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Upper Midwest Gardening: Spring Containers

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Get your spring fix with a fresh basket of blooms. Plant this easy combo for a welcome Upper Midwest spring treat.

A spring basket

Sometimes spring takes its time getting to the Upper Midwest. I say, why wait for nature when you can plant your own bounty of blooms for a breath of fresh air? This is an easy project that anyone can do. Instead of using a typical container, I found this lovely basket screaming for attention. I started by lining the basket with a black plastic trash bag. It protects the basket, keeps the soil in and helps retain moisture. I filled the basket using new potting soil. I never cheat here because I know last year's soil has been leached of nutrients and is compacted.

 

Veronica (speedwell) in a container

Then comes the easy part: packing in the plants. I'm planting veronica, also known as speedwell. It's a perennial, so eventually I'll transplant it in the garden.

Violas 'Etain' are icons of spring

The dainty lavender flowers pair nicely with the viola 'Etain'.

 Narcissus introduces a ray of sunshine.

The spring spotlight comes from the brilliant sunny-yellow miniature narcissus known as the buttercup. These gems play well off the soft-yellow centers in the violas.

For instant drama I try to squeeze as many plants into one container as I can, so I buy more than I think I need. But I always use them all. Because temperatures are still cool I have to be careful not to overwater. Usually once a week is sufficient, depending on weather. To keep the plants healthy and happy, I feed them a water-soluble fertilizer once a week, but at 50-percent strength. Yep, less is more! This way I know I won't overdo it.

Once temperatures warm, the narcissus withers away--off to the compost pile! I'll replace with a summer annual that will play off the violas and speedwell. This basket will thrive spring through early summer in full to partial sun.

To see how I planted this basket, watch my video. Enjoy!

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