DIY succulent dish gardens

succulent dish garden tended.wordpress.com

I spotted this beautiful succulent dish garden a few months back at Flora Grubb Gardens (they also offer classes if you want to make your own).

Unfortunately, we are still in the grip of this terrible drought. I didn’t plant anything new this fall, because a lot of the poor plants I planted the previous fall didn’t make it through the summer heat without enough winter rain to get them established. Suffice it to say most of my gardening this year will be succulents in containers.

1. The container:

Two of the best places I’ve seen for containers are Flora Grubb and The Botanist in Los Altos, Ca. Online, I’ve found gorgeous ones at: West Elm, Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, and Anthropologie. Terrain has wonderful things as well but they are just too expensive for me.

You can drill a drainage hole in the bottom or put a layer of small rocks or pea gravel on the bottom.

2. The potting soil:

Honestly, I just use whatever potting soil is cheapest. If you live in an area where you get a lot of rain, you should go with a cactus or succulent mix or save money and make your own with 3 parts potting soil, 2 parts sand and 1 part perlite, all of which you can get at your local nursery, Lowes, Home Depot, OSH, etc…

3. The plants:

You can see this container uses the Thriller, Filler, and Spiller method. I’m guessing the Thriller is Echeveria ‘Perle Von Nurnberg.’ Mix in some clusters of not more than four kinds of smaller echeveria. Make sure to vary color and texture: green, purple, silver, spiky leaves, fuzzy leaves, rounded leaves. Tuck some small sedums in two or three places around the edges where they can spill over.

Pack the dish or container completely full so that you don’t see any dirt. Succulents slow growers and ridiculously easy to repot when they multiply or outgrow their space. With these plants what you see is mostly what you get, so I like to move them around and arrange them in my nursery cart until I’m happy with my composition.

4. Care:

Succulents grow beautifully in full sun, part sun, and bright shade. Water once a week, less in cooler weather. You can feed them if you want, but you don’t need to. When they multiply you can snap off the babies and repot them. If the stems get too long, pull them up, snap them off close to the rosette, and stick them right back in the dirt.

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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.

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.

Succulents in a vintage birdbath

succulents in a vintage birdbath tended.wordpress.com

I love this idea: succulents in a vintage birdbath – spotted outside a shop in Montecito.

That’s an agave attenuata in the middle, which will get quite big. The rest of the birdbath is filled with dudleya, jade, echeveria, kalanchoe, and sedum. The green plants in the middle are ringed by purple and blue succulents, with a few small green sedums tucked in around the very edges. Your dudleyas (the silver/blue/purple ones) will need to grow a bit before the rosettes get long and full like these. When they get too leggy, just pull them out, break off the long stems, and replant the rosettes.

succulents in a vintage birdbath tended.wordpress.com

Even more pretty, easy drought tolerant containers

oxalis container tended.wordpress.com

Saw these containers outside of Apartment 46 in San Mateo. Apartment 46 is an inviting, off the beaten track shop with lots of unique, pretty, affordable things for your home. It’s definitely worth a visit.

I’m loving all of this purple/black oxalis I am seeing lately, especially when it’s spilling out of a whitewashed concrete container.

More green and purple in these black painted wine barrels: Oxalis Triangularis (Purple Shamrock), Liriope muscari Variegata (the spiky grass like plant in the center),  a mix of purple, green and blue echeveria; and sedums spilling over the sides.

Note: Oxalis Triangularis is poisonous to cats and dogs.

green and purple containers tended.wordpress.com

green and purple containers 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

Container garden ideas: mixed herbs and succulents

mixed herbs in hypertufa pot tended.wordpress.com

Visiting my family this week – so I thought I’d show you some of my mother’s garden. Here is lime thyme and lavender thyme in a hypertufa container.

Herbs and succulents are the easiest things you can grow in containers. Just pot them up and put them in the sun. Green succulents can take a little shade, silver ones need full sun. Use whatever bag of potting soil is the cheapest. You don’t have to anything different with the soil for the succulents. Herbs get watered twice a week, and succulents get watered once a week. More on growing herbs here and growing succulents here.

lavender and thymes tended.wordpress.com

Lavender and lavender thymes in a ceramic strawberry pot.

Mixed sedums and hens and chicks tended.wordpress.com

Mixed hens and chicks and sedums in a ceramic strawberry pot. The varieties in the pockets were found in a nursery section for miniature gardens.