Monday, November 11, 2013

Filling the void…

Andrew is fond of saying “nature abhors a vacuum and so does Loree.” While I might debate him on that, after all I recognize a good design must include negative space, I do understand his point. I tend to maximize plants per available square inch.

So you can imagine how depressing it is for me to be faced with empty plant hooks on the front of our garage for the entire winter. Hooks which support succulent filled pottery for the summer months, containers and plants which must be protected from cold and wet.

But what to do? Have you spent much time shopping for stylish hanging planters? They are very hard to find. When you do find them they are usually made of material that cannot withstand a freeze, as well as being expensive. I was determined to find a weather safe and attractive alternative. Local shopping turned up nothing exciting so I looked to the internet, Lee Valley to the rescue! Well sort of.

I found these adjustable, stainless steel hanging cables: “cinching hanger converts virtually any rimmed container into a hanging basket or planter. Quick to adjust, it securely holds containers up to 12" in diameter and supports up to 20 lb.” At $10.50 each (+ shipping) they weren’t cheap but I figured I could get a lot of use from them so I splurged. Still I needed to find a container.

Just when I was about to settle for an okay plastic container at Home Depot (plastic is not really acceptable in my book, so you know how desperate I was) I spotted a stack of recycled tire containers at Garden Fever. I’ve loved these odd containers since I first saw them years ago. They’re black, strangely stylish (IMHO) and they’re made of tires! So wrong, and yet so right (yes I’m thinking of all those horrific tire planters you see in people’s front yards). I’d never bought one however because of the way they’re assembled (sheets of rubber connected with screws), they don’t set flat, the puckered bottom makes them tipsy. But that wouldn’t be a problem if they were hanging right? And that method of construction left plenty of gaps which should make drainage a breeze…sold!

I bought them but no plants to fill them with, not yet. I needed to try them out and see if the slight flare at the top was enough for them to stay securely in the hangers. Close, but I think they're going to work.

Then came the fun part, plant shopping (in November!). Initially I was leaning towards hardy succulents but then I decided to challenge myself to go a different route.

A drastically different route since I tend to shy away from containers with multiple kinds of plants stuffed in them, I'm a one plant - one pot sort of girl.

For the large container I went with Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum venustum) and three Wickwar Flame Heather (Calluna vulgaris)…

This is my first ever heather purchase and the only reason I had to have it was that color! I realize it won’t look like that year round but for now I’m in love.

The little container has a couple Sea Gold Sedum (Sedum rupestre ‘Sea Gold’) and a Red Hook Sedge (Uncinia rubra ‘Belinda’s Find’).

The sedge is my only borderline hardy choice, but I couldn’t refuse that color. All of these will be planted in the ground come spring (when the succulents can go back up on the hooks).

It’s so much nicer to walk out the backdoor now and see these plants where there was just a void…

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

32 comments:

  1. The hangers and the containers are great finds. I will order a couple of those hangers myself!

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    1. I think you'll love them Gerhard.

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  2. Looks good.

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  3. Perfect splashes of color against the dark paint - the plants even pick up the color of the fall foliage in the background!

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    1. I was surprised by my mirroring of the colors beyond, which was unintended. Of course now that the last of Cliffords leaves fell in yesterdays wind the magic is gone.

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  4. I'm a one plant - one pot sort of girl.

    *high five*

    I know there's nothing objectively wrong about planting multiple species in the same pot, but most of the examples that I see look so crowded. (Outdoor plantings in soil often strike me as crowded-looking too, so it's likely that I just have a weird personal plant-spacing calibration.)

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    1. You would hate my garden then, I practice the "cram-it" style of gardening.

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  5. The rubber planters seem like a great idea. They won't scratch the paint on the garage if the wind swings them back and forth. Nice selection of plants too!

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    1. I hadn't even thought of that bonus but you're right, and the wind yesterday was certainly tossing them back and forth.

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  6. I have those hangers and adore them. They've lasted and lasted for me too. Looks good!

