A Few of My Favorite Things, Garden Edition

By Ann Fulton

A garden design pro shares her carefully curated list of products and helpful tips, which are aimed to ensure that the vegetables, herbs, and flowers in your backyard garden thrive this summer!
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A garden design pro shares her carefully curated list of products and helpful tips, which are aimed to ensure that the vegetables, herbs, and flowers in your backyard garden thrive this summer!


The kitchen and garden go hand in hand, and since the days are growing longer and warmer (some of them, anyway!), it seemed like the ideal time to offer a garden-themed Favorite Things

While I’ve had success in some areas of our backyard garden, I’ve also struggled with others. As such, it seemed fitting to call in a real pro to lend her expertise to all of us! 

I first met Laura Lapp years ago when reached out to me to test some truly incredible vegan products, which she created in her very own kitchen.

Those products led to the creation of neat, a company best known for its plant-based meats and egg replacer. (I tested the egg replacer in these Pumpkin Ginger Cookies, and you truly couldn’t tell the difference between the real egg and the substitute.)

The company was eventually sold, but Laura had another gig up her creative sleeve. Having grown up in her mother’s flower shop, Laura had been cultivating a small side business, designing planters out of her garage.

Through word of mouth alone, “Perfect Pots” grew from a backyard garage to four locations specializing in year-round container garden design, fresh florals, landscape services, and unique garden décor. 

So without further adieu, I bring you Laura’s favorite things, gardening style!


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Have we ever craved the start of a season more than springtime? It’s a fresh beginning. A new day. Beauty starts popping out of empty spaces. And the sunshine brings life to plants and humans alike. 

Last year, a new wave of gardeners hit the scene. Because, let’s be honest, what else was there to do in the midst of a pandemic? With fewer social outings and more time at home, people found joy in creating their own backyard gardens and potted plants. 

There’s something therapeutic about pressing your hands in the dirt and waiting for new life to appear. Gardening is both an art and a science. It’s part beauty and part work. And it looks like this newfound interest in gardening is a trend that’s continuing to grow. People are more excited than ever to dig in and start planting. 

So whether you’re a novice gardener with a small plot of vegetables, a work-from-home plant enthusiast surrounded by a sea of succulents, or a seasoned veteran of all things gardening, here are a few of my favorite springtime essentials.

Beautiful flowers!

I adore the combination of flowers in this arrangement from Perfect Pots stand at Central Market. It reminds me of an English Garden!


#1 Frey Brothers Professional Potting MixA Few of My Favorite Things Gardening Edition

Not all potting mixes are created equal. Just because some brands are easy to find doesn’t mean they’re very good. And when it comes to potting mix, you want the best. After lots of testing, I’ve found Frey Brothers Professional Potting Mix to be the ideal. Flowers really do grow better with it. 

I also love how this soil is light brown when it’s dry and dark brown when it’s wet. Some soils look wet all the time, so it can be really hard to know when it’s time to water. Frey Brothers Professional Potting Soil takes the guesswork out of the mix. When the soil is light brown, you know it’s time to water. Pretty nice, right? And did I mention it’s made locally in Quarryville? This potting mix is exactly what you need to have a thriving planter. 


#2 Osmocote PlusA Few of My Favorite Things Gardening Edition

Osmocote Plus is like a multivitamin for your plants. It’s absolutely essential for flowers to have a consistent supply of food. The amazing thing is that you can add Osmocote Plus just once per season to your containers, and your flowers will be gorgeous and well-fed throughout the entire season. You can use it with all plant varieties. Trust me—you and your planters will be happy with the results.


#3 Jack’s Classic Blossom BoosterJack’s Classic Blossom Booster

Jack’s Classic Blossom Booster is basically an energy drink for your flowers. It takes your plants to the next level. The blooms will be brighter and more vibrant than before. In fact, you’ll see a difference after just one week. They’ll look like they came straight off the cover of Better Homes and Gardens. You’ll hear people buzzing about your flower pots all season long.

I highly recommend Jack’s Classic Blossom Boosters for your flowers. But if you’re looking for a good fertilizer for your vegetables, I’ve gotcha covered. Check out Jobe’s Organics Vegetable Fertilizer Spike Vegetables. These easy-to-use spikes not only provide access to more nutrients for your veggies, but they’re also free of synthetic chemicals. And that means they’re good for your gardens and the environment. It’s a win-win for everyone.


#4 Wonder Grip Nicely Nimble Garden GlovesA Few of My Favorite Things Gardening Edition

These are my absolute favorite gardening gloves. They form to your hands, so you can really feel what you’re doing. They aren’t clunky or loose. Instead, they give you better dexterity while still giving you great protection. When you’re done, just throw them in the laundry with your dirty jeans, and they’re ready to go again.


#5 Ames Planter’s Pal Hand ToolPLANTER’S PAL HAND TOOL

The Planter’s Pal is the Swiss Army knife of gardening tools. It does it all. If you’re only going to buy one tool for container gardening, this is it. There are so many ways to use it: digging, planting, weeding, cutting, transplanting, and measuring. You can easily remove the roots of last season’s plants and till the soil, so it’s ready for new things to grow. It will save you time and give you great results.


#6 Something New in the GreenhouseAdding these mint varieties to one of your garden containers will really get your culinary creative juices flowing!

Obviously, my absolute favorite thing about container gardening is the flowers and plants themselves. There are always so many options and new varieties coming out each year. I always gravitate toward plants I’ve never tried before and ones you can’t find just anywhere. This year, it’s chocolate mint and nutmeg thyme, which already have my culinary creative juices flowing and will be a new addition to my container filled with other tried-and-true herbs.

In the flower department, I’ve just got to get my hands on Bandelero white lantana, which is supposed to have show stopping larger blooms than other varieties and attract all the pollinators!  

I’m always on the hunt for something new, fun, vibrant, and unique. I love the experience of finding something new and not being afraid to try it.  It’s fun to experiment with flower combinations and colors to see what works well together.  When something doesn’t work so well, it’s ok, I embrace that as part of the gardening process too! 


Chamomile isn’t only for tea! At first I thought these were miniature daisies, but they are, in fact, chamomile and add a sunny, cheerful note indoors when simply displayed in a Mason jar.


#7 Some Extra Tips for Perfecting your Pots

You don’t need a huge backyard to grow something amazing. If your outdoor space is limited, container gardening is a perfect solution. You can grow herbs, flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Containers are perfect for small areas like balconies, patios, or courtyards. Even with minimal outdoor space, you can still create a gorgeous garden. 

If you need a little inspiration to get started, personalized help is available. We offer gardening classes at our greenhouse and helpful videos on our YouTube channel. If you don’t live locally and would enjoy an in-person class, check with gardening centers in your area.

Laura Lapp at Perfect Pots

Laura Lapp with one of the beautiful pots she designed.  

Special thanks to Laura for sharing her garden favorites. For locals who’d like to visit her greenhouse, it is located in Strasburg and directions can be accessed through the linked website. 

The greenhouse offers an impressive array of locally-grown plants: fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers, and Laura (and her delightful staff!) can offer expert design advice on how to make everything thrive in your containers and gardens. 

Laura also mentioned that if all of this feels like too much and you’d prefer beautiful planters to magically arrive at your home or business, they can make that happen. Feel free to contact their greenhouse staff and/or follow them on Instagram and Facebook, where Laura will also share which flowers grow to be her favorites this season. 🌸 🌼 🌺


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