Sunday, October 5, 2008

Oh, Grow Up!

When space is at a premium, think about gardening vertically. Even if you have plenty of room, using this technique offers depth and dimension to a container garden. Here's a climber that I love: Mandevilla. I grow it every year without fail--I've talked about it before in an earlier post. This spring, I bought a new trellis (shown below) from Smith and Hawken. It is extremely sturdy and even the strong winds that we got from a couple of the tropical storms this summer didn't blow it over. It provides great support for all types of climbers. I've seen some people plant mandevilla at the base of their mailbox and let it climb up and around it and I have a neighbor that has let one climb up her front stair rail.

Mandevilla is a tropical but it appears in garden centers here around mid-May. If you work this into your gardening plan next year, don't get all in a hurry to plant it too early because overnight temperatures need to consistently be at or above 55F otherwise it may never have a chance. So if you do buy early, keep it indoors for a while.

For whatever reason, my mandevilla was slow to climb this year. Although it was producing plenty of blooms, it didn't really start to take off until mid-August. That was not the case for my friend Chris who lives in Pennsylvania so I have no idea what to attribute it to. Nevertheless, it is looking great and I fully expect it to last until frost.

Mandevilla can be overwintered inside, which I have never done because I have nowhere to put it. But if you try it, be sure to spray it thoroughly with insecticidal soap so that you get to all the bugs living in the nooks and crannies. Then keep it in a room that has a window so there is light exposure. Chris uses her laundry room. As sad is it will start to look throughout the winter, I have it on good authority that it will bounce back when spring returns.

So if you're short on space, my suggestion would be to try growing up.


Buddy Garden said...

Thanks for writing about the Mandevilla. I only have a little garden space like you do and I'm definitely going to try this next year. Just wondering, how big was the plant when you first bought it?

Buddy Garden said...

Never mind I just found the picture in your previous post. It grew so big just in one season? wow!

Miriam said...

Louise: Thanks for writing. I know, can you believe it? That earlier post was the same exact plant! Last year, I had a mandevilla that worked itself completely around my other trellis and when it decided it needed more room, it made its way over to our downspout and started climbing that! Definitely give it a try next year and let me know how it goes.--Miriam

Gardens by T said...

Hi Miriam
I'm glad I came across your blog. Although I have regular garden beds, I love gardening in containers also. Mandevilla is a beautiful vine and I have successfully overwintered it a couple of times. In this case the definition of success was, the plant did not die. It took forever to get the mandevilla going again and it never bloomed very well.
I'm enjoying reading your posts!