Monday, July 8, 2013

Percolating…

The idea of a shallow metal dish planted with succulents and mounted atop a pole has been working its way around inside my head for a several years now. I think the first time I saw such a thing was from the Big Red Sun in Austin, TX. I can picture many examples but this is the only one I can find to share with you…

Installations done by Big Red Sun tend to be quite large and thus quite expensive…meaning not something I could ever hope to own. I’ve saved this example from a tour of DIG Gardens in Santa Cruz, CA, by J Peterson Garden Design as something more achievable…

And when I visited Dragonfly Farms Nursery during the Seattle Garden Bloggers Fling in 2011 and discovered these planted plough discs I thought I’d finally discovered a way to bring this design into my garden.

Of course I had no idea how hard it would be to find plough discs, nearly impossible!

However I’m happy to say the idea never died and when my friend Bridget and I stopped at Linton Feed & Seed en-route to Cistus Nursery last January…

And I saw these galvanized tops for bird feeders…

I knew I’d finally found a way to make the idea an affordable reality…

And really since my garden heavy on shiny metal and light on rusty bits it’s all the better to have held off until I discovered a way to make this concept uniquely mine…

The base is a galvanized fence post which Andrew cut into pre-measured lengths for me.

I wanted the disc and bottom post to remain unattached in order to remove the top easily for maintenance, however metal on metal wasn’t the most secure connection so I cut a length of clear rubber tubing…

And ran it around the top of the post (after pounding it into the ground) which helped to grip the disc.

So far so good, they’ve withstood the test of hard rain and strong wind…and I am very happy with how they turned out. The plants are all winter hardy here and having a big drainage hole and hollow base should allow for rain to drain away freely.

Initially I planted all three with the same combination of Agave parryi, Sedum Angelina and Sedum 'Chocolate Ball.'

However the 'Chocolate Ball' in two of the three died a quick death and I replaced it with a mix of Sempervivum collected from around the garden…

I have a feeling the third will be similarly planted up soon, 'Chocolate Ball' just seems to be too particular to last long in my garden.

All material © 2009-2013 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

71 comments:

  1. How cool is this!!!! what a great idea. I absolutely love it. You are so creative!

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    1. I don't know how much creativity I can really be credited with since I didn't come up with the original idea but I thank you!

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  2. These look fabulous and the galvanized metal is much better for your garden than rusty metal would have been. Good for you for finding a way to make this concept work for you! They look very George Jetsonesque!

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    1. George Jetsonesque! I love it, that's a big compliment in my book.

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  3. I like it! Nice placement too with the yucca.

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  4. Genius. Someone is going to steal your idea and make a million dollars. Let me know when you want to go into production. I'll help, and not just by sipping wine and watching...

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    1. A million dollars!? Imagine all the plants I could buy...

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  5. Fantastic! This is something I've been wanting for a long time. Now I know how to do it. Thank you for the step-by-step instructions.

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  6. Nice idea, but don't Agaves hate being in pots? I read that somewhere I think... but you'd know better than I would.

    If you find that gravity and inertia alone doesn't keep them in place, drill a couple of holes near the top of the post and in the bottom of the dish and run wire throughout to fasten them together.

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    1. Well of course they'd rather be in the ground, but then again they hate wet winters and that's certainly something we've got in abundance so pick your poison...

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  7. Wow! Flying Saucers in the garden or maybe UFOs...unidentified foliage objects....except you know the names to practically every plant around...whatever the case...I LOVE this idea. How did you cut the metal posts? That would be the only part that I couldn't figure out. Keep on Percolating!
    David/:0)

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    1. "UFOs...unidentified foliage objects"...that's good David!

      Andrew took the metal to work and cut it there using a die grinder, he suggested for anyone who wanted to replicate but doesn't have a die grinder available they should buy the post at a fence company and have them cut it.

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  8. You have brought your usual style to the idea, very well done.

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    1. Thank you Spiky O! (for some reason your comment was swept up by the spam filter...just found it!)

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  9. This is brilliant, I love them. Putting the tubing around the top of the poles to grip the feeder discs is a great solution. I actually did something similar recently, but not on top of metal poles, just one as an experiment, stuck into the soil in my culvert planters. Mine is a light fixture, not a livestock feeder. You have yours placed beautifully in the garden too.

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    1. Thanks Alison, have you shared pictures of yours? (I don't remember seeing it)

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    2. No, I haven't posted yet about my light fixture planter. I'm waiting till I come down to pick up my plants from Scott next week. I'm thinking I'll put the Agave attenuata that I got in a second light fixture, and then I'll post about it.

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  10. These are wonderful AND look so right in your garden! I see viral Pinterest postings in your future...

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    1. What Jane said. These are destined to be copied over and over. They look fabulous!

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    2. Thank you ladies...I do hope others run with this idea and put their own spin on it, as I have.

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  11. Those look so perfect in your garden. It's fun to see you copy this idea and give it your personal style too.

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    1. I was worried they would be too small, or look out of place, but I think having a trio of them solved that problem.

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  12. I love this idea! It's beautiful.

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  13. You're getting dangerously close to sculpture in the garden -- can't resist an opportunity to tease. Such a sleek, shiny, wonderful idea with superb execution. The three parryi really get the eye hopping from disk to disk. Love this, Loree. I've been on the lookout for a disk for hanging -- this idea makes it much easier to handle the weight.

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    1. You know I was concerned I wouldn't like the finished product for that very reason (sculpture) but hey...they are containers, for plants, and you know how I feel about those!

