Welcome to my back deck. The deck is on the south side of the house and gets quite a bit of sun, even with a yard surrounded by enormous evergreens.
This is the one place on the property that I can successfully grow basil. I plant this trough with basil, started indoors from seeds, every year. Before I planted out the basil, this year, I was planting the tomato plants that I started from seeds, and I had these 2 leftover tomato seedlings. Not knowing what to do with them, yet, I just popped them in the trough. They've grown well and now I don't have the heart to rip them out. So, to the left, a bunch of basil, doing well now that it has warmed, and 2 tomato plants to the right. Battle of the Mediterraneans. We'll see who wins out.
Also, due to being the sunny spot, I have a couple of heat traps on the deck. I can't grow peppers worth beans, in the garden, so I'm trying some pepper plants, started from seeds, indoors, in these large pots. I will be thrilled to get some peppers this year. I'm sure you'll hear about it if I get any.
Over near the shadier side of the deck (though still sunny for half the day), I have this small area, marking the entrance to the sitting area.
In the large trough, I have English thyme, started from some old seeds (about 6 or 7 years old), indoors. Thyme is known to be difficult to start from seed in the garden, itself. So, I seeded these into a small container and kept under lights for early spring, and moved out to this trough about a month ago. The thyme seems be to doing well, so far. My other thyme is in the herb garden, in a pot. I never get quite enough thyme from that pot, so this trough will provide the rest of what I need.
Just in front of the trough is a terra cotta pot with a begonia plant in it. Begonias are not hardy in our area. They either have to be dug up in fall, and stored in a dry place for winter, or started new each spring. I bought 2 tubers and planted 2 pots of begonias a year ago spring. I didn't have time to dig them up, last fall. So one day before a heavy frost, I pulled the 2 pots into the garage, and just kept them there. I didn't water them until I moved them back outside in early spring. I didn't know if they would survive, but they did. Surprise, surprise. So, moral of the story is if you can't do the best thing for the plants, do the next best. The other pot doesn't look quite as good. It's suffered with an infestation of slugs. Every time it gets one little hint of a flower bud a slug comes along and chomps it down. I slug baited yesterday and hope to bring that pot back to full life again this summer.
And behind that spot is the sitting area. It's a pleasant place to sit in mid-afternoon, when the full heat of the sun has passed.
In the back corner of the sitting area are 2 more troughs, one planted with rosemary, the other with lavender. In front of the troughs are the pots of geraniums that I brought indoors for last winter. The pink geraniums I brought inside, pots and all and kept in a south-facing window all winter. The white geranium, here and in 2 other pots, I dug up and put several into a pot together. Then in spring, I divided the clump of geranium plants and repotted. They were leggy in spring, so I trimmed them back and they've been doing well.
The rosemary, in the left trough, I bought as plants a year ago, spring, after unsuccessfully trying to start from seeds. In fall, I dug them up and potted in smaller pots to bring indoors for the winter. IN spring, I replanted them, gave them a trim to remove legginess and they've popped back to freshness, nicely. The lavender, I left in the trough (also planted last spring), as I simply ran out of time last year. I just hoped for the best, and pulled the trough right up against the house. It survived, and gave me a lot of buds to cut this year.
At the top of the steps to the patio, I have my 2 4th of July pots. At Home Depot, a month ago, I found some potted petunias on the clearance rack. In each pot were 2 red, 2 pink and 1 white. So, I bought 2 of those pots, plus a small pack of blue lobelia. I planted the all of the pink petunias and 2 of the red petunias in urns in the front yard. And with two of the deck pots, I planted red and white petunias, plus blue lobelia (red, white and blue). Sadly, I only have the one little flag, so I'll be keeping my eyes open for a second for the other pot. (I got this one as a freebie on the 4th of July a couple of years ago.)
The clearance pots of petunias did not exactly scream 4th of July to me. I had to think, a moment, how I could use the red, pink and white flowers. And as I also came for flowers for the front urns, it occurred to me that I could put the pinks out front, and the reds and whites on the deck.
Just below each patriotic pot is a pot of Asiatic lily, violas, and the mums that I bought at the end of last summer.
Again, I brought the pots of mums indoors for the winter, and kept in a sunny window, until it was warm enough in my plastic greenhouse on the deck, where I put them for March and April. I trimmed off their legginess, and am hoping for pots of blooms for fall.
And this is one of the white geraniums that I had dug up and put in a pot with several others, for the winter. they're in a small-ish trough which is too big to bring indoors, as is. So I'll have to dig them again this fall.
I'm guessing you see a couple of frugal themes, here. One, as much as possible, I start plants from seeds. It's the cheapskate way to grow veggies and herbs. Two, as much as I could, I brought flowering plants, which are supposed to be annuals where I live, into the house for the winter, so I wouldn't have to buy the same plants for this summer. And of course, three, I always check the clearance rack of plants at Home Depot for annual flowers. You just never know what you're going to find.
You know, you really should have seen my kitchen and living room windows -- filled to the brim with plants for winter.