Gardening tips from Flora Grubb Gardens

flora grubb gardens tended.wordpress.com

I finally visited the world’s coolest plant nursery, Flora Grubb Gardens. There is so much inspiration here for creating stunning gardens and outdoor living spaces with low maintenance, water wise plants, and every kind of succulent under the sun (and lots of gorgeous stuff for indoor plants too). They also offer design services and classes, and the staff is unbelievably friendly, helpful, and knowledgable. Here’s what I learned from this visit:

  • Go for low maintenance plants that thrive in your soil, water, and light situation. Be realistic about how much time you have for watering and other gardening work.
  • Get your color and drama with foliage instead of flowers.
  • Your garden will feel bigger and be more functional if you divide it into spaces: living areas, passageways
  • Containers provide color and (flexible) structure. Use containers in a variety of sizes but in similar colors and materials.
  • Invest in large scale containers the way you would in hardscaping or furniture.
  • Use multiples: repeat plants, plant types, containers, and objects for a more cohesive look.
  • Plant and accessorize your vertical spaces.
  • Shop your local nurseries. While I do use the big box stores, there’s no substitute for a local nursery and the deep knowledge the staff has of the plants.

flora grubb gardens tended.wordpress.com

Put a succulent on it

underplanting with succulents tended.wordpress.com

File under more uses for succulents: underplanting and filling in.

Give your succulents a temporary job filling in blank spots between or under plants. Succulents can take some shade, especially if it’s only for a short time. And while they might not pair well with your ferns, they can take some moisture. I have succulents filling in right now in bright shade and heavy clay soil. Heavy WET clay soil, now that we finally, thankfully, have rain! Since they transplant so easily, you can move them around wherever they’re needed. Or you might decide to just leave them where they are since they look great with everything.

underplanting with succulents tended.wordpress.com

Photographed at Sunset Magazine’s celebration weekend display gardens.

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.