Gardening: Small is beautiful when you're taking pot luck.
GROWING bedding plants in containers may be all the rage, but you can just as easily plant shrubs and go for glossy evergreens and seasonal performers with a more subtle and permanent effect.
The choice is endless. But for easy care, pick dwarf varieties that need little pruning.
You can't go wrong with topiary subjects like a box ball or standard bay tree.
If your garden soil is unsuitable for fussy plants such as rhododendrons, camellias, pieris and blue hydrangeas, simply plant them in pots of ericaceous compost and feed them with a mixture of rain water and acid fertiliser.
Mediterranean plants such as rosemary and lavender will survive in a parched pot in a sunny spot, so are a good choice for those who like the occasional weekend away.
When it comes to planting, choosing the right pot is important.
There should be enough room for the plant roots to grow, it should be weighty-enough to balance top-heavy growth, it must be frost proof and there must be drainage holes. Fill with compost and then add a slow- release fertiliser. Finally, top dress your pots with a decorative mulch such as glass chippings or coloured gravel.
These will also prevent soil being splashed onto the patio while watering and help conserve moisture at the roots.
FUSSY...but the Nikko Blue hydrangea looks great in a pot