By Norman Winter, ‘The Garden Guy’
Easter is just around the corner, and many will be searching for the perfect way to decorate the porch, patio or deck. In addition to traditional bunnies and colorful eggs, the season calls for floral beauty as well. An ‘Easter Garden Bowl’ is a simple and seasonal solution, which also happens to make a great gift when visiting a loved one over the holiday!
A ‘garden in a bowl’ is really as easy as a thriller, filler and spiller. A dwarf Encore® Azalea like soft coral pink Autumn Sunburst™ would make a great choice as a thriller plant, and you couldn’t select a more magical spring color. Of course, if you prefer purple, then Autumn Lilac™ would be an ideal selection. With 16 dwarf Encore® Azaleas from which to choose, there is an array of hues that perfectly suit an Easter palette.
Choose a nice piece of glazed pottery that measures at least 17- to 24-inches in diameter with a depth of 12- to 14-inches. If you’re utilizing faux pottery that’s easier to move, then you may prefer a larger size.
Use a filler at the bottom of your container if it's too tall. We used coconut husks here, but you can use pine straw, packing peanuts, empty milk jugs or soda bottles, etc. You want something light and structurally sound to give the plants a lift while also not breaking down.
Make sure your container has a drainage hole. One of the most important considerations is your soil mix. Select an organic mix that is light and airy and contains controlled release fertilizer.
Place your Encore® Azalea off-center, planting ever so slightly higher than the soil surface. Don’t worry if your Encore® is not blooming, as it will undoubtedly meet all your expectations throughout the year. Since your creation is occurring in April, choose companion plants like petunias to place in various locations around the rim. Whether you select trailing petunias or those we consider mounding, the floral partnerships you can create are almost endless.
In addition to petunias, add some light green or chartreuse from sedum, we used Lemon Coral™ sedum from Proven Winners. Then, add some fine leaf texture from one of the dazzling Southern Living® Plant Collection’s EverColor® Carex. This container will be simply sensational for months.
While we have taken the liberty of suggesting dwarf Encore® Azaleas, taller intermediate-sized selections will also excel in containers. Don’t forget your Encore® Azaleas will bloom heavily in the spring and repeat throughout the summer reaching a crescendo again in the fall. That makes for an extended season of Easter and spring colors for your porch, patio or deck.