The beauty of container planting is, of course, the relatively easy ride. Still, a bit of TLC can take your pot from meh to marvy. At the end of the season, pull out the old plants from the roots (if you missed that step last fall, right now is fine, too; we’ll wait here). And don’t be shy about it, either. In fact, if your pot is 14 or more inches in height, Donna Balzer, author of the bestselling book No Guff Vegetable Gardening and a regular expert-guest on CBC radio, recommends digging out at least six to eight inches of soil and tossing the whole shebang into your compost. With that, she makes a particularly stirring philosophical point that might sum up the very soul of gratifying gardening in Zone 4A: “Maybe we can stop caring so much about perennials versus annuals in every case. Many plants don’t work as perennials here, they don’t overwinter as they would in other parts of the world, and that’s okay.”
So, out with the old, and in with something fresh that thrills you to your toes. “If you’ve fallen for a hydrangea, don’t worry, just enjoy it and know that it may not come back.” If it does? Count yourself a magical garden fairy.