Mid-June shout out and product review

I’m jumping the gun on Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day but I can’t let a week like this one go by without crowing about Blithewold’s gardens — especially the Rose and North Gardens. Actually, I’ll let them speak for themselves. They have much more to say than I can show in these pictures so I really hope, if you’re within walking, biking, driving, flying distance of Blithewold you’ll swing by to enjoy the full huzzah of their textures, colors, and scents in person.

North Garden and Allium 'Pinball Wizard'Allium shubertii and sweet william (Dianthus barbatus 'Holborn Glory' in the Rose GardenBeach rose (Rosa rugosa)Chestnut rose, climbing hydrangea and Rosa 'Lilian Austin' in the Rose Garden

I also can’t help crowing that, after planting another 400-500 tender perennials and annuals this week, we are done*! (*Of course, no garden is ever “done” and we still have a few plants waiting to go in the ground and a lot still to plant in containers.) And I’m finally ready to share our first impressions of a new-to-us product: Root Pouch. (Our opinions were unsolicited – we purchased our stash.)

Root Pouch assortment

This kind of fiber container seems to be all the rage right now and for good reason — they are an eco-friendly alternative to plastic and peat nursery pots and because they’re breathable, they promote healthy root growth. These particular containers are made from #1 recyclable plastic water and soda bottles and come in a range of sizes and thicknesses that will break down at different rates. The bigger sizes have handles and make kicky totes and according to the company, all are washable. So far we used the “propagation black” pouches (meant to last 12-15 months) to pot dahlias, crocosmia, and gladiolas. In the North Garden we left the glads and dahlias in their pouches when we planted them. We cut the top few inches off the bags and made sure they were fully buried so that the fabric wouldn’t wick moisture. Time will tell and I’ll be sure to post a follow up in the fall when we pop them out of the ground again. We took the Rose Garden dahlias out of their pouches when we planted them. It was a little tough getting them out of the bags but their roots looked good – they had air-pruned rather than circled. The bonus is, we’ll be able to reuse those bags. We’re saving the bigger, sturdier bags for potting up stock plants in the fall. Root Pouches are on the expensive side but in the long run, their impact on the environment looks like it will cost much less than manufacturing endless plastic or harvesting more peat. That’s worth every penny. We also love how little room the folded pouches take up. I’ll spare you a picture of teetering towers and shelves full of plastic containers… We all know what that looks like. 

Planting glads potted in a Root PouchDahlia placed for planting in the Rose Garden

Have you tried Root Pouches or any other alternative to plastic and peat? What are your impressions?