Archive | 6 July 2012

Container Gardening Part I: Available Choices

In and Around the Garden Registered & Protected

Container gardening gives one the opportunity to be creative with dazzling plant choices and seasonal themes. Potted annuals and perennials offer solutions to landscape problems such as bad soil, softening hardscape areas, adding color to drab walls, creating focal points, and bringing captivating scents and calm to boring town balconies. Containers give you the ability to move your plants around creating a fresh look. They can go in a sheltered area during winter months, and if you relocate, you can take your potted garden with you.

The choices for containers are many. Here are a few.

Glazed ceramic planters:  These add color and are made of stoneware. Ceramic planters come in several finishes, including crackled, drip, or multi-colored glaze patterns. Make sure it’s for outdoor, not indoor, use. The indoor glazed ceramic planters won’t hold up outside.

Resin and fiberglass:  These are available in a variety of colors and…

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Garden of Eden in Your Living Room


While planning a mini garden, keep light requirements in mind for interior plants.  There is more leeway for seasonal displays (mini Daffodils in the spring, Shamrocks/Oxalis for St Patrick’s Day, etc) which are rotated out as the season passes so they are always looking fresh.  Permanent plants in the garden should have the same light needs as each other. High light plants placed in low light conditions will fade out and the same applies for low light plants placed in sunny windowsills.

Mini indoor gardens use the same design principles as their exterior counterparts.  In addition to texture, color, balance and all the others, scale is one of the most important things to consider.  The leaf size and plant heights need to correspond to container size or the garden will look disproportionate.

Add simple sculptures for interest and finish off  the look with rocks for a polished feel.  For ambitious designers…

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Sidewalk Sensation: Elegant Window Boxes


I always advocate using the biggest planter possible for a given space but sometimes we are confined to use existing planters. Just because a planter, in this case a window box, is tiny doesn’t mean it can’t have a big impact. Here we used a mixture of Begonias, New Guinea Impatiens, Vinca, Sweet Potato Vine and Coleus to create an elegant color scheme. The pink hues of the Coleus pick up on the vibrant color of the Impatiens while the saturated leaves of the Begonia provide a dark contrast.

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Making the Best of a Bad Situation.

Garden Propaganda

For the past eleven years or so I have spent most of the time living in apartments. When I was going to school in the Bronx I lived in an apartment in midtown Manhattan that barely has enough light for houseplants.  But at school I was surrounded by plants and on the weekends I would garden at my fathers house in New Jersey so I survived.

But California has been mostly apartment living and I have to say I am getting a little tired of it.  My dream of course is to live out in the country on several (flat!) acres with lots of sun and room to make any type of garden my heart desires.

Until that happens I have to just make the best of it. My first experience gardening in Southern California was on my balcony in Santa Monica where I lived for two years. It was…

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Decorating with Humor

It's Two AM


I found a few things a few weeks ago. They’re, um, quite bright, yes? But they were kind of cute and I thought with a little bit of good old fashioned spray paint and a few plants they could fit in on the shelves in the living room.

Right Shelf\

So this is how the right shelf looks as of today…

Left Shelf

… and here’s the left shelf. What do you think?

I’m up to four shelves done now… I’ll take this as good progress. The terrarium thing has worked out pretty well, although I’ve had to replace a plant or two here and there. Sticking with plants that do well in indirect light has been key. And it only took me a few weeks to figure it out! Look, even more progress!

The Swan

I think the swan is looking a little bit more classy in her coat of white (please don’t…

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Downunder Potted Plants

L&L Photography

This past Sunday our local farmers market (see ‘who brought the money?’), featured the arrival of the Downunder Potted Plants. These unique pots are sold at the markets by a local distributor/vendor Carol James, from C James Nursery in Newberg, Oregon. What made her nursery different among others at the market, are the special terra-cotta pots used for potting plants. While the plants are grown locally from Carol’s nursery in Newberg, the pots are designed and manufactured by a gal named Mia in Australia (copywritten and tradmarked), called  Downunder Potted Plants. These planters are unique as they hold a plant inside the planter from the underside and the planter is hung with the plant growing from the bottom.

Cleverly named, these pots hold a variety of plants. I have listed the types of plants that work best below. When properly planted and cared for, plants will naturally grow toward the…

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Nathan and Rachel learn how to start a bonsai.


Nathan and Rachel learn how to start a bonsai.

Nathan wanted to know about the art of bonsai and his mother referred him to me.  I thought that the best thing I could do would be to show him how to start a bonsai tree for himself.  Nathan showed up on a nice Wednesday evening with his delightful friend Rachel.  They had been shopping at the Lavender Mountain Hardware nursery and had picked out some rather nice plants with which they would practice the art of bonsai.

I had also been shopping that day and picked up a Sergeant’s juniper that was left over from the year before and overgrown in its container.  Nathan and Rachel had brought a Japanese boxwood, an American boxwood, and a Juniper procumbens ‘nana’.  We had all experienced difficulty in finding some nice bonsai dishes, so I rounded up three “hypertuffa” concrete pots…

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