending it with a time-release fertilizer would be a good idea) refill the planters blending the old and new soil together. Firm the soil, don't pack it too tightly. Don't fill them all the way! Instead, add 1 inch to the heighth of the container of your largest potted plant. Place the plants in the planter adding soil below them if they're in shorter post and filling in around them with more potting soil to within 1 inch of the top of the container, then water them. They should be checked twice a week (more often if the weather is dry & hot) to maintain moisture.
A rule of thumb locally for container planting is One plant for height, three for color and two to trail down the sides of a 12 inch wide pot. Seems to work pretty well. Oh! All this is assuming you are using annuals because I really doubt many perennials would make it through the winter in pots or planters in your area unless the planters are absolutely huge.
By the way, I find it fascinating that you're doing this in Edmonton and would really enjoy hearing what plants you decide to use. I'm curious to see if there's much of a difference in what you and I (Joliet, Illinois) have to choose from at the nurseries.
Good luck with your project!

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