Monthly Archives: February 2017

Creative Container Gardening

Container planting is one of the most imaginative forms of gardening in which color combinations, texture and even the container itself can make an impressive statement. Container gardens can express your artistry or set a mood in the house, on your deck, patio, family room, and even in the garden.

Your container garden can be an extension of your personality and will offer many interesting possibilities. There are so many options available that all you need do is express yourself. You can start with the container itself. Containers allow for great garden artistry along with the utmost flexibility.

Even on a budget, with containers, we can indulge both plant desire and our yearning for elaboration, without hurting our budget or landscape. This definitely improves a gardener’s eye for combinations like composing container plantings. Color, proportion and shape are all important to the coordination of the container garden.

When planning an interior design scheme container plants, flowers and even fruit trees can add to the theme. Choose containers and plants / flowers which blend into or enhance the color scheme, style, and mood of the room. If you like a bold and dramatic fee – go for bright colorful containers and exotic flowers. If you’re looking for a more relaxing feel in a room, why not consider simple and stylish containers and green leafy plants such as ferns.

The creativity and possibilities for container gardening are endless, because so many plants grow well in pots. By using your imagination, you can find interesting and unique ways to grow and display just about any plant. By rearranging them in various ways, you can also create an ambiance appealing to the eye and a fragrant scent to make your neighbors envious.

Common Container Garden Myths That You Shouldn't Believe

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Selecting Fruits for Container Garden

The fruit plants used for container garden are mostly dwarf trained forms of apples, citrus fruit, nectarines, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, and plums. All these plants can be grown in pots and tubs whose diameter and depth should be round about 45-60 cm (18-24 inches). Soil based potting compost would be ideal along with proper drainage at the bottom of the container.

Fruits Container Gardens

Proper watering and feeding is necessary for all plants. Besides this, a proper sunlight and shelter will also be necessary for fruits. It is important to thin out the trees to remove the excess from the plant so that it will grow properly in the wooden tub. Remember, fruit trees require regular pruning depending on the fruit type and the circumstances in which it is grown.

Selecting Fruits

In the container garden the fruits grown are trained as dwarf pyramids or dwarf bush trees. As the space is limited these are procured on dwarfing rootstocks to keep their size small. For apples and pears, you need to grow varieties to make certain that cross pollination of the flowers takes place. Otherwise the fruit production would be the minimum. You can use ‘family’ apple or pear tree for extreme confined space.

Apples

Apples on dwarfing rootstock M9 or M27 should be grown as dwarf bush or dwarf pyramid trees. Make certain that the cross pollination take place. The best varieties you can grow together are ‘Egremont Russet’, ‘Discovery’, ‘Cox’s Orange Pippin’, ‘Ashmead’s Kernel’ and ‘Greensleeves’.

Pears

These are grown in a pretty much same manner as apples. Two varieties should be grown to ensure that they cross pollinate. The well known varieties are ‘Doyenne du Cornice’ with ‘Beurre Hardy’ and ‘Williams’ ‘Bon Chretien’ with ‘Conference’.

Cherries

Cherries don’t need to cross pollinate. Buy a self fertile variety like ‘Stella’ on the dwarfing rootstock ‘Colt’ and grow as dwarf bush or dwarf pyramid.

Plums

Buy a self fertile variety like ‘Victoria’ on dwarfing rootstock ‘Pixy’ grow as dwarf bush or dwarf pyramid.
Peaches and Nectarines

These are grown as dwarf bush trees and what you need to do is to pollinate the flowers by hand that appear early in the year. You need to dab the centre of each flower with a soft artist’s brush to transfer the pollens from one flower to another.

Citrus Fruits

Fruits like C. aurantium, the Seville orange, sweet orange and citrus sinensis should be grown as dwarf pyramid or dwarf bush tree. As these plants are tender plants, they need to be kept under a greenhouse to prevent frostbites.

Grape Vine

It is very open to training. The height of the grape vine would be about 1.8 m (6 inches) and it is grown as standard in container, i.e. a single permanent stem with new growth being produced at the top.

When, Where and How to Grow Fruit Trees

One of the most rewarding aspects of home gardening is to succeed in growing fruit trees right there in your own backyard. It is possible even in the suburbs to create a miniature orchard of your favorite ones, growing fresh, ripe fruit for all to share.

The hard work begins in earnest from the start of winter until the end of winter. This includes, planting new trees, pruning and shaping existing ones, or any moving and transplanting should be done during this time.

Towards the end of winter and close to early spring, as the weather warms and the days extend, most trees are beginning to grow tender, new roots. Any movement such as planting or transplanting can damage these roots. In the least it may lose one year of valuable growth and at worst – well, I think you know.

Choosing the right type of fruit to grow is entirely a personal choice. In Melbourne, Australia you can choose from several varieties of, peaches, apples, cherries, apples, and pears, pomegranates and persimmons, plums, apricots, almonds walnuts, and chestnuts. This is just to name a few, not including berry or grape types which are also suited to Melbourne’s temperate climate.

A key thing to remember when buying any fruit producing trees is that some types call for a cross-pollinator. This is important for trees like cherries, some almond types, pears, apples, and plums. Even trees which are self-fertile can benefit from having a different variety of the same fruit as a cross pollinator, but still often manage to produce enough seasonal fruit to keep their owners happy.

Several dwarf varieties of fruit trees are now becoming available, but at a premium price. The process involved in grafting fruit scions onto rootstocks which will keep them miniature is more tedious and costly. However, the benefits of dwarfed fruit trees are fantastic.

