Before you plant your Spring window boxes, containers or street-side tree gardens, please read this! Ellen Abdow, the talented owner of Perennial Gardens, is offering her 5 top tips for a successful flower garden.
As a featured speaker at two City Garden Ideas workshops, she famously introduced the phrase ‘Thriller, filler and spiller,’ the three flower components for a winning container, to the audience. Watch Ellen in this YouTube video from the 2012 CGI workshop.
Here are her 5 top tips:
Tip 1. Look, listen and learn from all the gardeners that have come before you and the gardens all around you. Indulge in some good books. I always buy the ones with the most pictures. (Janine likes The Well-Tended Perennial Garden). Subscribe to magazines and gardening blogs to learn about the latest trends and tricks of the trade. Go on garden tours in the city, attend the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days garden tours. See what you like in other peoples gardens, copy, and make it your own. Mass Horticultural Society, New England Wildflower Society and the Arnold Arboretum all have excellent lectures and courses throughout the year jam packed with great information.
Tip 2. Be honest: Make an accurate evaluation of sun vs. shade, and plant what’s best geared for those light conditions. There are so many interesting cultivars of plants for any light conditions. Read the labels, ask your local garden center for advice and guidance, and plant accordingly.
Tip 3. Food and water: Proper soil and nutrition grows healthy plants. Build a solid foundation and plants will grow easily. Take the time to evaluate your soil and add organic matter to create nutrient rich growing environments. Invest in good potting soil for hanging baskets and potted plants that drains quickly found at your local garden center. Water regularly, not too much, and not too little. Ask for expert advice, and use it!
Tip 4. Change your mind: If you don’t like the way your planting looks, change it out. Try something new. A garden is never finished. Be willing to take chances. Have fun, relax, and grow what makes your heart go pitter patter.
Tip 5. Use every inch of space you have: Stuff every centimeter of your space with plants. Mount shelves on the walls, hang baskets off the railings, try vertical gardening. You can grow almost anything in a pot, just remember that a plant in a container is totally dependent on you for water and food.
Ellen started her business in 1993 and she and her team actively design and install gardens in Boston and out in the suburbs. To learn more about Ellen and Perennial Gardens, visit www.perennialgardens.net.
By the way, that’s my tree garden 🙂 in front of the Perennial Garden truck. Happy planting!
Posted in Boston Gardens, Container Gardens, Expert Advice, Landscape Designing, Recommendations, Spring Beauty, Sunlight, Window Boxes
Tagged 5 Top Gardening Tips, container gardens, Ellen Abdow, Expert Advice, Gardening Basics, Perennial Gardens, Small space gardening, Window Boxes
It’s almost time for the Boston Flower & Garden Show! I must admit I get so excited when the show opens. It’s like going to Oz. First it’s that lovely, earthy smell of mulch as you walk through the doors. Then the vivid carpets of color from flowers in full bloom bunched close, overflowing from pots, arranged neatly. Somewhere close by water is splashing from a fountain or waterfall. And the people are abuzz – walking, talking, oohing, aahhing and yes, shopping. The show always delivers inspiration and gets me all jazzed with new ideas for my own garden.
The Boston Flower Show returns to the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston this week! It opens to the winter-weary public on Wednesday, March 13 and runs through Sunday, March 17, 2013.
This year’s theme is ‘Seeds of Change’ and will showcase new plants, methods and materials to increase the beauty, bounty and the ecological friendliness of gardens and outdoor spaces.
Since I’m a member of the Garden Writers of America, I plan to visit the show on March 12th during the Media tour. I’ll write a ‘first look’ blog post with photos later that day. Just for City Garden Ideas readers like you!
Tickets to the show are $20 for adults and $10 for children. To buy tickets, click here.
At the May 5th City Garden Ideas workshop, Ellen Abdow, the owner of Perennial Gardens, created a container garden before our eyes.
Now you can see it too… Click to watch and be inspired: http://youtu.be/snZwENQ7u1o.
Ellen chose a fiberglass pot and these plants to create the container garden:
- a purple calla lily in the center as her tall “thriller”
- begonias and impatiens to provide a bushy middle as the “filler”
- and healthy ivy to trail down the pot as her “spiller.”
Ellen generously offered the container garden as a raffle item at the end of the workshop. Congratulations to Liz K. who won the container and provided the picture above.
Enjoy your garden!
Posted in City Garden Ideas Workshops, Container Gardens, Expert Advice, Flowers and Plants, Lectures, Window Boxes, Workshops and Seminars
Tagged cold weather perennials, container gardens, Ellen Abdow, Expert Advice, Gardening Basics, Gardening Workshop, Window Boxes
Come join us this Saturday, May 5th for two hours of gardening inspiration!
We’ll meet at 10am at 66 Marlborough Street in Boston. There will be a bunch of new and avid gardeners gathered in the auditorium of the First Church in Boston.
Come hear Ellen Abdow, the talented owner of Perennial Gardens. She’ll share her insights and experiences about planting in urban environments. She’ll also create a fabulous container garden in front of our eyes! A demonstration not to be missed!
Tom Smarr from The Garden Concierge will inspire us with the basics – tools, soil and plants for every season. He’ll also talk about the hottest trend in gardening these days – vertical gardening. Here in the city we have plenty of walls – alleys, roof decks, patios. Perhaps “going vertical” is something new to try…
Don’t miss this opportunity to be inspired! Come discover the secrets to maintaining a beautiful and hardy flower garden – in whatever space you have!
Cost is $25. Tickets available at the door.
For more information, go to http://citygardening.eventbrite.com. Or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope to see you on Saturday!
Posted in City Garden Ideas Workshops, Classes, Expert Advice, Flowers and Plants, Lectures, Workshops and Seminars
Tagged City Garden Ideas, City gardening, Ellen Abdow, Expert Advice, Flower Design, Gardening Basics, Gardening Workshop, Small space gardening, urban gardening
Come get great advice and a dose of inspiration to make this year’s flower garden your best yet!
Join us Saturday, May 5th from 10am to noon for a lively, information-rich workshop called “Gardening Experts Speak! Tips for a Successful City Garden.”
This second annual City Garden Ideas event will be held in the auditorium of First Church in Boston, 66 Marlborough Street, at the corner of Berkeley and Marlborough.
Our featured speakers are talented, professional horticulturalists: Ellen Abdow, owner of Perennial Gardens, and Tom Smarr, The Garden Concierge and former Superintendent of Horticulture at the Rose Kennedy Greenway. What can you expect? Plenty!
Ellen will create a beautiful container garden right before your eyes. She’ll share gardening wisdom and offer insights into the hottest trends. Tom will offer up gardening basics on tools, soil, sun and choosing plants that thrive in every season. He’ll also talk about vertical gardening. That’s when blooms go up and up.
Register at http://citygardening.eventbrite.com. The cost is just $25! There will be plenty of time for questions and answers, loads of handouts and door prizes! This event is not to be missed!
If you have questions, call 617-267-6500 or email me at email@example.com. Hope to see you there!
Posted in City Garden Ideas Workshops, Classes, Expert Advice, Flowers and Plants, Lectures, Recommendations, Uncategorized, Window Boxes, Workshops and Seminars
Tagged City Garden Ideas, container gardens, Ellen Abdow, Expert, Expert Advice, Favorite Garden Flowers, Gardening Basics, Gardening Workshop, Perennial Gardens, Rose Kennedy Greenway, Small space gardening, The Garden Concierge, Tom Smarr, Window Boxes