Wednesday, October 27, 2021

New containers for the season, because

My October garden chores include a lot of garden deconstruction, as I pull apart vignettes and move plants to their winter homes. Sure there's a bit of in-ground planting, as the rains have returned and the ground is once again workable, but those aren't creative endeavors, just work! (side note, it was rather exciting to use my shovel foot again—the one at the end of the ankle I broke last May) So knowing I need to do something creative to feel that important connection to my garden, I was looking forward to a couple of new container plantings I had in the works. Here's the first project completed...

You might be wondering, what was there before? Summer containers that needed to come down before the temperatures start to drop. That Euphorbia tirucalli isn't winter hardy here, and when temperatures fall below freezing the expanding mass of frozen soil can crack pottery. I learned that the hard way.

Here's what had been hanging in this spot over the last couple of winters...

I loved this spiky grouping!

But they'd started to look a little blah after two years in rotation so this spring I popped the plants out of the metal container and planted them in the ground.

Well the opuntia and aloes at least. The agaves looked so sad I just put them out of their misery.

And if you're wondering, yes. Yes those containers are metal shades from clip-on shop lights. The large holes provide great drainage, which was important for the spikes during the rainy season. A piece of metal screen covers the large holes and keeps the soil in place and since they're metal there's no freeze breakage.

This year's plantings won't need that great drainage however, so if we have extended dry periods—unlikely since it's a La Nina winter—I'll need to be sure to give them a splash. 

So what did I plant?

Remember the Saxifraga stolonifera 'Maroon Beauty' I fell for at the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden? Well I scored two of them when I visited Joy Creek Nursery. I also tucked in a couple of Asplenium trichomanes I had on hand, as well as some moss and black mondo (Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens') from my blogging friend Theo. He's been getting rid of what seems like acres of the stuff at his garden and I'm thrilled with the windfall.

I'm kind of curious to see if the runners from the saxifraga develop baby plants that hang down over the edge of the pot. I tried not to disturb them when I planted.

The pair are pretty matchy-matchy but oh well, I think it works here.

My other container project involved planting up three new dish planters with hardy succulents. Here's one of the completed plantings.

Over the summer these three dishes are filled with non-hardy succulents, pictured are the plantings from summer 2020, because it appears I did not take a photo of the summer 2021 versions before I lifted them and took them indoors. Or maybe it's better to say, I couldn't find a photo, because I must of taken one?

As I was putting the new plantings together I realized the light was rather lovely so even though I wasn't done with the third dish I started snapping photos.

I guess seeing an empty dish is kind of interesting, maybe it helps you to understand how I mound up the soil? 

As I was working I was trying to remember what I had in these dishes last winter, then when I saw the carnivorous corner it hit me! Some of these plants were in the dishes...

I like this year's version better. Oh and I'm trying something a little different, not taking the gravel covered soil all the way to the edge, leaving the outer metal rim exposed. I can only get away with that when the plants are small and I'm not seriously cramscaping.

So what's in these plantings? Agave parryi 'JC Raulsten' is the star.

One of them has a spiky Maihuenia poeppigii tucked in...

...and one has a second agave, A. bracteosa. I didn't manage to get a close up of it however, darn it. They all have several cuttings of Sedum takesimense and a NOID sempervivum with great cherry-coloring.

Project A...

Project B...

And guess what! There's also a Project C—I recently acquired several hypertufa pots that I've been having fun filling. That's a story for another day though, as I'm still working on that one...

All material © 2009-2021 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.


  1. Excellent plant choices, colors and shapes, in both projects. I am happy to see Saxifraga stolonifera ('stolon-your-heart' as I like to think of it) in its new home. For years I thought of it as a house plant... Can't believe you left us hanging with project C :-D

    1. Project C still isn't done... so I'm hanging too!

  2. Looks great. Such creative contentment in these projects!

  3. All are interesting combinations, and I'm glad you got your creative fix. I love the blue tones of the agave with the red color of the Sempervivums. Both Sedums and Sempervivums have been surprisingly difficult to keep happy here.

    1. Well seeing how sempervivums are alpine plants I think just keeping them alive in your climate is an achievement.

  4. Very nice...both in the containers and out. Looking forward to coverage on your new hypertufa plantings, too.

  5. I really like the trio of containers with the red semps. They look great with the agave. It surprises me that the plants survive the winter in such shallow pots. Oh to have such a mellow climate. We are expecting a deep freeze Friday night so time for everything to come in.

    1. If things get really cold out there I take pity on the dish planters and lift them and bring them to a sheltered location.

  6. You are a container queen but the hanging pair are particularly lovely to my eye.

  7. Nice appropriation of the lamp shade and perfect plant choices — but with the metapanax and sheffie photobombing it’s hard to concentrate! Love it all.

    1. Ya, they're getting crazy big aren't they?

  8. I love your creative and unusual containers! I was looking for ideas for my garden, your repurposed light reflectors, and other conatiners are all wonderful! I'll be following your blog from now on, even though I live on the other side of the country in a very different climate.

    1. Thanks for stopping by and I am thrilled you might find some inspiration here.


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