The Fab Blogger

I'm an ultra busy wife, teacher, doggy mom, interior design student, and aspiring domestic goddess just trying to make life as fabulous as possible.


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Happy Earth Day From My Concrete Jungle

Apr 22
The Shine Project

Happy Earth Day everyone! This week for The Shine Project we were challenged to do something for the earth, plant a tree, recycle, pick up trash; I decided to work on my “garden.” You see, I live in a townhome, with a tiny concreted courtyard. There is no grass, no earth- just concrete. Another problem: my courtyard gets very little sun. I decided to continue working on my container garden that I started a few weeks ago. Here are a few helpful tips for anyone trapped in concrete like me.

Ranunculus in Crate and Barrel Pot

Here is one of two ranunculus plants I potted. I like to make sure that I have flowers readily available for cutting. That way I can have fresh flowers in the house. These are yellow, which go with my decor, and they don’t need much sun.

miracle grow moisture control potting soil

I like to use Miracle Grow Moisture Control potting soil. It protects against under  and overwatering, as well as provides fertilizer. This way, I don’t have to continually fuss over the plants. I do fertilize them once a month with a scoopable fertilizer that goes in a water can with water. Very easy to use!

ranunculus root ball

After filling your pot about two-thirds of the way, break up the plants root ball, as shown, and then fill in the top with more potting soil.

ranunculus plant and Mr. Darcy

After the plant has been potted, water through (little doggies are optional). If you are planting a bulb plant, like tulips, ranunculus, or dahlias, apply snail and slug bait around the plant. I also lightly spray my plants for caterpillars because I know they are in the area.

drilling holes in a pot

It is essential that any pot you use has drainage holes at the bottom. For the life of me, I do not know why companies make pots meant for outside usage without them. If yours do not have holes, you will need to get out the drill and make them yourself. For this plastic pot, I used a titanium bit. For pots made out of ceramic or terra cotta, you will need a bit meant for tile and glass. Remember, the bigger the pot, the more holes you will need.

Planting dahlia bulbs

I do have one spot in my courtyard that gets enough sun for plants that need full daylight. I decided to try again at dahlias. Last year, I started them much too late, so hopefully I will get some blooms this year. For containers, low growing or dwarf dahlias are the best. Work some bone meal into the soil before putting the tuber on it’s side, and then cover with soil.

watering plants

Once again, put snail and slug bait around the perimeter of the pot. If you have a little guy like mine, make sure it is pet safe. Now dahlias can be tricky when it comes to water. It is recommended that they not be watered until they start to grow; mother nature should provide enough to get them started. However, if you live in a very dry, hot area like me in inland California, a bit of watering twice a week will be needed. After they start growing, water them heavily once or twice a week, and fertilize monthly with a low nitrogen fertilizer.

Orange and yellow dahlia

Peach dahlia

Magenta and Yellow dahlia


These are the three dahlia tubers I planted. The first is not meant to be cut, while the other two are. This way I will hopefully have plenty of dahlias for inside and out. I’ll let you know how they turn out. If you are looking for a great place to buy inexpensive, low growing dahlia tubers, try They have a large variety, send you a free little book on how to grow dahlias, and will answer your emails if you are having trouble getting them to grow (that was me last year with the whole water thing).

I hope you all have a great Earth Day. I would love to see pictures of your container gardens! Send me your pictures and they may end up on one of my future posts!




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