– They can easily be grown in pots

– Are readily transportable should you need to change address

– Are much easier to prune and otherwise maintain

– Small backyards can support several fruit tree types

Some fruit trees can prove high maintenance, particularly around the Melbourne area and similar temperate climate locations. While fruit trees such as, plums, prunes, almonds, chestnuts, walnuts, quinces, persimmons, and walnuts grow with very little to no maintenance, other trees do need attention.

Fruit trees such as peaches and nectarines can suffer from curly leaf, a disease which ultimately causes leaf loss. The tree does need to be sprayed just before spring with a curly leaf spray. These and other fruit trees can be affected by fungal disease, white fly, aphids, caterpillars, slugs and snails. There are remedial chemicals available on the market and a plethora of bio-organic and natural, homemade remedies. A check on the net can eventually set you in the right direction.

Other items to consider when planting fruit trees are:

Good Soil with Plenty of Composted Material

If you live on clay soil or otherwise have unsuitable soil, you can easily convert this into a suitable growing medium. Regular incorporation of Gypsum aids clay soils. Nutrient deficient soils can have a trailer load of well rotted manure dug in with the existing soil. Keep hard soil soft and loosened and give fruit trees a good dose of fertiliser just on spring.

A Sunny Position

Without sun fruit can rarely become sweet. Sugar comes from one place – the sun. If you want sweet fruit, the more sun the better.

Regular Water and Fertiliser

Through the growing season, you need to ensure regular watering and sufficient fertiliser. While the tree itself will benefit from manures, manure I not enough. A fruit tree while fruiting, also needs potassium to aid in the production of healthy fruit. Potassium sulphate is readily available in garden centers and can be used on fruit trees.

As for watering, set a regular pattern. Irregular or sporadic watering can cause fruit to split. While the tree is dry, the skin around the fruit calcifies or hardens. When you next water the tree, as it tries to swell it splits because the skin has lost its elasticity.

Prune And Trim Tree Correctly

When you first buy a two to three-year old fruit tree, you don’t need a tall tree or a tree with too many branches. Prune it right back to about 30cms. From the trunk. You will be living with this tree for years and most fruit trees are vigorous in growth. Prune back each winter and be sure to remove inner growth. Keep to a vase shape as best as possible, aiming always to outward growth.

Peach Tree Container Growing

Peach tree container growing can be a lot more relaxing than growing a peach that is actually planted in your garden. Container growing has become very popular these days due to the fact that many homes do not have ample room to plant fruit trees in their gardens; backyards have become much smaller. Planting a dwarf peach tree in a container gives one the ability move the entire container indoors to protect it from late spring freezes or winter frosts in the Southwest. Peaches are conducive to having early flowers that produce fruit; early enough for a frost to really harm them.

Home and garden centers and your local garden nursery are excellent places to purchase dwarf trees. A dwarf or an ultra-dwarf peach tree is the best for container growing and you can leave it in the container for the entire life of the tree. If you plant a full-sized peach tree in a container will need to be replanted into the ground after a few years if it ever going to grow to maturity. It could become root-bound or could possibly die if left in the pot. The dwarf peach tree varieties will come in various heights ranging from 5 feet to 15 feet. The dwarf Red Haven peach trees will grow to 15 feet while the dwarf Golden Glory peach trees will only grow to about to 5 feet. Both varieties of peach trees will produce delectable tasting fruit.

After you have purchased your patio peach trees, be sure the containers will be large enough for the expected maturity height of the tree. A 5 foot tall mature tree, the Golden Glory, will need a five-gallon container and the 15 foot tall mature tree, the Red Haven, needs at least a fifteen gallon container. In order to keep the peach trees from becoming water logged in the spring and summer the container should have several drainage holes in the bottom.

Place your pot on a drainage tray and fill with pebbles, gravel or marbles to roughly 2 to 3 inches high. This allows better water drainage so the peach tree roots are not in constant water. Next you want to fill your pot half-way with a peach tree soil or loamy compost soil. Place the young peach tree in the container and fill with soil under and the plant. Now you can fill the remainder of the pot with soil within a couple of inches from the top but be sure the graft line is still exposed and not under the soil. The graft line is the area where the dwarf meets the parent plant; if you cover the graft line with soil roots will begin at that point and you may end up with a full size tree.

In order to remove any air pockets that were formed while planting you will need to completely soak the fruit tree with fresh water. For best results always add the recommended dose of tree fertilizer that was provided to you from the garden nursery or home improvement center. Some garden nurseries will offer a warranty for a year if you use their brand of fertilizer.

Your new dwarf fruit tree will need roughly 6 hours of sunlight every day. The best part about container growing a peach tree is the fact that if you yard does not one particular area that gets 6 steady hours of sunlight you can use a two-wheeled hand cart to move your tree to another part of the yard for the remainder of the sunlight. Once the tree has become established you can leave it in the best area with the most sun. Container grown dwarf fruit trees need us, the gardener, for all its nutrients and water because they cannot search them out in the ground soil. We can give them a liquid fertilizer every couple of weeks, and water completely when the soil begins to get dry. Give them only enough water so water will be standing in the drainage tray and only give water again when the water in the tray water has evaporated. In the colder climates of the U.S. you may want to bring the dwarf tree indoors and place it near a window from December to the end of April.

Some of the soil may become dislodged or seep through the drainage holes of the pot, so it is best to have extra potting soil handy. You can have larger peaches on your tree if you pinch off every other peach. The more peaches you have on the tree the smaller they will be but your peaches will produce sooner in a container than if planted in the ground.