Pansy Hanging Baskets

Friday was a rainy and raw day but I took advantage of the time indoors to pot up a few pansy hanging baskets to give my yard a bit of color.

I used 10″ pots to plant in.  I selected 4 pots of pansies (went with a blue and yellow theme) and 3 small pots of ivy for filler.

Pansies really thrive with fertilizer so I added a slow release mix, (I chose Osmocote), into the potting soil.  Slow release fertilizers will feed your plants over a series of months.  When used according to the directions, it will feed throughout the growing season without risk of chemical burn.  Remember – with fertilizer, more is not better.

While potting, I made sure that the potting soil that I added around the flowers was packed in well and there were no air pockets around the roots.  This will cause the roots in that particular area to dry out and/or freeze.  After planting I watered well.

Despite the wind and nighttime temperatures falling below freezing, I placed my new baskets in their holders.  Today they are none the worse for the wear.  I did have to give them another thorough watering since the wind dried out the soil.

A few pansy tips:

Pansies will survive the frost and freezing temperatures, however, make sure they are well watered.  The moisture actually protects the roots.  It is a “dry freeze” that could be their demise.  Also, although the plants are fine, you may need to deadhead any affected flowers by snipping them off just above the first set of leaves.  New flower buds will soon form and bloom again.


Not Just a Cool Herb Garden but a DROP-IN

I always wonder why more people don’t do this…I already had a pot of my own…don’t really care to get another…so I make this rockin’ herb garden in a plain old pot and then just drop it into my container…voila!!

As far as the herb container goes, I added chives, rosemary, purple sage, silver thyme, parsley, and spearmint.  I plan to keep this garden outside from now on to monitor it’s reaction and growing habit with the fluctuating temperatures.  This, unfortunately, means NO basil.  Basil can not tolerate the cold.  It is definitely a warm-season plant…the only reason that I don’t have oregano in there is because – well – I just didn’t have any to plant and I was too impatient to wait another day.

I did not add fertilizer because herbs actually grow best – with better flavor and oil content – when an organic feed of fish emulsion is used in the spring.  Fish emulsion is just what it sounds like – liquid fish-stuff.  In the spring you use it every two weeks to keep your herbs growing strong.

Oh – and by the way – the container garden that I made is WAY too crammed to keep it this way all season.  The pot just isn’t big enough.  As the plants really take off, I will either replant them into my garden – directly, or I will break them out into other containers.  A few I may give a pot of their own (like the rosemary and the mint) but others I may keep together in duos or trios.

Time to Commit

On Tuesday I spent most of the day taking care of all of my indoor chores in anticipation of having Thursday free to get outside and begin work on my to-do list.  It’s funny, I get excited thinking about working outside and preparing my gardens for the spring but then, I begin to get overwhelmed when I look at the whole scope of my projects.  Tonight I walked the garden and came up with a few simple things to take care of tomorrow…They mainly focus upon what I currently call the “scary side garden”  You can see from the photo below what I am talking about…anyway – my goals are to remove a dead viburnum, cut back the ornamental grasses, trim back my liriope, cut back my knockout roses and see how things look from there.  I will give you an updated shot tomorrow.  One exciting thing in my life from today though was that my yard waste container was emptied and I have plenty of room to fill it back up again!!!  ( Maybe I have to get more of a life if I consider that to be exciting.  🙂

So Who Am I To Say

Well, I have already made my first faux pas in the blogging world – I didn’t introduce myself.  This could potentially be a scary-long post so I will keep it relatively brief.

I am Tracy Smith – director and buyer for the greenhouses/annual departments at Waterloo Gardens.  How cool is that…I am surrounded by plants and plant people every day.  I have been there for about 10 years.  Prior, I graduated from the University of Delaware with a BS, majoring in Landscape Horticulture.  I have experience working in formal gardens, botanical gardens, for the state parks system, and working for a few private clients.  The best experience that I have though is the fact that my parents were both raised as farmers and passed down a ton of information that you can not always learn through study. I am constantly learning new lessons from my coworkers, customers at Waterloo, growers, and my own experiences.

I live in Delaware and work in Pennsylvania.  My partners in crime are three dogs and three cats.  I enjoy being outside in all of the seasons.  I love the ocean and the mountains.  Coffee rocks!  I read like crazy and just learned to knit this past Christmas.  Sweats are my preferred attire…I am a true bum.  I am a pizza fiend but I really like to cook as well.  Hmmm – what else can I bore you with???  I guess I will leave my bio at this for now and just add a few tid-bits that I can think of along the way.

OMG!!! I missed the most important thing…my astrological sign is Gemini.  That was a joke…you know, the old “What’s your sign” line.  Oh well, at least I thought it was kind of funny.


Today I am going to create my garden journal for 2012.  It is important to keep notes not only about what worked and what didn’t but to keep a running log of photographs throughout the season as your plants develop.  Right now, it is also a great way to make to-do lists.  You may think this is a bit odd but I walk around my yard almost every day, looking for those first bits of growth that begin to pop through the soil.  So far all I am seeing are snowdrops and early daffodil greens.  I also walk to my currently ugly vegetable garden and think about what I would like to see this year vs the fiasco I created last year…let’s just say that my eyes were bigger than my garden plot.

The warm temperatures this winter have really given me the gardening bug but I know that the ground is still too cold to plant. (If the soil temperature is too cold, the plants will just sit there because the roots won’t grow enough to support a big colorful show.)  This doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of things that I can do in the meantime.

I was lazy this past fall and I have a mountain of containers to clean up before I use them again.  I should really get this started because, even though the ground is too cold to directly plant into just yet, I plan to start making my early March container gardens as soon as the pots of pansies start to color up.  I like recycling old containers because I already have plenty of planters that I own so I create “slip-ins”.  I make gardens out of my left over plastic pots and simply sit them inside of my decorative ceramics.  Win-win situation!

One other thing that I am doing right now is reading through my gardening books and magazines, taking notes for projects to come.