Tagawa Gardens Blog

Keep Your Container Gardens Beautiful Through the Fall

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Are your flower pots telling you it’s been a long, hot summer?  Maybe it’s time for a facelift!

Container gardens don’t have an easy life.  We ask them to run a summer-long marathon of growing and blooming and looking gorgeous.  And with the right plants from Tagawa Gardens, and some T.L.C., they live up to our expectations.  But as the weeks roll by, there may come a time when a few of the plants simply wear out, while others in the same pot are still going strong.

That’s our cue to give these containers a “facelift.”  There’s not a plastic surgeon in sight!  It’s just us, along with a few fresh new annuals, a trowel and a vision of a pot reborn.

And maybe the best part of all:  it’s easy and fun!  Interested?  Then read on!

sally-removes-old-plants-at-tagawa-gardens

Out with the old…

Start by looking at your flower pots with a critical eye.  We get used to things that we see day in and day out, so maybe we don’t notice that the potato vine is a little beat up and straggly.  Or perhaps we let the petunias get too long.  Or (speaking from experience) maybe the geraniums never quite recovered from the day the dogs were wrestling on the deck and knocked the whole pot over.

So it’s facelift time!  And Tagawa Gardens Annuals Department is here to help.  As the calendar rolls over to September, Tagawa’s has lots of beautiful fall-colored flowers to choose from to ease your container gardens into a whole new season.  Rust- and maroon-colored ornamental grasses, blue-green kale and bright, beautiful rudbeckia are just waiting for a new home on your porch, patio or deck.

Sally is part of the Tagawa Gardens Annuals staff.  Take a big pot of flowers, pull out the weary annuals, leave the plants that still look good and give it a whole new lease on life.

What to keep… What to toss

Take a cue from Sally:  Unless you want to repot the entire container (which we’d be happy to help you do,) get a sense of which plants are still working for you and which ones need to retire.

The beautiful ornamental grasses that we love to use as “thrillers” in our containers are often among the last plants standing. That’s just what Sally found.  The big Purple Fountain grass still looked great.  The callibrachoa and pentas were done for the season, so out they came.

Her next step:  to peruse the aisles of Tagawa’s selection of fall-friendly annuals with some specific questions in mind.  Sally needs to know how much space she’s freed up by removing the plants that are now gone.  How tall should the new plants be?  What colors would look good?   Maybe a frilly kale would be just purr-fect!

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A little reconstruction

Sometimes the plants that need to go will pull out easily, as they did for Sally.  Other times, the roots of the old plants are tangled up with the roots of the plants you want to keep.  That’s when you gently try to tease the two root systems apart, holding the roots of the good plant in place as you shake and separate the roots of the old plant.

If that just doesn’t work, I’ve been known to take a steak knife and cut away the roots of the old plant.  You may remove some of the roots of the plant you want to keep, but that’s better than yanking up its whole root system.

Keep in mind that the flowers you’re adding need to be planted deeply enough to be at their proper level.  In other words, once they’re in place, they should be even with their new neighbors.  You might need to dig a bigger hole than the old plant’s root system occupied.

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A brand new look for an old container

Sally recommends that when you’re finished, you give your “new” container its first big drink and include some Age Old Kelp.  It’s an amazing all-natural product that works wonders at helping plants adjust to stress.

Then it’s time to stand back and admire your work.  Just for kicks, take a few before-and-after pictures.  You may be surprised at how much difference a few plants and just a bit of your time can make.

And an added bonus, see below for a video by Deborah, our annuals supervisor and I  to show you step by step how to revamp your summer containers for fall!

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Luan Akin
About 
Luan Akin
Tagawa Gardens Outreach Ambassador

After 30 years as a news reporter for KCNC TV in Denver, Luan Akin was ready for a change. In 2010, she came to Tagawa Gardens and offered to create a brand new position: Garden Outreach Ambassador.

Luan had trained and volunteered as a Douglas County Master Gardener for ten years. In addition to her duties as a news reporter, working primarily out of the Channel 4 News helicopter, Luan also produced and presented a long-running series of stories called “Gardening Together.”

All these years later, Luan now works year ‘round, presenting a variety of gardening and nature-related topics to hundreds of children, HOA’s, gardening clubs, church groups, small businesses and other organizations.

She is an avid gardener, a bee-keeper and a proud mom to five dogs who have trained her well.

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