With the change of seasons comes every gardener's urge to change out the flowers in the yard.
The approach of winter has many gardeners eyeing container gardens over in-ground plants because of their ease of care.
Whether using an old wheelbarrow, wash pot or flower pot, using a planter makes garden upkeep minimal.
The National Garden Asso-ciation, the nonprofit organization that provides market research services to the lawn and garden industry, says that container gardening has reached more than 25 million participating households over recent years.
According to the association's Web site, "flower-filled containers are perfect for the modern time- and space-strapped gardener. They add color to patios, decks and other areas where flower beds just aren't possible. With new varieties introduced each year, the plant choices are endless, plus the expanding array of self-watering pots makes it easier than ever to create colorful, lush container gardens."
For fall and winter container gardens, choosing appropriate plants is easy. As with all container gardening, it's necessary to first select the plants that will be combined.
Be sure to select a variety of plants that offer different textures for added interest.
Better Homes and Gardens offers a number of fall container garden "recipes" on its Web site. Among them is one that combines zinnias, pansies, rosemary and celosia. Another suggests a combination of aster, flowering kale and a licorice plant, which has a silver-colored foliage.
"Frost-tolerant flowering kale is a perfect choice for adding color and texture to late-season containers," writes an editor of the site. "Try a handful of varieties to create a bold look."
Container gardens can be as unique as their plant combinations. An unusual container can also add a splash of interest. For instance, an old, cracked birdbath might serve as a focal point, just as a candle stake inserted into the pot might add an artistic element to the container. A well-placed container or two can make a statement at the entrance of any home.
As fall begins to fade to winter in the coming weeks -- the first day of winter is Dec. 21 -- the beauty of a garden doesn't have to fade. Careful planting and placing of container gardens can bring cheer throughout the doldrums of winter.
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