I stopped by Empowering Gardens yesterday to get some more plants — they have lots of pansies, violas, ranunculus, hyacinths, and primroses in for your spring planters.
Here’s a trick I learned at a free container gardening workshop up at Gethsemane Gardens (a lot of the nurseries offer free workshops, check their websites for dates and registration info) — sometimes, you can stretch your budget a bit (or get a variety you like that isn’t available in smaller containers) by picking up a larger pre-planted pot, and then breaking it apart into multiple small plants.
This sweet little viola planter ($12.19) could just have been used as is, of course; it would be lovely on an Easter table (don’t forget to put something underneath to catch the water). But I wanted these violas to fill in my other planters.
Flip the group of plants out of the container (you may have to trim away some roots to get them out, or even cut away the container if they’re really overgrown), and then use a sharp knife or pruners to make some cuts in the roots — I went the easy route and just followed the indentations that were already there, quartering it, but you could cut it into more sections if you preferred.
Gently pull the sections apart, disturbing the roots as little as possible. That’s it — plant! I’d give them a little extra water for a few days, to help them recover from the trauma of having some roots severed, but as long as they have plenty of undamaged roots in each section, they should be just fine.
Side note: the hellebores that used to be in this big planter, I’ve now trimmed away any frosted bits and replanted in the garden; they should come back strong with some more leaves this spring, though probably won’t flower again until next spring. Again, a little extra water to help them with the transition — although with the rain the next few days, that shouldn’t be a problem. Spring is a great time for transplanting things!
Oh, and locals, if you’re not familiar with Empowering Gardens, Inc. in Forest Park, do check them out — they have a great mission, and the staff there are all really lovely: “Providing people who have a broad range of disabilities with meaningful, long-term career-oriented, employment opportunities in a business growing and creating excellent products for sale at competitive prices in the local market place.” They recently opened up a storefront next to their open space, with some cute Easter decor, greeting cards, and lots of houseplants. Worth a visit!