Creating Great Containers

Creating Great Containers

Part of Ep. 1201 Melting Pot Pledge Special

Gardener Jan Wos shows how to choose the best container plants and turns household items into beautiful planters at the Mayflower Greenhouse in Green Bay.

Premiere date: Mar 06, 2004

TRANSCRIPT+
Wisc Gardener Transcript: 

Ryan:
We're in the middle of a very special greenhouse. This is Mayflower Greenhouse in Green Bay. I'm with owner, Jan Wos. Jan received his Masters in Floriculture from Poland.

Jan Wos:
Yes, indeed, yes.

Ryan:
And you're kind of famous in these parts for using unusual containers.

Wos:
Yeah, we kind of create our own market with the container gardening. And we try to use different and unusual types of containers. Our policy is, if it doesn't move, plant it. If it moves, plant it anyway, but make it fast.

Ryan:
Well I better start moving. I've heard you've planted some very strange things. You mentioned a golf bag.

Wos:
We planted a few golf bags, swings, chairs, kitchen sinks, suitcases, broken bird bath bases. Anything, you name it, just imagination. It's unlimited.

Ryan:
Well, I'm gonna name it. You said suitcase. I don't believe it. Make this pretty.

Wos:
Oh yeah, we will! First, you need to make drainage holes. Otherwise, there will be problems with the plants later. So, we just need to drill this suitcase. And we'll be using a high-porosity mix. It has excellent proportion between air and the water.

Ryan:
Very light soil.

Wos:
And this is very, very important. It's composed of bark, perlite, vermiculite and some other agents.

Ryan:
So use good stuff, basically.

Wos:
Absolutely. Create your container, basically, based on contrast. Use colors, use contrast, like, look at this trailing black Coleus with this beautiful chartreuse edges. Instant effect.

Ryan:
Right there, yeah, that's beautiful.

Wos:
Same with this pair. Those plants works perfectly. I don't think it would work right here because, basically--

Ryan:
They're the same, but they're beautiful.

Wos:
So, let's get going. What I like to do is first-- I like to call it, "plant it dry." You basically put your plants together and if you like it, good. And if not, well, change it. Here you have the Black Magic Colocasia. Excellent contrast with those plants. We can start putting here the black trailing Coleus.

Ryan:
So this is going to trail over the edge?

Wos:
Absolutely. Right here-- It's the newest plant on the market Silver Falls dichondra.

Ryan:
That's beautiful!

Wos:
Plant the container for full sun.

Ryan:
Okay, so everything is full sun.

Wos:
Absolutely. And right now, you have the --. Let's break this a little bit right here with this grass. Beautiful. Right away, a really nice effect.

Ryan:
So, we're also contrasting. We've got very thin upright leaves. We have broad flat leaves, and then the more delicate. Don't plant all the same thing.

Wos:
Absolutely. Otherwise, it basically will disappear. Using texture, different textures and different colors, you will make it more dramatic and they're really very, very highly visible. We need some trailing. We have the uprights, so now we need the trailing. And of course, it would be kind of nice to echo again so we will use this Purple Lady.

Ryan:
Beautiful.

Wos:
It is a really nice plant. We can put this right here for the echoing or just stick it right here and it will work, also, very nice. We add this right here. And basically, the container is done.

Ryan:
You know, what's nice, is you can rearrange. You can say, "Gee, I don't like that here" and you can move it and go, "Oh, Gee, it looks better this way." It's a good idea.

Wos:
Absolutely. If you plant it, moving around breaking the roots, and stuff like that it's a little bit too much. Here you are.

Ryan:
Here?

Wos:
Excellent. There you go. That was the finishing touch this container needed.

Ryan:
Oh good, I can get credit for this one!

Wos:
Absolutely. Right now, we can put slow-release fertilizer. It's a fertilizer that every time you water, you feed your plant. You never overdo, you never over-fertilize.

Ryan:
So a slow-release fertilizer.

Wos:
So this is a very safe, slow release fertilizer.

Ryan:
And you said full sun so I'm gonna be watering at least once a day, I assume.

Wos:
Absolutely, because this container is kind of small. If you could, use as big containers as possible.

Ryan:
So, a bigger suitcase!

Wos:
Absolutely! Of course, we slightly over-did this container. But let's say party's tomorrow, so you need an instant effect. Otherwise, either plant it a little bit farther apart or use a knife to trim down.

Ryan:
How did you end up in Wisconsin after training in Poland, by the way?

Wos:
Several years ago, I was in the exchange program. I came to Green Bay and made several good, good friends and here I am.

Ryan:
Well, I'm delighted. I have a feeling the luggage companies are too! I mean, look at this one!

Wos:
Yeah, it's a little bit different. Yes, this time, we created-- a little bit different color not as aggressive as the red one. But again, we use this beautiful trailing red Coleus. This is really wonderful. It stays blooming like that all summer. Look at this beautiful--

Ryan:
I like that.

Wos:
--with the silver. And, of course, we could not forget your favorite.

Ryan:
My "Jewels of Opar!" Well, you know Jan, you've made me look at the junk laying around my house in a whole new light. I think I have some planting to do. And if you don't mind, we're going to take a tour of some of the other beautiful containers you've done.

Wos:
Absolutely, absolutely. Good thing about container gardening is if you don't like it in one spot, move it.

Ryan:
Especially a suitcase.

Wos:
There you go!

Ryan:
Thanks.

Wos:
Thank you.

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