janet c
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Location: hampshire

Planting containers for late summer

My daughter is getting married on 30th August and she has asked me to prepare 2 large wrought iron flower containers to display outside the reception hall on the day.
I have already bought some plants with her which I have been trying to "hold back"in a shady area of the greenhouse.This is proving difficult as they are not doing so well in pots. As a dedicated gardener I am itching to plant them up but I don't know how long I should wait. My own containers are really doing well but I have never had to plant any up for optimum beauty so late in the season.
Can anyone give me any advice or suggestions please? I would be very greatful !

cynthia_h
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My immediate response is to ask an independent, LOCAL nursery or garden supply store for their advice. They will be intimately familiar with the growing conditions expected between now and late August and can tell you which flowers will be in season then.

But, really, only seven weeks??? It may be that you'll need to purchase started plants from this local nursery and help them along until the Big Day.

Good luck!

Cynthia H.
USDA Zone 9/Sunset Zone 17

janet c
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Location: hampshire

Thanks for that. As I have already said I have purchased the plants as starters and they would still be in flower at the end of August-they are just the normal types like geraniums, petunias and begonias. I just want to slow them down a bit and I wondered what would be best. 7 weeks isnt that long as you say, but once I put them in the containers they will romp away especially if its hot.
I will have to make a judgement about when to do them and hope they don't wither away in the waiting period

cynthia_h
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Sorry. I missed that part. I would still ask the local experts what they recommend to help hold back the plants: reduce the water? slightly over-water? Put them in a closet? (No joke; this is what people do who have success with those holiday poinsettias!)

All that comes to my mind is that the August birth flower is the gladiolus. Weird; stuff like that just flits across my (?) brain every now and then.

Happy gardening.

Cynthia H.
USDA Zone 9/Sunset Zone 17

cheshirekat
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Location: Denver, CO (zone 5)

I agree with cynthia. Ask the experts so that special day won't be marked by a lot of dead or half-dead plants.
"Love all God's creatures, the animals, the plants. Love everything to perceive the divine mystery in all." -Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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Jess
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Hi Janet.

I would get them planted up now. The plants will keep flowering right through until the first frosts as long as you deadhead constantly. To slow them down a bit you could pinch back any buds for a couple of weeks. That will give you a bigger more floriferous plant for the end of August.
I would also add either an upright or a trailing fuchsia to the pots you already have or in another pot. These start flowering later in the season and will guarantee you a good show.
Most bedding will keep going right through in your area until November but can look a little tired if not fed, watered and deadheaded regularly so make sure you keep up all of these.
If all does go wrong most nurseries and garden centres have sales of larger bedding plants at the beginning of August so you can always replace with those.
I hope your daughter has a wonderful day and she gets decent weather! :D
Knowing without doing is like plowing without sowing."

janet c
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Location: hampshire

Hi Jess
Many thanks-great advice!
Funnily enough I was talking to a friend today who suggested I plant them up now and bring them on. Then just put them in a shady place for a while and keep an eye on them. I can then bring them in and out of the sun so they don't romp away. Your idea of a fuchsia is a great one! I am going to get a couple tomorrow and then plant the containers this week.
Many thanks to all for your helpful suggestions!
Janet

janet c
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Update Re: my containers for late summer wedding

Oh dear!!
Not a very good start! I am really upset :(
I planted up the containers on 1st July and because the weather has been so awful, I kept them in the greenhouse. I have been unintentionally killing them with kindness! I overwatered them and half of them have mouldered away to nothing. All my baskets in the garden are romping away despite the bad weather so I can only conclude they should be having more fresh air. I have moved them now to the gazebo and I will have to get some more plants to fill in the gaps. Its not easy!

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Jess
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Janet it is not so much the fresh air as the sun and wind drying them out enough after watering. Keeping anything in a greenhouse at this time of the year is not a good idea...unless it is a cactus.
I am so sorry your plan didn't work out. :( but you should be able to get cheap bedding around now or in the next couple of weeks to replace.
Usually the suppliers do special offers on larger bedding pots as they want to clear their stock ready for the winter bedding to be grown. Check with a nursery or garden centre in your area. Even the likes of B&Q or Focus are worth a check as they will start doing special offers to clear stock before everyone goes on holiday.
It is hard work trying to control plants to do what you want them to do when you want them to. I made up 100s of planters and baskets every year for 7 years and still got some of them wrong. I am sure you will find something to replace and the planters will look wonderful for the wedding!! :D
Knowing without doing is like plowing without sowing."

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