Here's a do-it-yourself Mother's Day gift that a child can assemble with a little help from an adult. It's an English garden planter designed by Janelle Wiley, color specialist at Sherman Library and Gardens in Corona del Mar. It takes about 15 minutes to assemble and will bloom for months with proper care.
1. Fill pot three-fourths full with potting soil.
2. Plant a piece of fresh curly willow into the soil near edge of pot. Plant second piece of curly willow on opposite side.
3. Bend curly willow over the top of pot and entwine ends to form an "arbor."
4. Plant ivy near each piece of curly willow. Train strands of ivy to grow along the curly willow arbor. Allow some ivy to grow down sides of pot.
5. Plant petunias in center of pot.
6. Plant three Johnny jump-ups in a group near side of pot.
7. Plant three alyssum in a group next to Johnny jump-ups.
8. Plant nemesia near side of pot opposite petunias.
9. Plant helichrysum next to nemesia.
10. Fill gaps with potting soil and water thoroughly.
Terra-cotta pot (9-by-12 inches)
1 six-pack Johnny jump-ups (viola tricolor)
1 six-pack alyssum ('Snow Crystal')
2 4-inch-pot-size California ivy
2 4-inch-pot-size petunias ('Neon Rose Dreams')
1 4-inch-pot-size helichrysum ('White Licorice')
1 4-inch-pot-size lavender nemesia
2 strands fresh curly willow (available from a florist)
Approximate cost: $25
* Place in a sunny spot.
* Water at least twice a week, more often in hot weather.
* Pinch off spent flowers to encourage more bloom.
* Feed with liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength every two weeks.
* When Johnny jump-ups and petunias cease blooming in the fall, replace with marigolds, pentas or chrysanthemums.