Potted patio where succulents rule


Shaded by a big live oak, our back patio stays relatively cool, even on hot days. That shade also makes it a good spot for a variety of potted plants, especially succulents that prefer bright shade in our blistering climate.


Agave parryi var. truncata is one of my favorite small agaves, with those striking black spines and round blue leaves. It cozies up in a galvanized tub with a Texas tuberose (Manfreda maculosa) and Artemisia stelleriana ‘Quicksilver’.


Another blue beauty, but much bigger, is my new whale’s tongue agave (A. ovatifolia), which replaced Moby after he bloomed last year. Skirted by silver ponyfoot (Dichondra argentea), it’s a cool, silvery vision of agave loveliness.


‘Macho Mocha’ mangave and datura grow in the lower level, adding some green along with a glass gazing ball.


For fun — a Tentacle Wall. Wiggly-legged pots from Tentacle Arts hold wavy-armed Xerographica tillandsias spring through fall; in winter they live indoors. Metal octopuses add a few more tentacles to the mix.


Steps leading up the back door host a colorful array of pots containing purple oxalis along with more succulents.


And of course the cinderblock succulent wall is here too. (Here’s how I made it, including how I kept the soil from falling out of the holes — everyone asks!)


So how about you? Are you into potted plants on your patio?

I welcome your comments; please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading this in a subscription email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post.
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Digging Deeper: News and Upcoming Events

Get on the mailing list for Garden Spark Talks. Inspired by the idea of house concerts, I’m hosting a series of garden talks by talented designers and authors out of my home. Talks are limited-attendance events and generally sell out within just a few days, so join the Garden Spark email list for early notifications. Simply click this link and ask to be added.

The whimsical woodland garden of Ellen Ash: Capital Region Garden Bloggers Fling


Although the tree-shaded entrance to this Great Falls, Virginia, garden was elegant and restrained, I knew the owner would be a gardener with a sense of humor. How? Because at the driveway’s end I spotted, atop a pilaster, a statue wearing actual sunglasses. It was the first sign of a playfulness with garden art on display throughout Ellen Ash’s 2-acre garden.


The bus I was on, during last month’s Capital Region Garden Bloggers Fling, was running a little late, and other bloggers were already exploring the back garden’s extensive paths. I had the serene front garden nearly to myself. It must be a riot of color in spring, when the now-quiet azaleas, rhododendrons, and flowering trees are in bloom. Following this intriguing stone-and-moss path…


…I entered the enormous back garden, which, near the house, slopes gently down to a swimming pool and a swooping, mod pool house and patio.


A closer look at that fabulous pool house and large swimming pool. You could throw some big pool parties here!


In the garden between the house and pool, a small pond shaded by a parasol-like Japanese maple is home to a school of flashy goldfish…


…protected from raccoons and herons, I imagine, by a panel of crisscrossed wire laid on the water’s surface.


At one corner of the house I spotted this aluminum chaise in the shape of a lounging, space-age woman — a futuristic odalisque? A crossroads-style sign points toward cities that perhaps have special significance to the owner.


But to my mind, here’s where the garden really starts: with a sweeping, curvy lawn bordered by a stone strolling path and wood’s-edge garden beds.


From the lawn path, mossy woodland trails wind under the trees in all directions, offering a boggling number of choices to the visiting blogger with limited time to see everything.


At every turn, Ellen’s whimsical garden art coaxes a smile or a laugh.


She has a special affinity for cats, which appeared in all guises throughout the garden.


One-of-a-kind found-art pieces…


…or kitschy flamingos — Ellen doesn’t discriminate with her garden art and clearly is having fun with all of it.


One of the most stunning pieces of art in her garden is this stone moon gate, which welcomes visitors from along a back stretch of the driveway. It perfectly frames a focal-point statue, which draws the eye across a mossy glade as you enter.


Looking through from the other side


I was fascinated by all the beautiful mossy paths, and wondered about their fragility while walking along them.


Most, however, were laid with large stepping stones…


…or a combination of cut stones and brick…


…or even footprint-shaped steppers!


One path led to a stone monolith fountain in a small clearing…


…with benches placed around a circular cut-stone patio around the fountain. Flat, gray beach pebbles neatly skirt the fountain and “flow” along the edge of the patio like seeping water.


I heard that Ellen does almost all of the gardening herself, which is impressive considering the size of the place. I really enjoyed wandering the paths and discovering the surprises, like this cloud of blue hydrangeas, and fun garden art along the way.

