Contessa wrote:Hi Rainbowgardener,
Thank you again for helping me. I never thought about Containers, but I do like your idea. I especially like the idea of adding gravel to the whole area and plant everything in containers on top of the gravel. I also like a lot of your suggestions for shrubs, trees and perennials.
With that said, I have so many questions... Where do I begin? Is it too late this time of year? What size is consider large pots? Do I choose all of them (shrubs, trees and perennials)? If planting in containers, how to they grow without suffocating the roots as well as surviving the cold winter months?
This is all new to me, so figure me with all my questions.
Right now it is not too late, but too early in the year. In the middle of the heat of summer is a very bad time to plant things, though you can be getting the area ready, gravel down, getting containers, etc. In the fall, once the weather breaks you can plant. September is probably good, because you want stuff to have a chance to get established, put out roots in its new location before everything freezes.
Here's a cold hardiness zone map for Massachusetts :
http://www.plantmaps.com/interactive-ma ... ss-map.php
Everything from zone 5 in the eastern third of the state to zone 7 in the cape cod area.
So you need to know your zone. Then you can look up the plants you are interested and see what zones they are hardy in. I think everything I listed should be hardy for you. Ordinarily, planting in containers, we say look for something that is hardy to a zone colder than where you are, because roots are more exposed in containers than the ground. However, a south facing wall is such a protected location that you probably don't have to worry about that.
Just be sure that your container has plenty of drainage holes. Lightweight plastic containers are the easiest to manage and cheapest to purchase. But they are often sold without drain holes and you have to punch/ drill your own.
Shrubs and trees need minimum 2 ft wide and 2 ft deep containers* But
, if you are buying little baby trees/ shrubs, don't put them in pots that big to start with. Start smaller and up-pot as the trees grow.
Do I choose all of them (shrubs, trees and perennials)? Yes. If you don't know what you want, work with a good local nursery (NOT BIG BOX) and they will help you figure it out. If budget is an issue, start with getting the trees/ shrubs and the pots and potting soil for them. Let them get started growing. It will look a bit sparse at first, but over time you can fill in with more and more. If you start with smaller (less expensive) trees/ shrubs in smaller pots, then when the trees get up-potted you can put perennials in the outgrown pots. If budget is really an issue, check craigslist and freecycle for flower pots/ containers/ planters. See also here: http://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... 21&t=32338
for ideas of things that can be recycled into plant containers.
Best Wishes! Keep us posted on what you decide on!
*Actually considering that your space is 22" deep, you should just figure on planters that are as deep as the space and maybe overlapping on to the sidewalk a couple inches if need be. They can be whatever length you want, but for the trees and shrubs, need to be a couple feet tall or so.