Day 148 – Cooking Up Some Succulent Planters

At the UT Jackson trial gardens a couple of years ago, the staff there haunted junk stores and abandoned attics and basements to come up with this incredible succulent display.

Bon Apetit!
Wait, Carol, I was just kidding!
I’m wondering if my college son’s sink has things like this growing in it.

Day 147 – Simple Saturday Solution

You have company coming for supper and you need a quick solution to your empty planters.
Easy care, easy planting, almost instant container beauty!
Green Panda Bamboo and True Blue Viola. Green Panda is an “evergreen” bamboo though it didn’t prove to be as evergreen this winter in my zone 6 with the long stretches of deep freezes that we had this winter. This was an easy planting job and since it’s been protected on the porch, it kept looking good throughout the winter.

Day 146 – Saul’s Wall

A visit to Saul Nursery is always a treat. I’m continually amazed at the creative way they display their plants and stand in awe of this plant wall.
If you look far back behind the wall you will see my sweet friend, Jean, loading up the back of the car with plants. I call her sweet because most the plants were mine, the car was stuffed from front to back, and she literally had plants at her feet and elbows for the rest of our 3 day garden trip.

Day 145 – Retro Thursday

About this time last year I was in Dallas for work and got to check out Dallas Blooms at the Dallas Arboretum. I loved these containers with the overflow of Begonias, Bacopa, bulbs, beautiful Cardoon, Shrimp plant (Justicia brandegeeana), Ornamental Kale, and Violas. Dallas Blooms starts again this year on March 5 and goes until April 10 – if you go, tell Jimmy Turner that Barbara sent you.

Day 143 – Is It Really What’s on the Inside That Counts?

I ‘m going to step outside the rules here. I guess, though, since I’m the one who started this 365 Days of Container Gardening, I can in fact make up my own rules. So far, my rule that I have set upon myself is to provide a daily inspiration for the different styles and options that container gardening offers. We’ve looked at more than 142 different plantings that you can use to garden in a container. But today, I want to look at just a container in a garden. Empty. Just there for interest.

While visiting in Florida, I admired the interest that these empty olive jars gave to the winter landscape. Even as lovely as they are, their emptiness beacons me.
Tomorrow we’ll get back to plants. Today I’m just enjoying a promise of what’s to come that an empty planter whispers to me.

Day 142 – The Glory of Coral Bark Maple

Coral Bark Japanese MapleAcer palmatum ‘Sangokaku’, hardy in zones 5-8, offer a good portion of the country a highly underused container plant. I use them often in my winter container plantings and come spring, move them from the planter into the ground in some landscape design. The impact that they give against a light colored wall is striking. This planting is cushioned in with miniature boxwoods, layered with yellow pansies and winter creeper –Euonymus fortunei ‘Coloratus’. Properly watered and given a bi-annual feeding of compost tea or Espoma Plant Food, you could easily keep this in a container for several years, only changing out the pansies in the spring to a summer annual like calibrachoa. Coral bark maples like partial shade so protect them from afternoon sun.

Day 141 – More Winter Windowbox Ideas

Even with spring just around the corner it’s still fun to see some plantings that can make great winter window boxes here in Middle Tennessee.

Euonymus fortunei Green and Gold, Heuchera Georgia Peach, Vinca Illumination, and Violas

Day 140 – Today I Visited Botswana

The weather was cool and damp, I’ve been fighting some little stomach bug, the guys were all off doing all their own activities, so I decided I would take a trip. I needed to go to another land, to hear other people’s stories, to experience an adventure.
So I picked up the latest book in the #1 Ladies Detective Agency series and escaped to Botswana. Through the miracle of words I could feel the African heat and hear the lilt of Botswanan English as the adventures began playing out among these well loved characters that Alexander McCall Smith has given flesh to.
I love that a book or movie or even a blog can take you to distant lands and give you a glimpse of the world we inhabit. So in honor of the arid, hot, dry land of Botswana, I bring you container plants that would love that environment – succulents!

And since these pictures came from the Nashville Lawn and Garden Show 2009, this is a reminder that you can escape in two weeks to Nashville Lawn and Garden Show 2011 – March 3-6.

Day 139 – Memories of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi

Several Februaries ago I took a week-end trip with a group of gardening ladies to Bay St. Louis and stayed at Lagniappe Church, who teamed up with Habitat for Humanity to help rebuild this beautiful little town after it was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Our job for the week-end was to landscape 20+ new homes that had been built by Habitat and to “spruce up” the facility that Lagniappe used to house, feed, and organize the thousands of volunteers who came to help rebuild this area. From the herb planter above,
to the perennial/annual beds

to the planters filled with ferns, ivy, and Muehlenbeckia axillaries (Creeping Wire Vine), the job was a joy to accomplish. The stories we heard from the residents in Bay St. Louis would break your heart. Their perseverance and determination would strengthen your heart. I left things there to grow; the people of Bay St. Louis planted a seed of community and resilience to grow in me.