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Senior Living | 08/3/21
Plants and flowers are happy to grow in all kinds of places if they get the sun and water they need. Translation? You don’t need a big yard to create a colorful oasis. Whether you live in an upper-level senior apartment or ground-floor villa, you can create an equally beautiful deck or patio garden using a variety of containers. And if you include a few vegetable and herb plants, it can even become a source of fresh ingredients.
Container gardening does take some maintenance to keep it tidy and weed-free, but the rewards are wonderful and the view from your window will be worth it! If you’re a first-time container gardener, here are a few green thumb tips to keep in mind.
When selecting planters for your patio garden, remember anything that holds soil and drains can be used. Be creative! Pottery, metal tubs, watering cans, window boxes, barrels, and hanging baskets all work well. For larger containers, consider placing them on wheeled platforms (available at any garden store)— to make them easier to move around. The experts also suggest simple pots for showy plants, and more decorative pots for more modest plants. If you hang pots, have a handy friend put them on pulleys so you can bring them down to your level for easier watering!
Before you head to the nursery, do a little online browsing to make a list of what you might like to buy. Annuals need to be replanted each year. Perennials grow back year after year. Native plants tend to be easier to grow and acclimate better. Pay attention to how the sun falls on your deck or patio – it will impact whether you choose shade lovers or sun seekers.
The golden rule of planting a container with annuals is to include “a thriller, a spiller, and a filler.” The thriller is a focal point plant, something showy or tall for the center like a colorful geranium or fountain grass. The spiller is a plant that creeps or flows over the side like ivy. The filler plants add the fullness and color in and around the other plantings, like salvias, wax begonias. How many do you need? A container with an 18- to 24-inch diameter holds 5 or 6 plants.
Yes, you can have a shrub as part of your deck or patio garden! Just choose dwarf varieties. Ask the nursery staff to direct you to the ones that are happy to live in containers. As alternatives, ornamental grasses, hostas, daylilies, sedge, lavender, and sedum all create lovely, easy-care patio garden displays … and they love living in containers.
Plants native to a particular region are easier to care for and typically flourish in their “home” environment. New Jersey boasts 2,000 native plants, according to the Native Plant Society of New Jersey. Purple coneflowers, trumpet honeysuckle, New England aster, and Black-Eyed Susan are just a few flower names you probably know. You can find a complete list of native New Jersey perennials, shrubs, trees, and more here.
Ready to plant your blossoming patio garden? Monroe Village has a choice of bright, welcoming independent living floor plans to choose from – and each of our one- and two-bedroom senior apartments include patios and/or decks. So let’s get growing! Fill out our contact request form and we’ll call you with all the details.