A low maintenance silver, purple, and black garden

silver and black garden tended.wordpress.com

At Sunset’s Menlo Park gardens: a low maintenance, low water garden with year-round color interest.

Here, they’ve used bronze Phormium, Variegated Pittosporum, Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’, Lorapetalum ‘Purple Diamond’, and silver Thyme. These plants won’t need much more than the occasional light pruning.

The Aeoniums are a nice touch here – their forms are stunning, they add color and height, don’t take up any square footage, and soften the transition between the purple and silver. The cement, steel and celadon ceramic containers continue the color theme and can be moved around as needed.

Garden reading: Judy Kameon’s Gardens are for Living

gardens are for living

I’ve been a huge fan of Judy Kameon and her dramatic, laid back, low maintenance gardens and outdoor living spaces for years. I’ve also been on a simplicity kick, trying very hard to pare down and own less, but when I saw that her book had gone on sale I had to order it. This is the way you want to garden – and live.

More about styling your garden the way you style your home here.

Succulents and organic modern ceramics

succulents in earthy ceramics tended.wordpress.com

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted. Around here, summer is not gardening season, it’s survival season! Especially this summer with the terrible drought we are having. With fall in sight I’m starting to think about my garden again but I’m still more than a month away from wanting to plant anything in the ground. So for now I’ll get my gardening fix another way.

Spotted at Sunset Magazine’s Celebration Weekend, these earthy organic containers are perfect for late summer and will take you right into fall and winter. You can mix just about any combination of pots, vases, and objects you can find. If you are mixing in flowers, just restrict the palette. Deep burgundies and blacks look so cool in this setting.

succulents in earthy ceramics tended.wordpress.com

More succulents in handmade ceramics are here.

The most dramatic container plant in existence

agave container tended.wordpress.com

Agave is a stunning container specimen in any setting – especially here with the silver leaves and dark grey container in a stark white setting. And you pretty much can’t kill it. It can take shade, it barely needs any water, and it gets big, fast.

All of this awesomeness comes at a price. The spikes are brutal, so you need to set it where it’s not going to impale innocent passers by. It makes a LOT of babies so things will get crowded, FAST. You can twist the babies out when they are tiny, otherwise you need to cut or saw them out. The sap is caustic, so you need to be covered up if you are cutting out babies or sawing off leaves – yes, sawing. Finally, you need to be absolutely sure you want one because once it gets established, it’s not going anywhere.

Style your garden like you style your home

style your garden tended.wordpress.com 

Here is a beautiful example of layering plants and decorative objects in garden design firm Living Green’s booth at Sunset Celebration Weekend. Styling an outdoor room the way you would style an indoor room creates an inviting and interesting space that you don’t want to leave.

  1. Group similar objects for more impact. In this case, Asian inspired statues, natural stones, and potted orchids on the table.
  2. Simplify your color scheme. Here, natural tones and textures with mix with tables, ceramic stool, glass rock, and textiles all in shades of blue-green.
  3. Play with scale. Huge containers and big objects on the ground, tables of varying heights, small potted plants and objects on the tables (and tucked in the big pots).

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DIY succulent wall

succulent wall tended.wordpress.com

Succulent walls are a huge trend right now and so perfect for small spaces, low water environmentally friendly gardens, or just overall extreme coolness. This spectacular succulent wall was created by Succulent Gardens in Castroville.

You can have these installed and maintained, or do it yourself by with box frames, chicken wire, and sphagnum moss. The sphagnum moss is your planting medium here – you don’t want to use dirt with these. You’ll need to water and feed these more frequently than conventional containers.

Here are some good succulent frame DIYs:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Succulent-Wall-Art/

http://www.bhg.com/gardening/container/plans-ideas/make-a-living-succulent-picture/

You can buy succulent box frames at Succulent Gardens, Flora Grubb Gardens, and probably about a million other places. The frames come in all shapes and sizes.

vertical succulent garden tended.wordpress.com

vertical succulent garden tended.wordpress.com

DIY easy, portable plant screen

DIY plant screen tended.wordpress.com

I noticed several of these portable plant screens used at the Sunset Magazine gardens to screen or block off certain areas.

This could not be easier: an inexpensive trellis from the nursery or garden center, vine, container, and maybe even a plant stand with wheels. I don’t normally like plastic pots, but in this case I’d recommend a plastic pot that looks like terra cotta because it will be easier to move around and you won’t have to water it as often. Depending on which vine you choose, you might need to tie it to the trellis.

I’d probably do something fairly indestructible like a Jasmine, Bower Jasmine, or Ceanothus because I know I can grow those in a container without killing them. Clematis and Mandevilla are awfully tempting, but I’d probably forget to water them. I believe that’s an Akebia in the picture.

Sunset has a great list of fast growing vines like Thumbergia and Morning Glory that work well in containers.