GROWING GREEN: Try trough gardening this year

Opinion Mar 17, 2015 Hamilton Mountain News

Trough gardens are a great addition to any garden. In a large garden they allow us to get up close and personal to those small, delicate plants that would otherwise get lost among their more robust companions.

Plus, trough gardens are the ideal answer to those who aren’t able or willing to maintain an “in the ground” garden. Sunny patios, porches or balconies are perfect for these small landscapes. They are easy to take care of as they are virtually maintenance-free once planted and most can be moved as the mood strikes.

While you’re waiting for spring, you might like to try your hand at making your own trough. Recipes and instructions for constructing troughs abound online or in books, but generally speaking they are composed of cement, fine peat and coarse sand, plus a binding agent to hold  the mix together.

Once the trough has cured, fill it with a gritty planting mix that drains well.

Now the fun begins — picking the right plants and arranging them in a pleasing manner. The choices are wide: alpines, miniature evergreens, hens and chicks, saxifrages, creeping thyme, echeverias, rock cress, sedums and hardy cyclamen to name just a few. The size of the trough will dictate the size and number of plants you choose. An interesting, strategically placed rock or two and a scattering of pea gravel and you can sit back and enjoy.

Hardy plants should overwinter where they sit if covered with pine boughs or move them to a sheltered spot. You could also store them in an unheated shed or garage.

If you aren’t interested in making your own trough, there are lots of choices at local garden centres, many already planted.

Either way, a new trough garden is something to look forward to once the snow melts.

Growing Green is a regular feature prepared by the  Mount Hamilton Horticultural Society (gardenontario.org/site.php/mhhs). This week’s column was written by Helen MacPherson, chair of the outreach committee.

GROWING GREEN: Try trough gardening this year

Opinion Mar 17, 2015 Hamilton Mountain News

Trough gardens are a great addition to any garden. In a large garden they allow us to get up close and personal to those small, delicate plants that would otherwise get lost among their more robust companions.

Plus, trough gardens are the ideal answer to those who aren’t able or willing to maintain an “in the ground” garden. Sunny patios, porches or balconies are perfect for these small landscapes. They are easy to take care of as they are virtually maintenance-free once planted and most can be moved as the mood strikes.

While you’re waiting for spring, you might like to try your hand at making your own trough. Recipes and instructions for constructing troughs abound online or in books, but generally speaking they are composed of cement, fine peat and coarse sand, plus a binding agent to hold  the mix together.

Once the trough has cured, fill it with a gritty planting mix that drains well.

Now the fun begins — picking the right plants and arranging them in a pleasing manner. The choices are wide: alpines, miniature evergreens, hens and chicks, saxifrages, creeping thyme, echeverias, rock cress, sedums and hardy cyclamen to name just a few. The size of the trough will dictate the size and number of plants you choose. An interesting, strategically placed rock or two and a scattering of pea gravel and you can sit back and enjoy.

Hardy plants should overwinter where they sit if covered with pine boughs or move them to a sheltered spot. You could also store them in an unheated shed or garage.

If you aren’t interested in making your own trough, there are lots of choices at local garden centres, many already planted.

Either way, a new trough garden is something to look forward to once the snow melts.

Growing Green is a regular feature prepared by the  Mount Hamilton Horticultural Society (gardenontario.org/site.php/mhhs). This week’s column was written by Helen MacPherson, chair of the outreach committee.

GROWING GREEN: Try trough gardening this year

Opinion Mar 17, 2015 Hamilton Mountain News

Trough gardens are a great addition to any garden. In a large garden they allow us to get up close and personal to those small, delicate plants that would otherwise get lost among their more robust companions.

Plus, trough gardens are the ideal answer to those who aren’t able or willing to maintain an “in the ground” garden. Sunny patios, porches or balconies are perfect for these small landscapes. They are easy to take care of as they are virtually maintenance-free once planted and most can be moved as the mood strikes.

While you’re waiting for spring, you might like to try your hand at making your own trough. Recipes and instructions for constructing troughs abound online or in books, but generally speaking they are composed of cement, fine peat and coarse sand, plus a binding agent to hold  the mix together.

Once the trough has cured, fill it with a gritty planting mix that drains well.

Now the fun begins — picking the right plants and arranging them in a pleasing manner. The choices are wide: alpines, miniature evergreens, hens and chicks, saxifrages, creeping thyme, echeverias, rock cress, sedums and hardy cyclamen to name just a few. The size of the trough will dictate the size and number of plants you choose. An interesting, strategically placed rock or two and a scattering of pea gravel and you can sit back and enjoy.

Hardy plants should overwinter where they sit if covered with pine boughs or move them to a sheltered spot. You could also store them in an unheated shed or garage.

If you aren’t interested in making your own trough, there are lots of choices at local garden centres, many already planted.

Either way, a new trough garden is something to look forward to once the snow melts.

Growing Green is a regular feature prepared by the  Mount Hamilton Horticultural Society (gardenontario.org/site.php/mhhs). This week’s column was written by Helen MacPherson, chair of the outreach committee.