It’s that time of year. Flowers & ornamental plants spilling out of pots. And pots spilling out of doorways. How inviting…

We recently had the great opportunity to design & plant the front outdoor containers @ The Volunteer Park Cafe. For these particular pots, we strove to present year-round interest. Evergreen and deciduous foliage was used, herbal & edible varieties, as well as plants with fall color and distinct branching for those bare winter months. There are a few key moments captured below and a step-by-step run through of how you can plant up your own pots!

Step 1: level your pots. Use pot feet, bricks, or any material that is sturdy enough to hold the weight of soil & plants (wet soil is heavy!). This helps facilitate proper drainage and upright plant growth habit.

Step 2: drill drainage holes (if needed) and add fresh potting soil. Your soil should contain properties for both water retention & drainage. Most commercial potting soil is pre-mixed and ready to go! Plant roots will drink what they can, but excess water should drain through the bottom. Soggy soil is no good.

Step 3: tickle the roots. This is my favorite step. I often imagine the plants actually exhaling as I do this, the plant will thank you! Plants can become stymied or root bound in their pot over time. Gently loosen the roots from the root ball.

Step 4: stage your plants & face them. Before you get to the planting- place them and experiment with the positioning. Have fun with color & texture encouraging the eye to move from one plant to the next.

Step 5: fill in with soil and tamp down. Fill in potting soil in & around your fresh plants as needed. No need to be gentle here folks, you want to make contact between the new soil and the plants root systems.

Step 6: water ’em in! Thoroughly. Until you see water trickling out of the bottom of the pot. Depending on the weather, I will often water again 10 minutes later. You can also stick your finger in the soil 1-2″, to make sure the soil is wet.

Step 7: pat yourself on the back! Furthermore, take care of your lower back, you may be sore the next day. Always make sure to stretch after a good day of planting!

July would like to offer Container planting workshops this year. We’d love your feedback. Let us know if this is something you would be interested in! We also offer container design & installation services to any Seattle area residence or business. Please contact with inquiries!

You can also find our weekly fresh flowers @ The Volunteer Park Cafe. The food is divine!