Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue...and Glowing

No, I'm not getting married. But that little rhyme seemed appropriate to today's post.

Ever since the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in February, I've been gathering ideas for ways to display terra cotta pots out in the gravel garden.

Remember this display on the Skyway at the show?

And these from the Fling?

I also recently saw these chimney liners in artist Sondra Shira's garden on an NPA tour.

For a couple of weeks now I've been trying to recreate something along those same lines, using thrift store purchases and succulent plants in my gravel garden.

Here's my attempt.

The pots and most of the plants are new this year. The columns are terra cotta wine coolers, bought for a couple of bucks each at my local thrift store. I originally bought the dark blue plates under the pots at the thrift store with the intention of breaking them and making some kind of mosaic on the columns with the bits, but I have no confidence in my ability to create a mosaic, so I decided to use them as drip catchers instead (although those plants seldom get watered).

This plant wasn't labeled, but I'm pretty sure it's Manfreda 'Macho Mocha.'

Agave 'Baccarat' bought at the flower show

The spikes leave a permanent imprint.

Dyckia 'Precious Metal' bought during a trip to WeHoP, with another $2 thrift store find.

The color-matched pitcher came from the thrift store too. So far I haven't planted anything in it, but you never know. It has no drainage.

I found this flowering Aloe glauca at Lowes a few days ago, when I went in to buy a new hose. Only $19.99 for a 1.5-gallon plant.

And the piece de resistance...

Agave 'Blue Glow' bought at Flora Grubb during the Fling, and very kindly trucked home in his car by Scott Weber of Rhone Street Gardens.

Over the next little while it'll probably get some tweaking, and it doesn't have quite the heavy industrial vibe of some of the inspiration. But it works for me, for now.

Oh, you may have noticed another recent purchase that is part of this grouping of pots, my yellow Brugmansia.

Flowering up a storm

Unlike the still small survivor of my overwintering Oops, when I put my three Brugs in an unheated shed instead of the heated garage.

Close-up you can see (and smell) how they got the common name of Angel's Trumpet.

Something Old: Thrift store finds
Something New: New plants
Something Borrowed: The idea
Something Blue: Agave 'Blue Glow' (actually the Aloe glauca too)


  1. Wow, Alison! Your display is better than any of the borrowed ones you showed. You have more plant material. That balances the other items.

    I have a wine cooler from a thrift store, never used because I couldn't figure out a use for only one.

    You might find a small pickle jar that will fit in your pretty pitcher and use it to root cuttings or display a bouquet or hold something dried.

  2. Beautiful arrangement!
    Even your smaller Brug is doing better than any of mine ever did. I gave up on 'em, but do enjoy those that others grow, like yours! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Your very own version looks cool and great way to display your growing collection of agaves.

    I like the idea of using those wine coolers as pedestals. You should give mosaics a try and you might just like it.

  4. Fantastic! I too have been mulling about chimney liners in the garden and I like your interpretation on a budget.

  5. You may have borrowed one ideas but you have put your own unique stamp on your display. Nice job Alison!

  6. This turned out very well !

  7. Nice work, Alison! I love the colors displayed in your melange better than your inspiration too. In fact, I think you've become an inspiration! I have a box of copper tiles waiting to be used. Perhaps this is my needed kick in the butt?

  8. I really like your pot display garden. It looks very artsy and integrated. The Blue Glow Agave is spectacular.

    BTW I couldn't seem to leave a comment on your WW post, I kept clicking and nothing happened. I always considered Mimulus too fussy but yours look great, so I am tempted. I do hate to attract hummingbirds too much with low plants since I have a cat that is an excellent hunter foisted on me by my daughter when she went off to college. I didn't realize some of them would grow in dry conditions. Great info!

  9. Wow. That looks wonderful. I see that you have rock pillars like we saw recently at Old goat Farm. I love them.

  10. Nice! Great plant selections, excellent placements!

  11. You did a great job of incorporating the ideas into your gravel garden. You know I love this!

  12. Your creation looks splendid! And that IS Manfreda 'Macho Mocha' as you thought. Hope it blooms for you!

  13. I love it! And that Aloe glauca is fabulous.


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