Diva Dan’s Ambiance
The next project of the summer was to create a comfortable outdoor living space. Sure it’s nice to have lawn chairs but to soften off the touch, adding a bit of charm can make your afternoon feel more relaxing.
Michael and I decided to go to Lowes home renovation store. Though our outdoor living space was pretty, it was lacking ambiance. I’ve never been in a Lowes before and I know Michael says it’s better than Home Depot for an aesthetic perspective on choices.
We came across a bunch of planters that were our style; brown that matched our deck and winter proof! They were also on sale! Anything with a sale price, Mikey is all over it.
One thing lead to another and there I am choosing plants to go with these planters. What to choose is a hard decision. I loved the height so why not add more height with some tall plants. Prancing around like a kid in a candy shop. Palm trees were the choice. Mikey was worried it was going to be to high. I told him “Honey, let the woman make the decision here!”
We came home with our planters and plants and all I needed was the soil. I like to mix soils up a bit. Whatever you do, never use soil from your yard, its too hard and full of weeds. It will dry out and most annuals and tropical need loose loamy soil. Find a good potting mix for planters. Also this allows water to absorb or run through if gets to water logged.
I came across two types. Unfortunately potting soil is not cheap but it is far better for achieving healthier plants. My goal is to bring in the palm trees in for the winter. I wanted something that was good for the plants. The one bag was the basic planter soil and the other was more expensive version that retains water better. To be honest, the expensive one contained finely grounded up mulch. I might have bought some fine mulch instead, it would have been cheaper. I also bought a couple of bags of triple mix with contains peat, mulch and organic materials.
When you buy tropical plants, trees, or shrubs etc, notice the little hard blue, green or white balls on top of the soil. Those are slow release fertilizer, it takes about a year to dissolve. So don’t fertilize your plants. It already comes fertilized for the year. However, annuals are a different story.
Tips for Annuals and Fertilizer
To achieve the maximum bloom for annuals, get a fertilizer that that is high with phosphorus for example, 10-20-10. The first number is nitrogen, it encourages leaf growth and green. The second is phosphorus which helps promote blooming and root growth. Finally, the last number is for potassium which is prefect for the fall since it helps the immune system for over wintering plants such as your lawn etc.
Planting is messy, so get your gloves out! I didn’t know much about the planters we had bought but the had a tray inside them that can be flipped either way. We were about to weigh them down with a brick. We found the instructions and were in for a surprise.
Michael and I notice that the planters we bought were actually self water planters! We didn’t even give it much thought. So this is how it works.
Self Watering Planters
The base is filled with water, I originally was going to add bricks to give the planter a bit of weight but no need to with the water filling up half way. There is a tray that sits mid way in the planter. there is a hole on the side if the planter fill up with to much water. This allows it to drain when the water hits a certain height inside. The tray sits slightly in the water allowing the plant to absorb water when it needs it. This was going to save a lot of water for the summer. I was kinda concerned that we would have to wrestle with the hose all summer.
After I was finished, Mikey and I just love the way the palm trees soften the deck corners. It added ambiance, the height is perfect and it could almost be a care free summer. Feels like we are in the tropical weather with being at home here in South Western, Ontario.
Winterizing of the Tropical Planters
Unfortunately we have a short summer, just three months. By the end of August, we need to prepare these palms for the house. Like most plants, they will go through shock of lack of light once you bring them in. So we have to start putting our palms in the shade early. Also we will have to spray for bugs that have made their home in the soil! I like to use a solution of water and Murphy’s soap oil, the stuff you buy in the furniture cleaning isle at the grocery store. It is 99% organic. Give the plants a few sprays through the week and the bugs will move on out.
Let’s not rush summer away by thinking too much of the winter. Sit back, grab a martini and relax.