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  14. They look great. I love how the stem and pot echoes the form of the large spiky plant (a yucca I think).

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    1. Yep it's a Yucca rostrata...and I'm glad you picked up on the echoing! I knew I wanted to put them in this general area and hadn't even considered that "bonus" until I saw them in place.

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  15. I love those...so very you! I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one who has killed numerous 'Chocolate Ball' Sedums...about 1 in 3 just dies :-(

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    1. And I am glad to hear it's not just me! I had one in the ground that lasted a full summer, but it died over winter. Damn things...

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  16. Very cool! It reminds me of when I used to do Trough Gardens with alpine plants at Kew. I did see something similar with fire pits but I prefer the staggered elevation you've done better.

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    1. I yes...the bowls of fire pits do make excellent planters and if you could find something suitable to hold their weight they'd make amazing tall dish planters!

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  17. Wicked idea! looooooooove how this looks -good job!

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  18. Love it Loree ! Well done, and looks just right in your garden.

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  19. Wow, great examples! I'm just getting into potted succulent gardens, and I'm enjoying it. I have a spot under an eave overhang that gets very little rain. Those magenta Sempervivums are lovely--especially next to the Agave and the Sedum Angelina! Great post!

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    1. Oh how lucky you are to have that space under your eaves to take advantage of! Our house has only about a 5" overhang which of course does nothing to protect the plants.

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  20. These look great! I like the varying levels and the way the metallic color echos the yucca. Perfect.

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  21. Very well-done, yet a bit Roswell(ian)!

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  22. Nice!! Those look really gorgeous. And how resourceful! It inspires me.

    But more than anything, I can't help but noticing Sammy. STUNNING!!! I think I would just sit and stare in complete awe.

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    1. Sammy is looking pretty amazing isn't he? I did notice yesterday that lil'Sanford is getting overshadowed by the growing Euphorbia behind him. I think I need to trim it back so he has a little room to shine too...

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  23. Love it!! And I like the way the repeating plants on each dish, very contemporary!

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    1. It was hard to stick with the same group of plants but I knew it would be way too busy if I didn't...

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  24. Another idea would be to get a piece of mesh to cover the saucer drainage hole (before planting) and then attach a lead fishing weight to the bottom of it with wire/string and then drop it in the hole of the pipe. Maybe that would give it more staying power under high winds?!?

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    1. Oh that's a good idea! I bet I could still fashion something with a dangling weight if the need arises (without having to unplant/replant)

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  25. Ingenious way to get more planting space, too: the pole takes up hardly any room in the ground, while the elevated disc gives you more area to play with. I think you are too modest. It's not easy to take an idea and transform it to reflect the personality of your own garden.

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    1. Ha! I didn't even think about that...(more planting space)

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  26. Brilliant adaptation, Loree! Those look fiiiine in your garden.

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  27. That's fantastic Loree, I love them. I still say we need to see your garden on the next Fling. Or maybe I just need to invite myself over to see it. :-)

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    1. I'm really torn about how to make that happen Jean...I really want to share my garden with those of you that are curious but I also just don't think it's worth hauling everyone to during the Fling. I'll think of something! (and thank you)

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  28. Oh, how COOL! What a great, resourceful idea - love it! They look fantastic near that yucca. And, as someone mentioned - very timely too with that Roswell anniversary!

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    1. And to think I didn't even know about the Roswell anniversary.

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  29. Oh my gosh girl, I may have to copy! So insanely awesome!

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  30. Wow!!! that is soo cool!! I love it!!

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  31. wow! amazeballs. You are smart to have waited for the PERFECT ingredients.

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    1. I think you have just come up with my new favorite word! (amazeballs)

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  32. AnonymousJuly 10, 2013

    What a fantastic idea. These look great! How often do you water?

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    1. Not very often. Perhaps that's why the chocolate sedum died???

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  33. I love how you had the idea in the back of your mind, so when you saw those bird feeder disks you pounced. Succulents (including agaves) do well in shallow containers because the plants are shallow-rooted. Also, shallow containers are more prone to drying out, which would be the death of plants that (unlike succulents) can't draw on moisture stored in leaves and stems.

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    1. Pounced is the perfect term Debra, I wasn't going to risk missing out on them. Great point about the roots too, thank you!

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  34. Dear Danger, I imagine that I should probably read through all 64 comments above to look for my answer, but it's so much easier just to ask you. (grin) Hope you don't mind. I was at a plant swap today and scored three plough disks. I had pinned your idea when you came out with this and would NOT say no to the offer! I knew exactly what to do with them. Looking at your plant choices, I'm wondering how deep the containers are that you used. And how wide ? I love the way the parryi looks in your arrangement and I have one, but I'm thinking the disks might be shallower. And regarding your plastic hose around the top...do you think old water hose would work just as well ? Thanks for the info and the inspiration !!

    patty
    soriano471@sbcglobal.net

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    1. Yay for finding plough disks! Mine are about 4" deep in the center and about 11" wide. I do think yours are probably shallower, based on the discs I've seen. I'd try the agave though...you never know. Water hose as in outdoor? Might be too big. Although what I bought was labeled "water line" like for a fridge that dispenses water in the door. Maybe that's what you're asking about? If so...perfect! I'd love to see a photo of yours when you're done with them!!! Good luck...

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  35. Love the idea. I love to recycle so I'll be using an old satellite dish. They are round and oval shapes. Sometimes you can find them at a scrap yard if you don't have them. I also have large PVC pipe that would work for the base. Nobody will know what it was from once spray painted. Thanks for the idea.

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