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Mastering Your Spring Planters
By Amanda Whatley Owen
web posted March 29, 2018
GARDENING -  This week so many folks around our area are focusing on cleaning their home, and preparing for guests to arrive.  They will be enjoying another wonderful spring break watching golf and hosting festivities at their home.....or they may be packing for Florida for the week.  If you are one of those who enjoy accommodating guests and hosting gatherings, then this is for you!
This week, with all the traffic coming through your front door, and because so much time is spent on our porches and decks, I wanted to share just a few simple ideas to help spice up those areas with flowers and décor.
The main entrance to your home is always a high priority area because it's the first thing guests see when they come to your home.  Instead of just hanging your ferns up and calling it a day, what about a creative planter at the door?
I love the rustic look of having a whiskey barrel at my front door with some brightly colored plants such as geraniums, or patio Mandevilla.  I have even used a tropical Ti plant before to add a unique touch to a planter. For a more elegant, classy, look some choose urns with a touch of color or even just a little greenery.  This is also the perfect week to use an azalea in your planters.  Nothing says, "Welcome Spring", more than a pink Encore Azalea.
I would recommend keeping the entry way simple though.  You do not want to clutter your guest's eyes as they are trying to make their way to the door.
As far as the patio areas, I love using old pots. or anything I can find to use as planter. I enjoy spray painting them with funky colors and creating cool designs, then using summer annuals such as petunias, begonias, celosia, coleus, and even blue daze in these smaller funky planters.  One piece that I have at home is an old fire pit.  Be sure to create drainage holes when using some of these re-purposed planters.  Having these fun, funky pieces also creates awesome stories and conversation pieces at your spring cook out.
I always suggest grouping smaller planters together in the corners of your patio or around your grill area.  A small pot with some succulents is low maintenance, and fun to use as a centerpieces on your patio table. Fresh cut flowers can also create a fresh spring look as well.
A few "to do's" before your guests arrive…three days before they arrive use liquid miracle grow on your flowers.  This will help give them an extra boost especially with the warmer temperatures we will get.  Also, spread out a light layer of fresh mulch or pine straw.  This helps the colors in blooming plants pop even more, for you and your guest to enjoy.
I also recommend spreading out any insect killer, such as fire ant killer.  I always suggest Amdro or Ortho products, which can be found at your local garden center. These product tend to work fast.  Select products within these brands, require no watering in, which makes it easy and fast to apply.  Another great plant to use on your patio to help with mosquitoes is citronella, which can be found in the herb section of your local garden center.  Consider adding tiki torches to your larger planters.  This fun idea will help fight off pest, as well as lights up your arrangement in the evening!
I hope everyone enjoys their spring break and all the festivities to come.  Next week we will have some fun garden projects for your kids to enjoy!

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