face in the tree stump is making the ‘O’ face as the squirrel disappears inside. The size of the opening that can house a plant is shallow,but it does have a drainage hole, so the hens and chicks have survived there. Another consideration is the ability of the container to endure a long season of freeze and thaw, the death knell of many a pot. We don’t empty the containers as the season turns cold, but rather want to use them for winter interest of some kind. This guy was sold as frost proof, and has held up so far after several years of those conditions.
A sentimental favorite container, this pot is kept under cover on the front porch. That means that it does not get watered with rainfall, so remembering to add water at least weekly even through the winter is an important task. The plantings have been in there for a number of years, japanese painted fern, variegated ivy and some fall blooming crocus. This was the diversionary birthday gift mentioned in the linked post.
Swans are also sentimental here. My childhood home, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was near a place called Swan Lake. Many a happy hour was spent hanging around that lovely place, and swans hold a dear spot in memory. There is a second swan on the opposite side of the step that leads to the knot garden at the top of the hill.There is a muhlenbergia capillaris planted in each of these.
This large concrete pot has been moved several times with a bobcat as the renovations have required a change of venue for it. There have been trees, a corylus contorta, died, a green leafed weeping japanese maple, moved into the garden and killed by the late freeze last year, planted in it. Now there are dark pink hyacinths under these violas. The cracking around the edge probably mean its days are numbered.
This is a container that was made last summer using the hypertufa recipe. It was unmolded too quickly,before it was set, causing it to break apart. What was left intact was the very shallow bottom portion. We added a stone face and planted the now dead looking agave, silver thyme and some annuals that are long gone. Only the thyme looks alive, this will have to be replanted with something more durable. Maybe all sorts of thymes would work. It is under the overhang behind the glass shower door, trying to allow the agave to live, but I would rather it sat out in the garden to cheer us on the cold dreary days of winter.
A rather odd shaped trough also made last summer embedded with colored marbles left over from a failed fish vase. The photo of Mrs. Bongo Congo featured on the sidebar of this blog shows this same batch of hypertufa mixture used with the red colorant. Three types of ferns, possibly hardy, we shall soon see about that, were planted in it last fall. The violas were added for color and the black rocks were to keep the pesky squirrels from burying walnuts in the soft soil.
Two troughs like this were made a few years ago. This is the second one and looks mainly to be a home for various mosses. A large erica that took up most of the space died last year, the mini marbles heucheras are still growing plus some sedums and thyme. The moss look is fine, maybe we will let this just be a moss garden.
Trough number one is planted with some ferns, ajuga, erodium and another erica, this one still seems to be alive. Columbines have seeded themselves from the plantings along the wall, we shall decide if they are too big to be allowed in this pot, when they have grown a little more.
Moving to a new catagory of pot material, metal. No worry of frost damage there. This one has worked out well with edibles planted, chives, parsley, which will have to be replaced, and thyme. Situated right out the back door for easy herb snipping, this one can be considered a success. Dill, basil and cilantro were all tried in here but didn’t survive or grew too large. The little pots below hold sedums and heuchera.
The window trough on the shed adds to its cottage look and is planted with japanese painted fern, acorus, japanese blood grass and sweet william. Alyssum and lobelia look pretty cascading over the edge but usually succumb to our hot summers. The fern really fills the whole space and is one of the tried and true plants used all over here, it makes babies like crazy, giving us lots of free plants. On the ground beneath this planter the ferns have dropped their spores and are scattered among the foxgloves, a good combo.
This old rusted out wheelbarrow was found under some brush when we bought the property, a real treasure! Sedums and more japanese blood grass keep the copper praying mantis company. It looks like it needs some more soil added, put that on the job list.
Another rusty item, this old toolbox had holes drilled in the bottom and has been home to the pink scullcap and this little blue grass for several years. I think the tag called it miniature bear grass, does anyone recognize it? It’s leaves are thicker than the blue fescue.
Our policy calls for mostly perennials to be planted in the containers, a tall order to be able to winter over without protection and summer over through the heat and drought. Grasses, sedums and the ever present japanese painted fern are the survivors of this difficult test. Containers have a rough life here.
Containers-Part Two will show the more flowery glazed pottery.