Up next: The harmonious garden retreat of designer Barbara Katz. For a look back at the natural log and twig art of designer Debbie Friedman’s garden, click here.

I welcome your comments; please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading this in a subscription email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post.
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Digging Deeper: News and Upcoming Events

Book Giveaway! I’m giving away a copy of a fun new book, Potted, that’ll inspire you to DIY your own uniquely cool garden planters for porch, patio, or deck. Just leave a comment on my giveaway blog post to enter (click the link and comment there), and good luck! The giveaway ends Friday, July 14, 2017.

Get on the mailing list for Garden Spark Talks. Inspired by the idea of house concerts, I’m hosting a series of garden talks by talented designers and authors out of my home. Talks are limited-attendance events and generally sell out within just a few days, so join the Garden Spark email list for early notifications. Simply click this link and ask to be added.

All material © 2006-2017 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Read This: Potted: Make Your Own Stylish Garden Containers & BOOK GIVEAWAY!


I’m crazy for Los Angeles garden shop Potted and its colorful, modern accessories for patio and porch living and gardening. I’ve made two pilgrimages to the store (here and here) when passing through L.A., and I’ve ordered from and received gifts from their online store (yes, you can shop from home in your jammies!).

Over the years of crushing on their shop, I’ve enjoyed getting to know the two inventive women who own and operate Potted, Annette Gutierrez and Mary Gray. These dynamos of creative energy are continually coming up with their own designs for planters, tiled tables, and garden decor that they produce and sell as Potted Exclusives, among which their Circle Pot may be best known.


And now they’ve put their creativity on paper by publishing a Potted-loving DIYer’s dream book: Potted: Make Your Own Stylish Garden Containers. In this colorful and well-illustrated paperback, Annette and Mary share 23 original, DIY-able planters that they dreamed up and show how to create them from readily available materials like concrete cinderblock, PVC pipe, plastic trash cans, attic gable vents, paint cans, and spray paint.

Take this stacked cinderblock planter with a colorful stripe of glued-on tile, for example. They suggest using leftover tiles from a kitchen or bath remodel or sample tiles purchased from a tile store. With step-by-step instructions and photos to illustrate each step, they make construction look totally do-able and fun.


Here’s another of my favorite projects: a spray-painted PVC-pipe “bracelet” to dress up a plain nursery pot. As the authors point out, small PVC pipes are inexpensive and easily cut, painted, strung together with wire, and wrapped around an existing pot. The beauty is that you can customize the colors to harmonize with your porch decor or house colors. This is a fun idea for inside or outside.


I also love the cleverness of this idea: spray-painted metal gable vents from a building-supply store turned into wall planters with the aid of DIY plastic backing to protect the wall and hold soil. The authors used cheap plastic placemats for the backing material. Imagine how cool this would look planted with succulents.

The 23 planter ideas shown in the book are organized by basic material: concrete, plastics, metals, terra-cotta, and organic materials like fabric, rope, and decoupage. You can follow the instructions to duplicate their examples, or, as the authors point out, you can mix-and-match ideas from the various projects to create your own totally unique planters. The book is sure to give you some fun ideas for dressing up your patio, porch, or living room, and it’ll show you how to look more creatively at everyday items that can be turned into something only you have thought of.

GIVEAWAY

And now for your chance to win the book! Annette and Mary are offering one lucky reader a free copy of Potted: Make Your Own Stylish Garden Containers, and to be entered in the giveaway all you need do is leave a comment right here on this blog post. The winner will be drawn randomly at 11 pm CDT on Friday, July 14th, and announced here on Saturday.

Thanks for reading and commenting, and good luck!

Update 7/15/17: Congratulations to #13 Jenny Young, who is the winner of Potted! Thank you to everyone who entered. This giveaway is now closed.

Photographs by Potted with Sydney Michael and Amanda Brooks.

Disclosure: Timber Press sent me a copy of Potted for review. I reviewed it at my own discretion and without any compensation. This post, as with everything at Digging, is my own personal opinion.

I welcome your comments; please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading this in a subscription email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post.
_______________________

Digging Deeper: News and Upcoming Events

Get on the mailing list for Garden Spark Talks. Inspired by the idea of house concerts, I’m hosting a series of garden talks by talented designers and authors out of my home. Talks are limited-attendance events and generally sell out within just a few days, so join the Garden Spark email list for early notifications. Simply click this link and ask to be added.

All material © 2006-2017 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

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