Spring has sprung at the Plant Gallery on Airline Highway, where the nursery is full of colorful blooms waiting to brighten your patio or garden. Unfortunately, I don’t exactly have a green thumb, but Kenny Rabalais says he can help me out!
When creating a planter, Rabalais always starts with good soil. If he’s using a pot, he’ll add some rocks at the bottom for additional drainage. Rabalais says, “The soil is very important for bedding plants and herbs because it’s gotta be light. It can’t be a heavy soil and as you see this, it’s got a great mix to it and it’s not gonna hold a lot of moisture in it.”
Rabalais fills the basket about 80% with soil and then starts piling in the plants. Rabalais’s trick of the trade is to line the front with cascading blooms for a fuller look. Also, he always adds a few white flowers, which will show up better at night.
Rabalais chooses plants based on how they’ll appear full grown. “It looks nice now. In about 2 ½ weeks, it’s gonna look really, really nice.” Deciding how many plants to put in each pot can be a difficult decision, so your best bet is to check the label. It’ll tell you how big the plant will grow and how much it’ll spread. “So it’s really just doing a little research, it takes 2 or 3 questions. The majority of the plants have tags on them. If you just read the tag and know the height and just do it from the front to the back.”
If you shy away from color, herbs are a beautiful and useful alternative. “All these are just great for cooking. Once you look in your great New Orleans books for cooking you’re gonna find all these great herbs to use to do some great cooking.” Rabalais has a trick for these as well. He says herbs grow faster when they’re trimmed, but get stalky if left alone, so make sure to eat ’em up. They’re as tasty as they are pretty.