Fall and Winter Containers

Fall and Winter Containers

Part of Ep. 1401 Pot It!

In Green Bay, Jan Wos shows how to create wonderful container gardens for fall and winter. His motto is, "If it doesn't move, plant it." Wos has personally filled a grand piano, gold bags and suitcases with riots of plants. In this segment he tones it down a notch with more practical planting containers.

Premiere date: Mar 04, 2006

TRANSCRIPT+
Wisc Gardener Transcript: 

Shelley:
No container gardening program is complete without looking at containers for fall and winter. We're at Mayflower Greenhouse in Green Bay. And I'm with the owner, Jan Wos. The first thing we're going to do is plant a fall container in this beautiful antique cream separator. And believe it or not, into this rather small container we're going to put eight enormous plants. My first question, Jan, how are we going to do that?

Jan:
Very simple, I'll show you a little bit later. We already prepared some plants in a container. We're using plants that no one in a garden center would even look at because it's not straight, it's crooked. If you're paying, you want it perfect. We use it because if we put it here it will hang over the edge of the pot and will give us lots more mileage.

Shelley:
I think of fall containers as very dead, usually dreary. This is beautiful already.

Jan:
Everyone kind of associates fall with something dreary and nothing really exciting. So many colors you can choose from. Look at, for instance, this beautiful mum. It is unreal. If we would use it as a whole, it would not look right. It's too big. We already cut it in half and here you go. We will use this half to plant it. It looks perfect, here you go. This is another trick that we did. What we did was, using this very sophisticated tool we just simply butcher this plant.

Shelley:
You're really hacking the roots back a lot.

Jan:
This way, you can stick as many plants as you want into your container. The only thing is that, at first, you have to water more often because...

Shelley:
They're in shock! But it won't kill them?

Jan:
Oh no, absolutely not. And we can finish with one more ivy plant to kind of give you a better look. Of course, we should fill all gaps with soil, but we'll do it later. Here you go, we're basically done. This is the final product.

Shelley:
Let's talk a little design and selection. These are all cold hardy plants?

Jan:
The colder it will get, the better they will look. For instance, kale cabbage can last even up to the beginning of February. This is what our clients are telling us. Of course, this is also very hardy. We keep it outside till mid-December and it's doing just fine. Of course, grass will fizzle out later, but even this dead grass gives different dimensions to your plant. Ivy is quite tough. They take a really good frost before they will die. In fact, some perennials, like Baltic Ivy you can use for that purpose. Of course, the cooler it gets, the more color...

Shelley:
The more color for the cabbage and kales. You've also got some other pots over here. Again, I've noticed beautiful choices, but you've got some hardy perennials in some of them like the rudbekia here, and the aster. I'm wondering, as a frugal gardener, if I dug a hole in my garden, when this is done as a container, even in December could I pop out these hardy perennials and pop them in the ground?

Jan:
Oh yes, you don't want it to go to waste, plant it. Mulch it to protect against freezing and frosting. This is what kills your plant most of the time. They'll be just fine next year. Of course, tender plants, like coleus, or the grasses, if you manage to grab it before the frost, you can store it in the house, grow lights or a sunroom, just do not over water it, that’s the most common mistake.

Shelley:
I can use them all again. Well, talking about over wintering things let's look at the containers you've done for winter. They're great.

Jan:
Sure, let's go.

Shelley:
Here you took another antique cream separator. You've changed it completely, with different plants different personality.

Jan:
We planted a pot in this separator for different season, different colors. We used artichokes, we used yarrow and clippings from evergreen shrubs. Can you hand me this pot, please? This is what we did, planted it in the soil. This way you keep the plants the way you want. Also, when you water it, it stays like concrete.

Shelley:
You've frozen it solid with the water?

Jan:
Exactly, so no winter wind will take it apart. That's no problem.

Shelley:
The weight will keep the pot from tipping over.

Jan:
This is a good way to protect your expensive pots against cracking at winter.
Shelley:
If you planted the soil directly in there it's going to expand and contract and you've ruined your pot. That's a great way to keep nice pots outside. Then you've got some more traditional winter arrangements. This is a beautiful wreath. I love the simplicity of it.

Jan:
It's very simple, just yarrow and pine cones and a beautiful red ribbon.

Shelley:
Look at that burgundy, I really like that. The one next to this is a totally different color scheme. This is such a bright, cheery wreath, and you've added something that I've never thought of trying, dried peonies.

Jan:
Very simple, just simply hang them upside down in a dark, drafty space. This way, they'll retain their color.

Shelley:
Pick them before they're fully open in the summer.

Jan:
And artemisia, and here you go.

Shelley:
A lot of them I think of as being dried easily but the peonies are a wonderful addition.

Jan:
Sounds impossible, but very simple to do.

Shelley:
I'll believe you then. You've got them again here in this one, dried peonies. You took an old sled, and this looks fantastic.

Jan:
Of course, a gardener's Christmas, you have to have it.

Shelley:
And you've got some antique tools hanging here. And again, the evergreens and the raffia.

Jan:
Raffia that you use in gardening as well so this is the way it looks.

Shelley:
Wouldn't that look welcoming outside a front door. You've given me some great ideas, thank you. Thank you very much.

Shelley:
I learn something new every time I visit Jan. This time, I learned that you can use anything absolutely anything as a container. For more information, check out our Web site: wpt.org/garden I'm Shelley Ryan. As always, thanks for watching the "Wisconsin Gardener."

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