WARDENSVILLE – Lynn Hoffmann has a soft spot for broken or damaged containers. Instead of tossing them to the side or even away, she’s discovered a useful way to incorporate them into her everyday gardening. From a broken pot to a wheelbarrow that no longer wheels, Hoffmann prides herself on finding unique ways to add plant life to any space on her farm.
“There’s no reason to toss something if it still serves a purpose,” Hoffmann said. “In just a few minutes you can brighten up your garden with recycled finds.”
While walking around Hoffmann’s farm, visitors will notice the vast array of containers scattered throughout her property. Nestled closer to her patio and back porch are her fairy garden containers, while throughout her shade garden are pops of color she’s planted in pots to avoid destruction from her newest puppy.
Container gardening has become popular over the past few gardening seasons.
“I never really thought about it before,” Hoffmann said. ” I just sort of just started doing it because I needed to divide certain plants or I wanted to add life to a certain part of my home.”
Annuals and perennials grow in Hoffmann’s pots. She also grows various vegetables and herbs.
“It’s not really about the plant itself; it’s more the container,” she said. “While it would be nice if everything could work as a container for a plant, that’s not always feasible.”
The secret in creating a perfect container garden, Hoffmann said, is to create a healthy environment for the plants in the contained pot. To do that, she recommends looking at the container itself, the soil, drainage and water needs.
“Not every single plant can be planted in a container because of their roots systems,” she explained. “Plants are used to having endless boundaries for their roots. Unless the ground has some sort of structural issue, the water will flow freely, while allowing the roots to absorb the necessary moisture they need to survive. When we plant a plant in a container, we’re limiting its space, so we have to help it find and maintain the proper balance.”
That balance includes air pocks, water retention and flow.
Depending on what organic material is used, it’s important to remember good drainage, Hoffmann said, that ensures a healthy root system.
Choose a container that is large enough to hold the plant at its most mature size. While this isn’t true for all plants, because many have shallow root systems, its a good rule of thumb to follow while picking out the perfect container.
Containers can be made from anything, Hoffman said. Examples include vintage bathtubs, watering cans, broken gardening tools to damaged chairs, musical instruments and rainboots.
“It really comes down to how creative you want to be,” she said. “The sky really is the limit on creating the perfect container garden. Its all about personal preference.”
Hoffmann clusters her container gardens in places she knows she’ll get to enjoy watching them prosper as the growing season continues.