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    1. Ah, perhaps that's why they were vaguely familiar to me, I'd seen them at your place? Good to know they stand the test of time.

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  7. What a clever hanging implement that is, and gives you the freedom to select nice pots to go with it as you are right, it is difficult to find stylish hanging pots without forking out a fortune. Great combo and just shows how creative you are, and love the heather which I initially thought was a sedum!

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    1. This is my first foray into the world of heather. I've always thought in order to appreciate heathers you need to grow lots and lots of them together, something I'm not really keen to do. We shall see how I feel about them once they're in the ground.

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  8. I like them too, Loree, well done! And I actually saw some pretty cool tire planters recently, which is causing me to re-evaluate what would be an endless source of pots...

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    1. Thank you Denise! I noted your tire-stand hanging planter in your post yesterday (I think it was). You could really have a theme going if you start buying tire planters too!

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  9. “nature abhors a vacuum and so does Loree.” - that's classic. But where you live, which also abhors a vacuum (or no plants taking over), your rear lawn and paving squares count as negative space. In front, well, not sure...

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    1. In the front I'll count the driveway and sidewalks as the negative space. What the heck the neighbors driveway too! (the planting area is bordered on all sides by concrete).

      (I know...it's a stretch)

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  10. I admire your ingenuity with the hanging baskets Loree, great use of vacant seasonal space.

    However, ZOMG what are you doing with a Heather!!! I hate the blinking things with a passion, grrrr!!!! I used to live up in Perth and the locals weren't really into their gardening, but one public garden they had was the national collection of heathers, I kid you not, Scottish people love their heathers!! I was really bored one weekend, but I wanted to get out and about and take my daughter out to get some fresh air (she was only 3 at the time), so we visited the garden and it was my idea of hell, lol!

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    1. Haha, sorry to disappoint. But don't worry I won't be dedicating garden space to them (other than these, if they live)...

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  11. Your winter planters look marvelous! I might have cheated and just hung a swag or wreath on the garage for the winter. You always come up with great solutions!

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    1. Thanks Peter... I adore wreaths and will definitely be hanging one on the front door.

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  12. Cute! I'm always so tempted by Heathers at this time of year...but I've killed them once too often to try again :-(

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    1. Good to know Scott. If these bite the dust I'll consider myself in good company.

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  13. You do know that the Maidenhair fern is deciduous, right? Once the cold hits it, the foliage will be toast until spring. There are several evergreen ferns that will work though.

    I've had 'Belinda's Find' for about three winters now. Great plant.

    I love the color of your house. My neighbors (the ones with running bamboo invading my garden) painted their house the same color and it is really nice.

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    1. In theory yes, I know (and thank you for reminding me) but the ones I have in the ground look great year round. It's always a bit tough to bite the bullet and cut them back in the spring. I guess I will have learned my lesson though if this one looks bad.

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  14. Great solution to the void. I get that same empty feeling after clearing off the deck for winter. The heathers will do great in the garden next year - although I've found them slow growing, they keep chugging along and in a few years you'll be surprised how big they've gotten.

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    1. Oh yes I bet, and your deck is so visible from your house too. Our patio is another huge void, but one I'm not regularly face to face with on the short wet winter days.

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  15. I wasn't sure when I saw the pic of the empty pots, but planted up they're fabulous. Nice job!

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    1. Thanks Pam! Those planters definitely aren't for everyone.

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  16. Beautiful. I love the fern. And that Uncinia rubra ‘Belinda’s Find’ has been taunting me. Every time I go to work I run my hands through it and think I need to buy some.

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  17. Yep... Andrew has your number, all right. Glad you found this neat project to ease you gently into the off-season, whose name will not be mentioned here. I found three sweet little plants in the last days of Xera to put in my wall pocket: two apricot Hellebores and a small
    Chemaecyparus. From Freddy's: a white Cyclamen with painted leaves for another porch pot and a frilly purple Kale for the red pot. I'm happy.

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