Pretty, easy, drought tolerant containers

pretty late summer containers tended.wordpress.com

Sculptural containers filled with low maintenance plants that you don’t have to water every day: perfect. Everything is kept loose and informal and easy, with simple, classic pale blues paired with soft yellows and white.

The garden bed is filled in with river stones, and the terra-cotta pots are set on top. This would be such a cool solution to a garden bed you haven’t gotten around to yet.

Here’s what I think is in these (Don’t you wish that people would put up little signs with plant lists?): Scabiosa ‘Butterfly Blue’, Zinnia ‘Dreamland’, Rudbeckia/Black-Eyed Susan, Chinese Forget-Me-Not (Cynoglossum amabile), and Thunbergia ‘Alata Sunrise White’.

Here are some more views:

drought tolerant containers tended.wordpress.com

pretty, drought tolerant containers tended.wordpress.com

pretty, drought tolerant containers tended.wordpress.com

 

A simple modern home and front yard garden

modern front garden tended.wordpress.com

This home is totally stunning and it’s so simple.

  1. Everything is black – the walls, the gate, the trim – except the stark white window trim, roofline and eaves, and porch light.
  2. Turquoise blue front door.
  3. Repetition of a just a few foliage plants.
  4. The same plant as a low round shrub and as a tree standard. I’m not totally sure what this is, but you could do this with Pittosporum, Privet or Indian Hawthorn.
  5. The flat silver ground cover ties in with the silver leaves of the tree. Try Cerastium (Snow in Summer) for a low silver ground cover.
  6. Sago Palms in low, wide terra-cotta containers.
  7. Podocarpus does it all. Here, it is trained on the wall and grown as a tree.
  8. Low boxwood hedges the same height as the bench they surround frame the entry.

See more black and green gardens here.

See more Podocarpus being awesome and versatile here.

modern front garden tended.wordpress.com

modern front garden tended.wordpress.com

Well hello there, Orange Stalked Bulbine, my new favorite plant

orange stalked bulbine tended.wordpress.com

Saw this one growing at Gunn High School in Palo Alto of all places. I was not expecting to go to a soccer tournament and see great gardens. I’m telling you, when it comes to gardens, Palo Alto does not mess around.

Anyway, this is Orange Stalked Bulbine (Bulbine frutescens ‘Orange’).

According to Monrovia, this is my kind of plant:

Once established, needs only occasional watering. Long bloom season, showy flowers, attracts hummingbirds, deer resistant, easy care. And it’s a succulent.

I must have it.

Here’s another view:

orange stalked bulbine tended.wordpress.com

Symmetry

doorway topiaries tended.wordpress.com

Anything in pairs is exponentially better: dogs, candlesticks, topiaries… Symmetry in the garden is like punctuation. It says “look over here, this spot is important.” Symmetry at an entrance or transition point hints at even cooler things beyond. It’s a simple, perfect solution.

Above, the matching small potted trees make the massive wall of a cathedral in Melbourne, Australia feel softer and less imposing, and keep the doorway from getting lost.

cottage doorway tended.wordpress.com

A cottage in Hobart, Tasmania. The symmetry here is soft and inviting, drawing attention to the balance and charm of the victorian woodwork and turquoise door.

pots and doorway tended.wordpress.com

A courtyard and entry in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Beautiful and timeless.

Simple, easy succulent containers

succulent containers tended.wordpress.com

Here is a cute group of succulents in terra cotta and handmade ceramic pots. The grouping works well because the pots are all natural tones including some soft blue greens that echo the blue green of the plants and the handmade ceramics emphasize the sculptural quality of the plants. The succulents are all different types of echeveria (I especially love the luminous white/silver) so the forms are variations on a single theme. I like to plant one type of succulent per container, and just rearrange the containers when I want a new combination.

Buy your succulents in the tiny 2″ pots so you can afford to try tons of varieties. They will grow quickly and give you plenty of babies along the way. I don’t do anything special – I give them the cheapest potting soil, full or part sun, and weekly water. Ceramics can get pricey so if your mother doesn’t go through a ceramics phase, you can get fantastic ceramic pots at estate sales, garage sales, or flea markets.

kalanchoe container tended.wordpress.com

This is one Kalanchoe pumila. Believe it or not, this started out as a single plant in a little tiny pot (this planter is about 1.5’x3′ to give you an idea of the size). It grows like crazy and if you want more, just break off a piece and plant it. I love this one because it gives a full, lush look of a something leafy but only needs to be watered once a week (or less).

The easiest California garden ever

portola valley garden

This beautiful garden is actually at a riding barn in Portola Valley (the building is one of the stables). A gnarled old olive tree is surrounded by rudbeckia (black eyed susan), phormium (new zealand flax ‘bronze baby’), stipa gigantea (giant feather grass), erigeron (seaside daisy), and buddleia (butterfly bush). Everything here is perfectly suited for our heavy clay soil and Mediterranean climate of wet winters and long dry summers. This is practically a no-maintenance garden if you plant in the fall to catch the winter rains.

Garden reading: Gardenalia

On the want list: Sally Coulthard’s Gardenalia books.  How to create beautiful, informal spaces and throw in a flea market find or three? I’m all over it!

gardenalia stylish garden cover

Gardenalia: Creating the Stylish Garden

Gardenalia-front-cover

Gardenalia: Furnishing Your Garden with Flea Market Finds, Country Collectables and Architectural Salvage