Tammy SchmittConfessions of a pot addict

Sometimes one is just not enough. Sometimes 87 is better. As a matter of fact, it is 86 times better. But 88? Pure crazy, I tell ya.

Casa mariposa plant potsLast I counted I had 87 containers full of plants. But I may have counted wrong.

Annual rudbeckia hirta and monarda citriodora

Annual Rudbeckia hirta and Monarda citriodora

Anything and everything that doesn’t fit into my garden beds, is stuffed in a pot.

Casa mariposa blue plant pots

Colors are blended and hopefully flow into each other

Seed grown bat-faced cuphea lounging in the oregano

Seed grown bat-faced cuphea lounging in the oregano

but if they clash, who cares?

Casa mariposa plant potsAll annuals that attract pollinators are grown by seed over the winter and I fill in the gaps with organic herbs.

Casa mariposa plant pots perennials and herbsPerennials live in the pots forever so I add organic fertilizer and granulated mycorrihizae to the soil to keep it fertile.

Casa mariposa plant pots basilI bought a pot of basil at the grocery store when my plants were too small to harvest. I stuck it outside and thought it would immediately die but it thrived and grew so I had to buy another pot.

I had no choice.

Pineapple mint with seed-grown Jupiter's Beard

Pineapple mint with seed-grown Jupiter’s Beard

A copper watering can? Stick a plant in it.

Casa mariposa plant pots and artIf sticking plants in pots isn’t enough, I create funky art and stick it in the pots. It’s like decorating the garden.

Casa mariposa plant pots agastacheAgastache that would die in my clay loam thrive in a container, so what’s a gardener to do but buy more containers?

Sweet potatoes fill the two pots in front of the miscanthus. I'll harvest these in the fall and cook them for Thanksgiving.

Sweet potatoes fill the two pots in front of the Miscanthus. I’ll harvest these in the fall and cook them for Thanksgiving.

Pots fill my patio steps

'Pandora's Box' daylily

‘Pandora’s Box’ daylily

and house some of my impulse-buy daylilies.

Casa mariposa plant potsJust in case they need a little motivation.

Casa mariposa plant potsEven the cracks in the patio pavers are sprouting plants.

I scattered Rudbeckia hirta 'Denver Dasies' seed last fall but squirrels ransacked the pot so only a few came up. Furry little jerks.

I scattered Rudbeckia hirta ‘Denver Dasies’ seed last fall but squirrels ransacked the pot so only a few came up. Furry little jerks.

I don’t bother with fillers, thrillers, and spillers. I just add stuffers and fluffers and call it a day.

This gives the plants more room to grow and requires less watering.

Casa mariposa variegated plants in pots

A bit of variegation keeps everything from being too green.

Casa mariposa plant pots

To keep the soil from crusting over, I break it up with my fingers so the water penetrates the soil instead of running down the sides. A sharp stick is used to poke holes in deep soil to increase water absorption.

Plus, this gives me an excellent excuse for poking things with sharp sticks. It’s an excellent stress reliever.

'Red Hot Mama' lilies blown over in a storm were brought inside.

‘Red Hot Mama’ lilies blown over in a storm were brought inside.

Even my watering can is occasionally pressed into service.

 

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Tammy Schmitt

About Tammy Schmitt

I am a passionate middle school teacher and gardener. I've gardened in South Dakota, South Carolina, and in upstate New York near the Canadian border. My current garden, in an overdeveloped suburb near Washington DC, has been my most challenging. My desire to create a true refuge for our native birds and butterflies has helped me battle unpredictable weather and compacted clay soil. My garden isn't perfect, but it's always a beautiful escape. Read my full blog at Casa Mariposa.

6 thoughts on “Confessions of a pot addict

  1. Imogen on said:

    I understand this addiction, have been starting my own collection. This is the first time I’ve heard of mycorrhizae for pots. Is that the secret? Should I be adding that to my lemon tree in a pot? And here I was thinking seasol was the secret.

    • I’ve found the mycorrhizae really useful in creating soil fertile enough to sustain the perennials every year. I add a handful of organic fertilizer to the pots in the spring and also use liquid kelp as needed. The annuals are given a mixture of new potting soil mixed with the old stuff that I’ve amended with dry fertilizer. It seems to work pretty well. The small pots are given completely new potting soil and I use the old soil to fill in all the holes my dogs dig around the garden.

  2. Kate Wall on said:

    Love your approach Tammy, I agree wholeheartedly! I love sticking succulents and bromeliads into anything that stays still long enough! Worm castings (solid and liquid) are great in pots, as is a top up of fine compost every year.

    • Thanks! I throw in worms whenever I find them and that seems to help keep the soil fertile. I’mm convinced almost anything can become a container for plants!

  3. Stuffers and fluffers! Classic. And exactly my style too. I rate my pot planting compositions at about the same as my flowers in vase arranging – totally incompetent. Where was I when the housewife fairy passed over with her magic dust?
    Your wonderful pots are overflowing with summer abundance – but where do you hide them when those perennials and bulbs die down? Is there a sort of pot cemetery out the back where they sit in mournful rows during the winter?

    • The pots stay outside all year round. I have too many to store and no where to store them. Our winters are cold but not so brutal as to destroy the pots so they hold up pretty well.

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