I’m a gal who loves change and I certainly love the changing seasons of Iowa. I’m not sure how the winter days went by so quickly but I’m not complaining about the wonderful springy like weather we’ve experienced the last week or so. Each fall I drag as many plants into my shop as room allows with the hopes of keeping them alive over the winter. About this time of year I take cuttings from the plants that survived and attempt to start new plants for the upcoming growing season. Basically I just need my “fix” of getting my hands in the dirt and awake the gardening monster that lives within me. You die-hard gardeners know about this monster….as soon as we see the first signs of spring, our heads start to spin about this year’s growing season. I was granted a wonderful surprise this morning when I went out to the shop and found two of my “winterovered” plants blooming. Early morning songs from the birds, warm winds from the south and old plants coming to life brings me great hope that spring is here….well…very close at least!
If you’ve read some of my older gardening posts you know how much I love Proven Winners plants. Their Supertunias and Superbells are unbeatable for glorious mounds of color all summer long. When fall rolls around I have a terrible time letting the frost deliver my favorite plants an undeserving death. Several weeks ago when I heard rumblings that Iowa was going to get its first cold snap of the season, I had to decide which plants made the “Save List”. Not an easy task for this flower lovin’ gal. I think this Superbell Pink Gem is especially grateful I saved it as it’s been putting on quite a blooming show inside my shop. Although not as showy as when it was in its prime this summer, I’ll take anything that produces flowers when it’s 20 degrees outside. Hopefully I can keep this Pink Gem alive until February so I can take cuttings and start new plants for next year’s growing season. You can bet I’ll create a post on how I do that next February or March.
Next to my two sons I have two major passions in life. One is woodworking and the other is gardening. I’m a happy gal when I can smoosh the two hobbies together and create something to feed my creative bug. I built these planter boxes nearly 5 years ago and they’re the most often asked about item in my garden. They were simple to build and the only tools I used were a tape measure, miter saw and a cordless drill. In August I built one for a gal after she saw mine while on a garden club tour I hosted at my home. The planter was identical to my three with the exception of me adding the Kreg Jig tool to my bag of tricks which stiffened the corners up. You’ll see this tool in use as you read through this post.
When I was designing my planters boxes I had certain things on my wish list. Here they are:
1. I wanted to be able to reach the plants easily and have it high enough to keep the weeds from invading the box. I have a wild flower field beyond my property line so weeds are definitely part of the landscape.
2. I needed some method of containing the soil and plants without having to build an elaborate treated wood box. Inevitably, a wooden cavity design would eventually rot out. Furthermore, a wood box would have added to my materials list considerably raising the cost as well.
3. Lastly, I wanted some way of easily removing the soil and plants should I decide to move the planter to another part of the garden. For example, needing to move a planter further into the shade during the extremely hot parts of the summer.
Keeping all the things on my wish list in mind, the planter below is what I designed. I used 2 concrete mixing tubs you find at the big box stores located in the building supply department. They’re made of heavy plastic and measure 36″ x 24″ x 8.5″deep at a cost of around $15. Basically the entire planter is built around these heavy tubs. The tubs fulfilled all 3 of my wishes. They’re high off the ground, they won’t rot, they are inexpensive and they’re removable. With the help of one other person you can pull the tubs out, set them on the ground, move the cedar planter and replace the tubs without disturbing the plants. I’ve even gone so far as to pull the tubs out of the planters and into the garage when I knew there was a major hail storm coming! All gardeners know that heartbreaking feeling of watching all your hard work and money being crushed by 3-4 minutes of hail!
I’ll give you the exact measurements of all the wood pieces I cut but the chances of you finding the exact same tub I used are probably slim. Just keep in mind you’ll have to build your box around whatever heavy tubs you can find. No worries though….you can do this!!
Now that the growing season has come to an end here in Iowa I’ve spent some time looking back at the pictures I took of all my bloomers. I started most of these plants way back in February and March of 2014 and it’s hard to believe summer has come and gone already. One of the reason I love living in Iowa though are the wonderful seasons we experience. I thrive on change so about the time I get tired of 3-4 months of a certain kind of weather I’m blessed with a new season which is so refreshing.
As you can see I’ll plant flowers in just about any kind of container I can find. Many of the tubs I planted in are from sheep feeding tubs my dad gave me after his ewes nibbled the supplement out of them. I also planted a lot of my flowers in landscaping pots that my favorite nursery man gave to me for free. He had loads of 2-3 gallon pots he was thrilled to get rid of. I planted the flowers in the pots and then sunk them in the ground at varying heights which gave me a tiered looking garden. I’m a big fan of Proven Winners Supertunias and their Superbells which are unbeatable for the mounding color they provide. The window boxes are Supertunia Bubblegum which amaze me every year no matter what the Iowa weather throws down on them. I also love Petchoa Supercals in the colors of Neon Rose and Artist Rose. They too are like eye candy for any garden lover! Although this season has come to an end I’m already thinking about what I’ll do differently next year. Hope you enjoy my 2014 sea-of-color summer pics!
Everyone that knows me knows that next to woodworking, flower gardening is a huge love of mine. I’ve started seeds for the last 25 years in my basement under lights. Here in Iowa, winter can get mighty long so to curb the spring fever I get every year I start diggin’ in the dirt in early February. In late December I’ll start looking through the seed catalogs and by early February I’m anxiously waiting to get the seeds rolling out of their little envelopes and on the road to coming to life. I have to say last year was my best flower gardening year that I’ve ever had. I germinated seeds quite differently than I ever have before and it was a huge success. I’ll blog that in another post sometime but just to show you how things turned out I’ll post some of my pictures I took of my flowers last summer. Hope you enjoy!