I’m a big fan of hydras or ivies, and you can use them in your spring and summer containers, and they’ll last well into the fall as well. Gently loosen them apart, and we’ll use a portion of them here - just tucking them onto the side. And in this case, we have long strands of ivy, so one way of multiplying it is to just take it and actually peg it to the soil and it will root wherever it touches. Or what I like to do is actually pull it through the planter to create a ribbon, so the ivy that was initially back here, we’re going to have repetition of it further up in the planter. I’m going to actually take a creeping form of rosemary that cascades and use that as one of my cascading components in my container. It too will add wonderful fragrance, particularly if brushed up against as you walk by the container. Add some soil to fill in.
Maintaining your container throughout the seasons
What’s also important is your final soil depth, and you want to make sure it’s just slightly down. And in this case here, see how it’s just up to the rim? I’m going to actually push that down so that there’s a reservoir, so that when I water it will fill up and then drain through. The danger is that if you fill your container right to the surface with soil and the container is on a slight slant, your water will run off the sides and never penetrates down to where the roots are. In that case, plants can suffer quite severely from drought.
Now that we’ve got our container complete, one way to keep the gerberas looking good all summer is to continue to ‘dead head’ them as the flowers fade – this will encourage additional flowers to form.
This container will take you well through summer and into fall; everything will continue to do well and most of the items are actually quite cold tolerant. In late fall you may want to consider taking the gerberas out if they begin to fade and replacing them with a more seasonal item – something like chrysanthemums or a nice shot of colour from something like a blue aster, or even adding fresh components in like dwarf or miniature pumpkins, which would be a lot of fun as well.
Thank you for tuning in, my name is Paul Zammit, I’m the director of horticulture at the Toronto Botanical Gardens, and I’m glad to have this experience on behalf of Canadiangardening.com.