Magazine article Sunset

Living Bouquets in Big Pots

Magazine article Sunset

Living Bouquets in Big Pots

Article excerpt

Compared with most shopping malls in the United States, the Stanford Shopping Center in Northern California is a breath of fresh air. Walkways between stores are open to the outdoors and get plenty of sunshine and gentle breezes, so plants and flowers thrive. This is where garden designer Jackie Gray creates her magic.

Gray is an artist whose medium is plants. She combines the flower colors of annuals, bulbs, and perennials in containers and planting beds as carefully as a painter who works on canvas. Her designs are an inspiration to any gardener.

Because the plants are watered often, feeding is especially important. Gray uses a timed-release fertilizer at planting time and then a water-soluble 20-20-20 formula every six weeks or so.

The worst pests during the warm season are whiteflies, particularly around plants where air circulation is limited. To control them, Gray finds, yellow sticky cards work better than chemicals. Bacillus thuringiensis (BT) controls budworms on petunias.


"Every garden needs something bright-a little yellow, lime green, or iridescent white-to catch the eye. …

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