What’s the secret to growing a brilliantly colourful, pollinator-friendly show of summer pots with a purpose to nonetheless look as accurate in past due September as it does in June? Someone who is aware of the answer to that query is the Wicklow gardener TJ Maher whose small u. S. Garden, Patthana in Kiltegan, created with his accomplice Simon Kirby, is known for its brilliantly ambitious and exquisite summer season container shows. A successful artist (his first solo-exhibition changed into these days held at Dublin’s Taylor Galleries), Maher’s expert understanding of color, texture, and shape shines out brightly in his summer season pots, that are organized in massive theatrical groupings using packing containers in a ramification of heights and sizes for maximum effect. So, too, does his remarkable love of gardening and his skill in creating the most fulfilling growing conditions to produce such healthy, satisfied flora.
Pick the right field
His first tip is to carefully recollect the boxes themselves, as their form, length and design are all factors a good way to have a visible and horticultural effect at the final show. “I usually choose extensive-based totally pots – as a minimum 25cm at the base- due to the fact they provide masses of room for the flowers’ root systems, plus they’re tons much less probable to blow over in a summer season gale.” He also advises the usage of pots of similar coloration and shape inside any specific show. ‘I wouldn’t, as an example, ever placed a rectangular container next to around one because it someway continually seems jarring.” His very own choice is for terracotta “as it’s a herbal material that ages so properly and acts as a gentle counterfoil to the plant life themselves.”
Don’t blend flora in a pot
Next, he says, deal with your summertime bins like props that can be effortlessly moved on and rancid degree as required. So instead of following the conventional path of planting a container up with a mix of various plant life, he makes use of just one unmarried kind/ range however planted in generous sufficient numbers to fill it. Also, as opposed to planting directly into each container, the plants into ordinary black plastic pots which he then plunges inside the terracotta bins. Why? “By using simply one variety, you can create beneficiant pops of severe color that can be without problems rearranged as unique factors within a massed show of packing containers each time you sense like it; in other phrases, you’re not caught with the identical static display for the entire summer.
“By the use of the black plastic pots sunk into terracotta pots, it’s additionally very easy for me to briefly do away with a specific kind of plant from a field if it’s starting to fade or if it needs to be cut again to encourage a 2d flush. I can then quickly update it with any other species/range that’s looking definitely correct. It manner that I can effortlessly edit a massed display whenever I experience like adding a new twist to it. Similarly, plant life growing in black plastic pots are a brilliant manner to feature a burst of temporary seasonal shade to a border; they’re transportable at the same time as the pots themselves ‘disappear’ among the foliage.”
His preferred developing medium is parts multipurpose compost to at least one part lawn soil (a suitable alternative would be the loam-primarily based John Innes No 2 compost, available from correct garden centers), to which he mixes in a handful of pelleted fertilizer. From July onwards, he also offers his summertime boxes a generous weekly liquid tomato feed to hold them healthy and floriferous.
“Regular generous watering is also essential. During ultimate summer season’s heatwave, we were occasionally watering two times an afternoon to hold flora glad.”
Use discreet stakes for taller vegetation
Discreet staking is another have to-do for taller species inclusive of cosmos, dahlias, and salvias. “There’s not anything worse than losing stunning flora in their top because of one windy day” – at the same time as ordinary deadheading is likewise critical.
Pick some deep wild colorations
Last but maximum surely not least, Maher emphasizes the significance of choosing floriferous, long-flowering lively types along some chosen in particular for his or her handsome foliage. His personal choice is for deeply saturated jewel-like hues, especially hot pinks, wealthy oranges, and peacock blues. Favorites encompass a few tall, dusty orange species-type dahlias grown from seed, in addition to named sorts consisting of the compact, chocolate-colored Dahlia ‘Dark Desire’; tall types of Tagetes (many grown from seed that he and Simon amassed at the same time as on vacation in Morocco); the ‘Wish’ collection of salvias and Salvia ‘Amistad’; fruity coloured sorts of nemesia which includes ‘Mirabelle’ and ‘Peach’; diascias (‘Diamond Orange’ and ‘Diamond Fuchsia’); the shocking-crimson Cosmos ‘Dazzler’; the deep-orange Rudbeckia ‘Cherokee Sunset’; the Asiatic lily variety called ‘Night Flyer’ (burgundy-pink); and coleus in colourful sun shades of red and orange including ‘Campfire’ and ‘Redhead’, all of which do high-quality in a sheltered spot in complete sun.
While acknowledging that the use of color is a totally private choice for any gardener, he believes that the maximum successful summer season field displays use colors of a similar depth. “For that purpose, I’m careful approximately how I use yellow whilst I’m additionally very wary of using white as it ‘shouts out’ so very loudly in any display. But it’s notable for including hobby to a shady spot within the lawn, in which case I like to pair it with silver foliage plant life which includes Plectranthus argentatus, the blue-and-white flowered Fuchsia ‘Delta Sarah’ and the violet-blue Geranium ‘Rozanne’ [also known as ‘Gerwat’, this brilliant perennial flowers all summer long].
Some of Maher’s summer bins had been planted up last month and then grown underneath cowl in his very lovable glasshouse to provide them a further early start (a sunny porch, conservatory or polytunnel could also be suitable). But the tremendous majority are planted up at the moment of the year (mid to past due May) the usage of a few plant life raised by way of him from seed and different bought in Johnstown Garden Centre (close to Naas), which he recommends for its extremely good selection.