Strawberry Jars, Herb Pots, Sedum Planter, and a Saucer Full of Succulents!

Found them!

I’ve been on the search for strawberry pots that didn’t cost a fortune.  Finally, on our way back from a recent trip to Ithaca, NY we stumbled upon a farm market that had some decent prices, so I got three!

Over the weekend I managed to get quite a few things planted, including tomatoes and herbs.  Right now, though, I’m most excited about these lovely pots!

In the blue pot here I’ve planted ‘Love & Tangles’ (lower left), Sedum ‘Angelina’ (upper right), and some Hens and Chicks in the other pockets and in the top.

This larger pot (below)  is full of herbs: rosemary, sage, lemon thyme, oregano, tarragon, parsley, and we’ll see how that basil does on top…might be too crowded in there for basil to be happy, but I since I have a lot of other basil plants I thought I’d experiment and see.

This small pot has three Alpine Strawberry plants and some sage. I read that sage and strawberries are good companions so thought I’d try them together here:

Here’s a view of two of the herb pot, the sedum pot, and a red pot saucer where I’ve planted more succulents: ‘Love & Tangles,’ some Hens and Chicks, a ‘John Creech’ stonecrop, and a tiny little button – looking succulent (not sure of its name.) I don’t think you can see it in this photo:

Here’s another view. Behind them against the garage wall you can kind of see the Persian Shield I just picked up last week at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden plant sale, as well as another yellow saucer full of sedums:

Close ups of the sedum / succulent saucers:

I love the saucers, but realized (after planting them) that they don’t have any drainage holes! I would not have wanted to try drilling any for fear of breaking the ceramic dishes…but now I’m concerned about them drowning in rain water.

I like them where they are, and they get great sun there, but it might be a pain (and sort of impossible) to move them every time I think it might rain. Shoot!

The yellow saucer is place on a fairly steep angle up against some rocks, so maybe water will drain out that way (and hopefully not cause an avalanche of hens and chicks to follow it out!), but the red saucer is lying flat on the ground.

I guess there’s nothing to be done but move them when I’m able to before a rainstorm and if not, just drain the water out myself after it rains. If worse comes to worse I can always put them directly into the ground or into other pots with drainage, but I really loved these saucers and the way the plants look inside them.

Any thoughts?

In Search of The Elusive Strawberry Pot

Last summer I fell in love with the succulent-filled strawberry pots at my friend Bev’s garden.

Well, I pretty much fell in love with her entire garden, but that’s another post for another day.

I kind of haven’t been able to stop thinking about those strawberry pots all winter, though.

I want one, plain and simple.  Hens, chicks, sedums, and succulents in general were never really on my radar until I saw them at Bev’s garden last year.  Her succulent rock garden is incredible.  These photos were taken last summer:

Amazing.  And a little daunting to me.  The strawberry pot route is probably more my speed right now.

Here’s another one of hers from last summer:

Unfortunately, strawberry pots are proving to be a little hard to find.

I’ve looked all over online, and I’ve tried  freecycle and craigslist – all without too much luck.  I’ve asked some nurseries and several farmers market stands that sell plants.  None!  What’s up?

No one is giving any away, that’s for sure.   The few I’ve found are expensive…do they just cost that much?

White Flower Farm has one that is 14″ tall…for (gulp)$65.  A few other places have them, but they are “mini” pots – 10″ tall or smaller, and I’d like something a tad bigger if possible.

I’ve seen a few on Amazon that are plastic, but I want terracotta.  They also have some ceramic types…for $420.  ???

So the search continues…if anyone has any suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

Maybe one day I’ll get one.  In the meantime, I plan to plant make a little rock/succulent garden in a terracotta dish – just a large pot saucer.  I definitely want to have these plants be part of my garden this year!

Half Wine Barrels on Wheels

Our landlord makes wine.

Underneath the garage there is a basement full of old barrels and wine-making equipment that hasn’t been used in a while.  Last he landlord asked if I’d like to have one of the barrels for planting.  Um…YES, please!  He also offered to cut it in half for me.  Perfect!

He finally dropped off two half-barrels a few weeks ago – great timing!

Thanks to the folks at Talking-Dog I found a great way to attach casters to the bottom of the barrels so that I can play around with where to put them and move them more easily if necessary.

One of the barrel bottoms was a bit warped, so the pieces of wood didn’t fit very well and it was king of hit or miss with the 3″ screws I was using, but eventually I managed to secure the wood pieces.

Not bad, huh?  I am hoping that we can score some more.  They would save me a ton of money on large planters, plus I really love the way they look – and since they were used for wine, they are food safe!

I’ve had some concerns about planting veggies in the ground for several reasons.  First of all there are so many trees and roots it is hard to dig a decent sized space.  Once all the trees fill in and the figs branch out, there isn’t quite enough sun for a vegetable patch.  Most importantly, I’ve never had the soil tested and have found an alarming number of batteries in the ground wherever I have dug in.

(The battery mystery has at last been solved, by they way! Charlie finally figured it out – the previous tenants must have had lots of battery-operated footlights…and apparently they never actually properly disposed of any of the batteries, preferring to, you know, just LEAVE them in the GROUND. ???)

