Idaho Container Design

Upon arriving in the gem state I was thrilled to design and plant several containers for a local business. What could grow here? What were good container plants? The landscaping in this area is ‘natural’, shall we say. Professional garden design is not as obvious here, as in Western Washington (the land flowing with milk and honey). I see an occasional geranium or petunia in a pot, but this windswept land is quite dreary to my eyes. As I drive through the region it’s blue spruce, cottonwood, blue spruce, cottonwood, cottonwood, cottonwood, willow. Repeat. The tree diversity is lacking. It’s a beautiful pastoral landscape, but I miss the abundant variety of trees, shrubs and perennials from my Westward home. I was determined to create a planter that was distinct, yet could handle the extreme heat this summer has brought. First things first, no petunias or geraniums were allowed. The standards of many containers were not invited to this party.

I found some wonderful nurseries in Idaho Falls. Sunnyside, Eagle Rock and Town and Country Gardens each had great selection, beautiful displays and friendly staff. I was very excited to explore these nurseries. They also had a good variety of the ever popular tropical plants. This was fun to look at as I have recently propagated tropicals at LWTech. It was interesting to see succulents, which are so easy to propagate, being sold for a high price. Someone is making money on these succulents! Maybe that should be me! I also found a good selection of plants at the local Fred Meyer nursery and put together a fun assortment of pinks, yellow and oranges. I was going for the ‘sunset’ theme.

As soon as I saw Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos) I knew this would be the centerpiece. Velvety pink blooms and drought resistance, what a combination! I’ve watched it grow for over a month now and have no complaints. I love the long narrow, thick leaves and the unusual flowers. The relentless days of over 90 degrees F seem to have little effect. I added Vinca, Gazania, Bidens, Marigold and Celosia. Also a bit of blue Lobelia for a contrast. The Bidens and Gazania are resisting re-bloom, but the Marigolds just keep on flowering and are looking better than ever now. The big surprise for me were the three ferns that I popped in. They were left from an indoor planter. I put them in morning sun and with enough water they are growing, surviving and keeping up with the marigolds! I think water is the key. I committed to fully watering the containers three times a week to keep them alive and it seems to be working. I’m hoping to have more opportunities for Idaho container designer in the future.

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