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My Favorite Container Garden Plants

It's been a banner summer for gardening – lots of sun, lots of rain, and the growing season started in about March, so that helps.

My beautiful urban garden is doing very well, as evidenced by the riotous profusion of foliage out on the deck. I even had to move several pots to the front stoop and even the patio to make it less crowded out there. And, while a parent should never do this, there are a couple of plants that are my favorites.

Corn in a Deck Garden

You might remember the corn I "planted" last year – i.e., the shoots I stole from a squirrel's cache in the lawn – and watched grow into large, healthy stalks that even tasseled, silked AND produced one tiny, stunted ear of feed corn. I was so proud. 

Well, since my deck garden this year was to be so much bigger (I added tomatoes, green beans and green peppers to the menagerie), I decided to plant corn on purpose. So I did – but I still counted on the squirrels to start the process for me: when the first little shoots of corn started peeking up over the grass from the squirrel caches this spring, I "stole" six of them and planted them in their very own pot. 

While only five of the little shoots made it, and they're not QUITE as big as the two stalks I had last year, they're doing very well. (Also, this year it's just known as My Corn; I didn't name it :)

In fact, in the last week they tasseled and then they started the silking stage...hopefully with FIVE stalks in contention the pollen will find its way to the 3 or 4 budding ovules. Clint said this year we might have to rent a combine to harvest all the corn. Smart-a$$. 

My First-Ever Tomato Plant

A newcomer to the gardening endeavor this year was a cherry tomato plant I bought from a "neighbor" (he lives on the parkway about ¼ mile away, so by country standards, a neighbor). It was quickly a favorite because I love tomatoes. And, how fun is it to watch them ripen and then pluck them right off the plant and gobble them down? Very, I assure you.

I think the pot the tomato plant is in doesn't drain very well (I had to have Dick over to drill holes in several of my pots this year) since the plant's leaves are yellowish. The tomatoes are doing well but the plant itself tends to look somewhat year I'll have to be sure to drill some more holes in that pot.

To date I've picked and eaten about 10 cherry tomatoes; I'll have a few more to pick tomorrow morning, I think.

Bright, Cheery Zinnia Flowers

I love things that make me smile. I'm also partial to bright colors, which make me happy – ergo the zinnia plant I have is my favorite flowering pot this year. It will definitely be a yearly addition to my garden, now that I know how lovely these cheery, colorful blooms are. 

I wasn't prepared for the sheer number of flowers this plant would produce – and the myriad of colors! Various shades of red, orange and pink flowers sprout continuously...they're so happy!

Unfortunately, bright colors attract bugs...namely, the horrible Japanese beetle. My poor, beautiful zinnia plant was one of the hardest-hit of my plants when the beetles started chomping away. Thankfully, the spray I've been using has been keeping the nasty bugs to a minimum (along with Dick & Jane's pheromone trap) so my gorgeous, poufy blooms have come back and are much, much healthier now. 

I'm even entering a photo of one of my blooms in the Crow Wing County Fair this year...hopefully the judges like it as much as I do :) Regardless, I think this print will hang on the wall.

Orange Coleus

I think part of the reason I love coleus so much is I consider it the "gardening for dummies" plant. It's a hearty, thriving addition to any garden and there's really not much you can do to mess it up...full sun, mostly's really a plant that does well just about anywhere (well, mine are, anyway). Plus, there are so many varieties and colors. 

My favorite is orange coleus (surprise, surprise), and the plants I got this year are from one of the "neighbors" so that makes them special. And, again, they're bright, colorful and happy. 

So there you have it...the update on my fun container garden.