Categories: Home+Garden

Container Life

photo by Karen Lynn

Belgian Peter Lynn met his wife, a Portlander, when the two were living in the South of France. Because they love the outdoors, the couple decided to raise their sons in the Rose City. A former beekeeper and commercial strawberry grower, Lynn wanted to stay in the garden business, but without taking on the physical labor of a full-service garden center.

He opened Pomarius Nursery in a vacant lot in 2002 in industrial northwest Portland. Lynn designs container gardens for urbanites who don’t have an abundance of plantable ground. “Indoor and outdoor potted plants are a part of decorating the home,” said Lynn. “It’s the same principle that has guided the cultivation of bonsais for thousands of years. People want to have nature as close to them as possible.”

photo by Karen Lynn

The nursery sells a few varieties of flowers, succulents and seasonal arrangements, but its primary business is in potted trees and shrubs. Lynn transplants, fertilizes, shears and shapes the greenery. Boxwoods, bonsais and pines are common subjects. By the time customers buy their plants, the tree or shrub is ready to live out a healthy five to ten years in its planter, provided general upkeep and appropriate sunlight are maintained.

When Lynn designs, continuity is his guide. He plays with structure and thrives on texture, but keeps the plant palate green. “I’m not keen on having five plants in one container,” he said. Each tree or shrub is framed by its individual container.

photo by Karen Lynn



Tips for Containers at Home

• Fertilize (organically) two to five times between February and

• June, and again once or twice in the fall.

• Keep containers well watered in summer—as in water more than you water your plants in the ground.

• Rotate the shrub or tree a quarter turn regularly.

• Growth flushes out between April and June, when the plant needs a good “buzz cut” usually. The rest of the year, occasional shaping is fine.

• If you are in doubt about container placement, ask a designer. A plant’s lifespan is directly correlated with its sunlight.

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