This month of March did come in a bit ‘lion like’ with another of those gale force winds, fortunately it didn’t blow quite as long as some of the other windy weeks have during this winter. But, it still holds, be sure to keep delicate plants sheltered and anything that may need support a good sturdy stake to tie it to.
I am going onto the patio today. How many odd plant pots have we all got either neatly stacked in sizes or all higgledy piggledy? No matter, let's put a number of them to good use today. Select four or five pots in varying sizes to build a little tower of pots. Only the largest pot needs a drip tray to stand on, then fill with good potting soil. At this point make sure that all the pots have a drainage hole right in the centre at the bottom no matter how many other drainage holes the pots may have around the bottom. This middle hole must be large enough to pass a sturdy supporting stick through so that as you continue to fill the pots with soil and stand them one on top of the soil of the lower one, the stick will pass all the way through the number of pots you want in this miniature tower. This is as good a way as any to keep all the pots standing, make sure there is a rim of about three or four inches (8 centimetres) of exposed soil where you can put your plants. The number of pots you stack will depend on how big the bottom pot is and just how tall you want this little tower. Make sure to have put the pots where you are going to want them at this point because they will end up quite heavy and cumbersome to move. Now comes the fun part. There are all sorts of aromatic herbs already well established to be found in little pots in supermarkets and garden shops. Some are just annuals others perenials, no matter which you select, transplant them into the spaces around each of the stacked plant pots. Some may tumble over the sides giving the waterfall effect as they grow to maturity whilst others will simply fill out and grow up the sides of the inner pots. The top pot can be quite small with something quite different in texture planted to give the whole a rounding off effect. Parsley would give that ‘rounding off’ effect whilst chives would stand up all spikey whilst the sides have been leafey, even a red chili pepper plant to give a little colour later on. The choice is yours to be as inventive as you like and have all your culinary herbs in one basket so to speak when it is time to cut some for the kitchen. Having planted them in this way does not mean you can’t use them, in fact you must use them, many of the annuals like sweet basil for example need to be regularly cut back to avoid them going to seed too soon and spoiling the whole effect. Keep watering regularly which is why you must start off with the drip tray. Get started on this little project now with whatever plants are available at the moment and then you can go on adding to it where there are spaces. So you see, you don’t need a large terrace or garden, just a corner to stand a plant pot or two.
Another suggestion for a similar tower is just strawberries, they tumble over the sides of the pots keeping the fruit off the soil and look stunning both when in flower and when the fruit is ripening. There are of course special ‘Strawberry pots’ with little cups around the sides made from terracota but the plant pot tower is much more fun to mount as you go along.
And now for another fun idea, this time with vegetables, I was going to say ‘green’ vegetables but this idea is a bit more than just green. Instead of a flower border plant a mixture of red cabbages, pale green lettuce, curley cabbage plants and more. You will find all these seedlings in the co-op or garden shops, plant them in neat little rows or a mixture and you can eat them all when they are mature so why should it always be flowers! Make gardening fun, it repeats itself year after year so just ring the changes for once.