Thursday, November 13, 2014

Succulent Gardens: Table Top and Vertical


Table Top Garden

Scanning garden magazines has given me so many ideas; I cannot keep up with them all.  Two such articles grabbed my interest and so I went to work on the creation of some succulent gardens.  My hubby, Mike, supports me in most all of my projects, especially in the out of doors.  
So I asked him to build a table top frame with legs and without a bottom; outside dimensions of 15" X 40".  We bought table legs and he screwed them into the bottom of the table-like frame he made. You can buy the receptacles at the hardware store and screw them into the bottom of the frame so the legs get screwed into these receptacles.  Then we dropped, into the bottom of top frame, a steel chicken nesting tray which had over 100 holes in the bottom for aeration where the chicken farmers would place straw on top.  The table top frame was made the size of the steel nesting tray so it all fit.
Right on the top of the steel chicken nesting screen, I put a double layer of burlap and then an inch layer of really good potting soil.  I searched the flea markets for old calf nursing buckets which originally would have a rubber nipple so the warm milk (mixed with ground grain) was gobbled down by baby calves.  Did I mention that I grew up on a Kansas farm?  That was just one of my jobs growing up on the farm.  We then found really old used water faucets and mounted them in the hole where the old rubber nipple used to be.  All of this was just for effect. I’ve used those old buckets in other places in the garden, along with my many vintage watering cans I collect.

Tabletop garden finished prior to planting

I also used other kinds of buckets, vintage watering cans and pots for the garden and planted the different kinds of succulents in the pots as well as into the garden soil surrounding the pots.  I painted the garden legs and frame a slate grayish blue color.  I live in planting Zone 7 and to protect my succulents I bring them into the house in the winter.  This section of our outdoor living area is a real joy to tend and the many varieties and colors of the succulents are a lovely addition to the patio.  The added fact that Succulents rarely need watering, maybe only once each week, may appeal to many.

The other article on succulent gardens I picked up on in the gardening magazines, was how to build a Vertical Succulent hang on a garden wall. I like a good challenge so I wanted to tackle this idea.  So,  I found a good old oak drawer for $4 at an estate sale that had a little character.  Ever since I was a young girl, I’ve had this small drawer where I used to keep my diary and “secret” things hidden.  It came out of an antique secretary in my parent’s basement that was there when we bought the farm in 1947.  Mom probably wondered what happened to that little drawer which I am sure is well over 100 years old by now.
I drilled a couple of holes in the bottom of both drawers  in a couple of places but not sure that was necessary. I filled the boxes a little over 3/4th full of good potting soil and pressed it down.

Filling drawer with soil

Chicken wire can be purchased at hardware stores by the foot (and is 36" wide) and using sheet metal clippers I cut enough to fit each box plus about an inch more on all sides. Bending down the 1 inch on the inside of the box, I stapled the wire to the box on the inside of the box all the way around.

Stapling in the chicken wire

Hardwood drawer with brass inset pull
I then pushed succulents of all colors into and through the chicken wire. Just for aesthetics, I stuck in sphagnum moss through the wire and pulled some to the surface to cover up some of the wire.  It’s just that easy.  Oh yes, I screwed small metal cup hooks about 5 inches down on the outside on both sides so that I could make a hanger for the vertical boxes.
Succulents should maybe be watered once a week, so they are of little care.  Water lightly so that you do not wash out the plants.  I think birds from time to time like to carry off some of the sphagnum as I will find a plant or two on the ground under the box and missing sphagnum.  If you do not see yourself doing this from scratch, I did see boxes ready to plant on a bottom shelf at Home Depot in the gardening department.

Little Red Drawer

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