So, I would much prefer planting veggies and herbs in containers where I can control what the growing medium is.

I still need to drill some drainage holes in the bottoms before I can fill them.  I’ m hoping I can pick up a drill bit piece that will make a holes larger than 1/4 inch – ha.

I may line the barrels with a bit of landscape cloth too, still not sure.  I am pretty sure I will fill the bottom 1/3 with styrofoam peanuts or something similar to help lighten the load and cut back on the amount of soil I need use and buy.

The hardest part is narrowing down what to put in there!

I think an herb barrel would be really nice…close to the kitchen, and plenty of room for everyone’s roots.

Sage, thyme, rosemary, chives, oregano, hopefully some basil…I think I should be able to fit them all in there…the barrels are actually pretty big.

I’d love to fill one with potatoes, or lettuces and peppers…and I would love to have some filled with flowers…maybe a small shrub for the front of the house.  (I splurged on a self-watering grow box for tomatoes…that will be another post soon!)

What I would really love is to grow a peony or a rose (shrub or tea or climbing)…if I could find one that can handle living in a large container, I’d be able to make sure it got a spot in the sun.

CLEARLY, I’m going to need more barrels.  Good thing my husband shoveled all that snow all winter long for the landlord!  🙂

Rufus with Window Box…

I am pleased that my window boxes have been doing well.  I recently took the geraniums from the back porch and put them into the window boxes to replace the million bells (which didn’t last more than a week – too hot when I planted them, I think, and they seemed delicate.)

The heliotrope continues to bloom and the sweet potato ivy is doing very well.  The geraniums survived the transplant and add a splash of color from behind the iron bars, as much as they can anyway.

This morning as I left for work I looked at the flowers and saw that someone was keeping watch:

Thanks, Rufus!  When I looked at the second window Telly, our Russian Blue rescue cat, was keeping watch there!  He wouldn’t stick around to be photographed, though.  Too bad – it was a cute scene.

Here are some more pictures and close ups of the flowers.  I hope I’ll still have a few more weeks of enjoying them, and I’m wondering – can I transplant the ivy and bring it inside over the winter?


Back Porch Flowers

I know it’s late to be getting any herbs, but a couple weeks ago I got some small ones and potted them up out on the back porch along with a few flowers.  I just couldn’t resist the urge to have something growing out there – I don’t want to have to wait until next year!  I’m hoping that some of the herbs can grow inside in a sunny windowsill over the fall / winter…if not, we’ll just snip them up and cook with them.

Here’s what’s on the back porch:

some sage and oregano mixed in among pots of geraniums and ornamental chili peppers.  I took the photo before cleaning up my compost – bin supplies, which you can see on the ground.

I am hoping that next year I can (or the landlord will) paint that porch to match the house…it sure could use it.

Here’s another view:

That’s a night-blooming Jasmine plant on the left, a lavender in the middle, and a lemon verbana on the right…with some rosemary in front.  The small fern – looking plant on the right in front is a Painted Fern which will go into the yard once I get a handle on what plants I’m going to have and what is going where.  🙂

Mission Accomplished: Window Boxes & Compost Bins!

It poured rain this past weekend (and man, did we ever need it.) but that didn’t stop me from getting some work done, thanks to the large awning over our back porch.

I’ve never planted a window box OR made a compost bin before.  It was great fun, and I’m pretty pleased with the results.

I went to the Chelsea Garden Center West in Red Hook and from their selection I chose purple Heliotrope for the center, lime-green Sweet Potato Ivy on either side, and bright pink “Million Bells” for the ends.  Hopefully they will last me another 4 weeks or so before I have to replace them with kale or something else that can handle the colder temperatures when they come!

I think they’ve done a lot to spruce up the front of the house, and I’ve already had some complements from a neighbor.  It’s nice having color from inside and outside the house.

Here’s a very unexciting photo of the front windows before we moved in:

and here it is now, cleaned up and with flowers! (I took these with my phone – probably not the best quality, but we’re still unpacking and haven’t found the camera yet!)

Close up of a window box:

Too bad about the bars on the window, but they’re a nice feature to have on ground floor apartments – and they’ll keep anyone from stealing my flowers or boxes, which has been known to happen – ha.

My compost bin in the making:

I made two – this one was with 1/2″ hardware cloth and the other is with 2″ x 3″ mesh galvanized “garden wire.”  Both have been completed and one is currently containing a yard full of partially decomposed leaves that had been there who knows how long before we moved in.  Perfect!  I’ll take them.

I’m glad I went with this wire-bin for compost…we are still playing around with where in the yard to keep these bins, so if we change our minds they will be easy to move.  Right now I’ve got them along the side of the house, which I think is the best plan – close to the back porch for dumping kitchen scraps, and enough room on that patch of ground for two bins so that we can add leaves as needed.

Wish I could get my hands on some untreated sawdust!  I did recently get FREE MULCH from Greenwood Cemetery – all you have to do is show up with a shovel and a bag (or five, as we did!) and go to town.  It’s available year-round…just to to the main entrance on 25th St. & 5th Ave. and ask the security guards where to go.

So a little progress was made…hopefully more this coming weekend – including picking figs.  We have 4 fig trees in the yard and they are literally dropping.  SO delicious!