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plant spring containersHow to... Gardening.

Byline: with David Domoney

SPRING-flowering containers will brighten the dullest day, lift your mood and entice you out of the house and into the garden.

Add a splash of spring colour by planting up some pots now.

Drain game Good drainage is vital in container gardening. If water gets trapped in the pot, air cannot get to the plant's roots and it may rot and die.

Most pots and containers should come with drainage holes in the bottom. But drill a few extra ones into plastic or wood containers to be on the safe side. Add a layer of gravel or broken pottery to the bottom - this stops holes getting blocked by soil.

Then half fill your container with general purpose compost.

Centre stage The best container gardens make use of larger containers with several plants to create a mix of height, shape and colour.

I start with a centrepiece. This is usually a bigger feature plant in the middle. Try skimmia japonica, a dwarf conifer - cupressus goldcrest seeds off in. You can transplant into the soil and they rot away.

is good - or hebe. Osmanthus burkwoodii and viburnum also work well.

Nestle it into the compost so it sits straight and fill in with compost to hold it in place.

Flower bedfellows Around the centrepiece you need lower-growing colourful bedding plants such as primroses, pansies, ornamental cabbages or polyanthus.

Add trailing plants such as ivy around the edges to drape down the sides of the container.

Aim to make the container feel full and lush - nothing is sadder than a half-empty pot.

Try to get the final compost level a couple of centimetres below the rim of the pot.

Thirsty work If you fill the container right to the top, compost will spill out when you water it. So fill to a couple of centimetres below the edges.

If you place your container against the side of the house, you will need to give it extra water. Anything sitting under the eaves will not get as much rainfall.

TipEGG cartons make excellent pots for starting seeds off in. You can transplant into the soil and they rot away.

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Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Feb 28, 2016
Words:359
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