Randalls Island Park Alliance

Ask A Gardener

In Ask a Gardener on May 11, 2012 at 10:13 am

By Dianne Crary

 QUESTION:  Can containers create a “garden”?
How much should I water my containers?  How much is enough?

ANSWER:  Plants in containers can add beauty in small areas, on terraces or even indoors.  They brighten up spaces, can add architectural interest, and act as mini gardens.  Often larger plants are placed in the center surrounded by smaller ones.

If plants around the edge of the container are spilling over the edge, they add softness to the total arrangement and can even hide ugly containers.

Containers are used at Randall’s Island to enhance the entrance to Icahn Stadium, as well as other areas.  The containers should have holes in the bottom; to allow any excess water to drain out, so that the roots will not rot and give space for air (oxygen) to enter the soil enabling the roots to breath.

When watering, one should water just to the point that some water drains out of the bottom of the pot.  Too much watering leaches out the nutrients that are held in the soil.  Until last week, there had been very little rain and there is usually a good breeze on Randall’s Island to dry out the soil.

When checking the containers on Monday morning, one could see that the containers desperately needed water.  The containers were watered, but some containers appeared to be very dry, because no water was draining out.  More water was added, but suddenly the pots overflowed and the plants were floating.  The holes at the bottom must have become clogged.

This situation called for an emergency solution.  We drilled holes in the sides of the plastic terra cotta pots.  An unexpected and interesting fountain was created.

If you have a question send it to:  phyllis.odessey@parks.nyc.gov

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