Container Gardening Complete

The gardens I tend include a generous collection of containers. Over the years I’ve learned that some plants do their green thing better without competition for root space or nutrients. Containers can be mixed and matched, moved and modified, and they give the gardener the potential to change the garden presentation even mid-season. As I’ve dived into Jessica Walliser’s new book, Container Gardening Complete, my passion for container gardening has been reignited.

The nearly 300 page volume from Cool Springs Press lives up to the claim posted on the back cover, “The best, most complete book in the market for container gardening.” Walliser starts with the “Why?” of container gardening, and the reader is certain to find an applicable reason to explore container gardening as a solution to poor drainage, lousy soil, or space limitations. And what better habitat could be found for a prized plant than a decorative container?

The author presents three pillars of container gardening and guides the reader through each with an abundance of practical advice. How do I choose a container? What size should it be? Anything special about the soil?  Do I use fertilizer? How often should I water? These and other questions are answered along with a stellar collection of stunning photos.

Container Gardening Complete includes the bonus of several project ideas coupled with step-by-step instructions. Would you like a Gutter Garden, a Cedar Planter Box, or a Hypertufa Planter? The author provides parts lists and required tools for each project so the reader can judge the appropriateness for his own situation.

Walliser has done the homework for her readers on plant selection with information-packed charts listing the best choices for annuals, perennials, bulbs and tubers, tropical plants, small trees and shrubs, herbs, and vegetables. Container Gardening Complete highlights problems and pests that might affect the garden and of course, identifies the beneficial insects which work with rather than against the gardener.

I would recommend Container Gardening Complete as a starting place for those who desire to try container gardening. But I will warn you that the practice is habit forming.