You have to give credit where credit is due. Juggling between writing, photography, and her container gardens, Kerry Michaels certainly delivers. Her outstanding Container Gardening Guide is an inspiration to thousands and thousands of gardeners worldwide.
Not only does she deliver superb advice and directions, but she hands it to us in a very real and comfortable fashion....one from which beginners and old pros can benefit.
Not only has Kerry written for Discovery Channel, A&E, Weekly Reader, Disney and Sesame Workshop she's worked on The Twentieth Century with Mike Wallace and the award winning documentary, River of Steel.
Now we get to ask a few questions and glean from her wisdom. What An Honor!!
1. Our readers realize that there are numerous methods of gardening that are available, tell us what drew you to container gardening and why you've kept it up for so many years.
I love container gardening because the options are limitless. Every growing season I try to do new combinations and try new plants out. This past summer I concentrated on growing edibles in containers. I got a portable greenhouse on Craig's list, so next summer I'm going to start as many plants as I can from seed.
2. With such a diverse career in writing, photography, and keeping up with a famous blog, what is your motivation to keep container gardening?
I don't think I would stop container gardening no matter what. It is endlessly interesting and satisfying to me. I get a little sick of it by the end of the summer--all that watering--but just when I start to get container fatigue, the first frost hits and I have a few months to get revved up again. By spring I'm like a little kid and just can't wait until it's planting time and I can go out and play in the dirt. Container Garden Pots
3. Can you share with us some of your favorite, or in your opinion, under-rated, container garden choices?
I like using perennials in containers - heucheras of all kinds - lambs ear, even hostas. I also love passion flower. This summer I grew Mexican heather for the first time and loved it. It has even survived a couple of serious frosts, beautifully. I'll stop now because I could go on for pages - there are so many plants that I'm over the moon about.
4. Living in the state of Maine since 2001, can you tell our readers some of the odd growing conditions that you face? Are there any conditions that you've never been able to conquer?
Living in Maine is all about having a short growing season. You have to get your tomatoes started and all your veggies going early so you don't miss the boat of hot enough weather. There can also be tons of rain and fog - not great conditions for vegetables. That said, I wouldn't trade it for anyplace in the world. And it's one of the best things about container gardening - you can move your plants around - I roll mine in and out of the garage to extend my growing season on both ends.
5. With the growing awareness of pesticide, etc. would you recommend individuals to grow their own produce in containers?
I grow lots of veggies and herbs in containers. I'm not a big fan of weeding so it suits me. I do all of my gardening organically - even for plants I'm not going to eat. I just feel better about using organic products. I've also read some pretty persuasive arguments that organic produce is better nutritionally - this point is still arguable, but I'm betting that in time it will be proven.
6. What, in your opinion, would be the easiest way for beginners to find inspiration for their next container garden project?
I find the best inspiration for container gardens is going to the nursery or looking at pictures. There are so many imaginative and creative containers out there that it is great to see what other people are doing and get ideas for plant combinations. My best advice is to garden how you live. Realistically assess how much time and money you want to spend and then figure out what you want to plant. That and really know how much sun an area gets before you choose your plant. Before You Start
There you have it. Kerry can provide you with the tools you need to make wonderful container gardens. Use her knowledge and advice, and the rest is up to you!
We want to send our sincere thanks to Kerry Michaels for granting us this interview. Please take some time and check out Kerry's Container Gardening Guide Blog and Forum While you're there, subscribe to her Free Container Gardening Newsletter! I get it, and it's awesome!!