Friday, May 25, 2012

Mom's Gift

My mother's birthday usually falls a week before Mother's Day. There is always a quandary over what to get her. We both share a love of flowers. One year I found these lovely double-tiered planter boxes, and decided I could make planter boxes just as nice as the ones that were sold by the nurseries. Not only that, I used some interesting plants, and included the fertilizer AND the soil moist. Usually we have to add those to our planter boxes after the fact! Mom loved them so much, that every year she returns the pots, and has me make new ones for her birthday. Now, this doesn't make it any easier, because there is some expectation for finding new and interesting plants. I often end up driving to several nurseries trying to find something interesting. This year I only had to make four trips to three nurseries, so it wasn't too bad. The big score was actually the Mother's Day hanging basket. You can see it in the picture with the red cherry tomatoes. It was "Tumbling Tom", a cherry tomato that's especially hybridized for hanging baskets. Now, my favorite cherry tomato ever is "Sweet 100's" BY FAR. I think it's the sweetest and best producing cherry tomato ever, and it's widely available at most nurseries, but this one is obviously a great producer for the hanging basket only crowd. Mom and her DH were quite please. It was a huge hit! I also bought her a Passion flower to plant in the ground. I put that in the top of the pot last year, but it quickly out-grew the planter, so I skipped putting it in the pot. It was a "Super exciting!" on the scale of unusual and new, so I thought it deserved a repeat.
 I rarely go with a potted plant the way it comes from the store. I almost always pot it in a larger pot, especially the hanging baskets. They tend to come root-bound. I mix a store brand potting soil with Osmocote. It's a good quality time-released fertilizer. I then add Soil Moist. It's a great product for holding additional moisture in the soil, especially helpful for container plantings. Blending the potting soil, the Soil Moist and the Osmocote together in the recommended proportions I put the hanging plants in larger pots. This is usually a two-person process in order to handle the plant as gently as possible. 
And here is my creation for my mother. Both pots have spikes for a bit of height. The left pot has gerbera daisies just because we enjoy them. The bottom has three peach verbenas. They will spread and be blooming like crazy soon enough. The green and white hypoestes are in the bottom of both pots. I love them for fillers. They remind me of tiny caladiums. The right pot has fiery pink geraniums. I confess those were a color purchase. I just couldn't resist the cheerful spring pick-up and I knew my mom could use it as well. The bottom were the most colorful miniature petunias called "Million Bells". They are such prolific bloomers, and should give color all summer long.