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VIDEO: Pocket Planting for Color in Any Season
Posted on : June 7, 2018

In this video, Beverly is joined by Angela Chandler from The Garden Academy. Angela helped us with pocket planting for color in any season!

[Beverly] Hi, I’m Beverly Welch. We’re here at the Arbor Gate today in Tomball, Texas with Angela Chandler of The Garden Academy. –

[Angela] Good morning, Beverly.

– Hello, Angela. So, pocket planting.

– Yes.

– You know, everyone gets so focused on herbs, and the evergreens, the perennials. You know, it’s always nice to leave those little pockets of that annual color. It’s hard to beat.

– It is hard to beat, and, you know, everybody needs a little pop of something all the time. And our evergreens, we rely on them for that beautiful green, textural coverage that we have in the landscape. And just like these gorgeous plants here, there’s no reason that we can’t put a little color in front of them, especially something complementary.

– Right, right. And it’s so easy to do and, you know, it’s daunting to think that you have to do flats and flats and flats of annual color when oftentimes these big bursts of color in small pockets can almost make a greater impact.

– They really can, because it’s close together, and it’s a lot of intense color.

– Right. How do we go about this?

– Well, the reason I started pocket planting is that I don’t really like to dig in clay gumbo, and I don’t think anybody does. Now, your beds of course are this beautiful soil, but not all of us are quite there yet, and so pocket planting does two things. One, it gets that little burst of color or it gets a whole flat of veggies quickly into your garden, but the other thing it does is it’s part of that top-down continual soil improvement.

Every time you plant a pocket, you’re putting in all of the good things, and over time the more you do this every season year by year, it slowly improves your soils.

– You know, and people really don’t think about that, that through the rains, through a season, you do lose a certain amount of nutrition, and you do lose a certain amount of topsoil especially after events like Harvey.

– That’s exactly right. So this is a good way to do that, and because it’s spread out over time, it’s easier on the labor, and it’s also easier on your pocketbook. It’s just a little bit all the time.

– And I love that whole top-down concept, the feeding.

– Yeah, it’s really, really great. It’s part of the no-till concept of gardening, and it lets nature do the work. All of the earthworms and all of the little things in nature are going to start blending all this for us. And I like say, slowly but surely our soil gets better and better, and it’s starting to get warm and so this is a nice way to not have to get out and do really heavy work and still have a lot of impact.

– Right, right. An hour and you’re done.

– Oh, yeah, at most.

– Or less. So, we’ve got an area here and I know one concern with pocket planting is already the roots of your established plants.

– That’s right. And so we’re going to stay very shallow. We’re not going to bother those roots at all. So this is a really good way to work into your existing landscape. So, no matter what kind of soil profile we have, all we’re going to do is just we’re not going to dig a hole. We’re going to scrape out a shallow bowl. It doesn’t really have to be terribly deep at all, and it can really just be deep enough to act like a little well.

– Now, if they themselves don’t have the luxury of this…- Beautiful soil.

– …soil on top, they can just literally take one bag of soil and just put it in this spot, right?

– Yes, they sure can. Just needs to be low and wide enough, not a big tall cone, because a big tall cone, when you water when it rains, it’s going to beat that down and expose the roots. We want a big, sort of soft depression.

– So we’re actually just doing a bowl…- We are.

– …not a hole.

– Yep, just a bowl, not a hole. And you can get away with doing this in the worst clay gumbo, okay?

– And so now we’re going to take of course our Arbor Gate blend.

– We’re going to add a square foot, so we want about a cup in here. And, we know that the soil we’re going to put on top is Arbor Gate Soil Complete, and we’re just going to literally dump this whole bag into this hole.

– Is that enough?

– I think we’ll do the whole thing.

– You want to do the whole one?

– Yeah…

– Okay, perfect.

– …because we have a big flat. Okay. So now, like I said, what we want is just this kind of flat mound. Right on top of our soil is fine. Even if you have just the worst soil and you’re just starting to prep your beds, this is a good way to do it. And once we have that to a good depth, then we start planting.

– Okay. Now, I’ve chosen this one, these great [inaudible] I love these tiny petunias, and of course I had to pick… – Darker.

– …dark purple to go in front of our lime green.

– It’s going to be gorgeous.

– These guys stay about this high, but they’re going to get about 18, 20 inches wide. They’ll crawl through the rocks. They’ll crawl up under here. I love them.

– Yeah, they cascade beautifully. So, we’re going to set these out and decide where we want them first so that I’m sure I kind of like my spacing. I think five.

– That looks great.

– I think five and we’re…six and we’re good to go.

– Okay, perfect.

– Okay, all right. Let’s get these in.

– All right. So we’re just going to dig our hole.

– And look how easy this is.

– I know.

– No tools now.

– Don’t you love it?

– [crosstalk[ just with our hands.

– And I’m going to throw another little extra.

– That’ll work.

– Pop it there.

– Stir it around. Settle them in place.

– Wow, this is so fast.

– It just makes gardening easier and quicker. You don’t have to worry about tilling everything in. we don’t kill any earth worms.

– Well, and then, like you said, we’re just adding another layer…- We are.

– …of organic matter, material food, soil.

– And every time we do this, this bed gets a little better for it.

– All right, that was fast.

– And once we mulch, it’s going to look just the same as the rest of the garden. These are off to a great start, and that was, what, 15 minutes of our time.

– At the most. But what great fun.

– It is fun.

– Thank you, Angela.

– Thank you, Beverly.

Written by The Arbor Gate
The Arbor Gate staff enjoys contributing to the blog along with our talented writers. As much as we enjoy contributing to this blog, we are the first to admit that we’re much better with a shovel than a keyboard!

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