So Succulent

It might be in vogue to be succulent nowadays? I’m not talking about our bodies. I’m talking about our plants! Succulents are popping up all over Pinterest lately. (Actually someone could probably make a career out of being a trend-spotter on Pinterest. Any takers?)

We live and garden in zone 5 in the Chicago suburbs. Some succulents are fine year-round in my gardens – they make it through the winters and survive through the lack of watering attention in the summers. They’re pretty and tough. But what’s most interesting to me are the succulent gardens people are making in containers, which you can keep indoors or outdoors, probably anywhere in the world. (And I can see, this blog gets visitors worldwide!) Let’s take a look …

Found at Armstrong Garden Centers, this combo of succulent shapes, colors and textures inspired this entire post. It’s beautiful:

Succulents in Container via Armstrong Garden

I should note I may mix succulents, sedums, aloe and cactus here. I don’t get into plant classifications enough to know exactly what is a succulent and what is not. For this post, maybe I’m looking for the sensual side of a plant that “looks” succulent as we think of the word – the thick juicy leaves, the textures from fuzzy to thorny. Something about succulents appeals to our senses when we look at them and sometimes we can’t help ourselves but reach out and touch them. And the baby succulents – they’re so cute, they have the appeal of puppies. You want to take them home and take care of them and grow them. Maybe that’s why people are liking succulents so!

I mean, seriously, don’t you just want to pinch these little guys. They’re like little fat cheeks and toes:


Succulents can also be very grown-up and architectural. This is the coolest presentation of a Schartzkopf aeonium I’ve ever seen. I love this plant. Had one for awhile, should get another one. Via Michael Coghlan flickr:


And this, dripping with succulent goodness:

Succulent Wall Garden via Nadia Knows Gardens

Mmmmmm … more succulents, from Rooted in Succulents on etsy, where you can get your own letter full of succulent plants:

Monogram Succulent Container from Rooted in Succulents on etsy

Okay I could just repost the entire internet’s supply of succulents in containers. And let me tell you, that would be a looong post because there’s a lot of succulent garden gorgeousness out there. If you like what you saw here so far, trust me, you will want to visit this container succulent gallery at Houzz … and this gallery at Better Homes & Gardens. Enjoy!

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Perfectly Placed and Patina’d Garden Pots

In Chicago the summer weather season is shorter than so many other places in the world. So at this time I spend many hours outdoors in our gardens. I love unusual pots and vessels for plants. One of our neighbors has an enormous Vietnamese lentil pot tucked by a pond in her gardens, and it’s meaningful because her husband was in the business of importing foods from Southeast Asia.

These pretty pots were at Jayson Home:


Jayson Home is in Chicago but so much of their style is MY style, I fear I’ll go bankrupt in there! I once cut through their gardens on the way to FLOR next door. Closest I got to Jayson Home in person. Need to go back and linger longer.

If you want a privacy screen near a patio or deck, this is a nice way to do it. This article says boxwoods are okay for planters, although it is Southern Living and I don’t know the long-term impact of keeping boxwoods in pots in northern climates. These are generous 36″ planters:

Boxwood in Planters via Southern Living

I love the ivy climbing this rustic pot and the Japanese Hakonechloa grass spilling over beneath, from Pam Pennick’s blog Digging:


This obelisk trellis is a different shape than the usual and goes great with this pot:


Beautiful mix of proportions in this little garden scene. Planters from Italian Terrace in the UK:


And this pot with patina from the same source, beautiful:


If you don’t have a garden, you can still have beautiful pots. Like in the bathroom. Why not? See, like this stunning bathroom scene here via Cyndy Aldred of The Creativity Exchange:

Rustic Pots in Bathroom via Cyndy Aldred

Beautiful, right? Looking back over these, as some women have a “type” with men, I clearly have a “type” with garden pots! And men too, but definitely not crusty and good grief certainly not mossy as I like my pots, but that’s another post for another day …

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The Old Amethyst Gardens in Chennai

Yay! Today is the official start of frost-free gardening in Chicago. My gardens look really sparse, things just poking up now. So for now, here are photos of a gorgeous garden that was an oasis amid the great loud hustle and bustle of Chennai. These photos are from Amethyst, which I’ve heard has now moved. This was a walled garden — walls tall and substantial enough to keep all the honking at bay!

This is my style of garden: a bit unusual, bold shapes and color coming more from the leaves than flowers.

Amethyst Garden Chennai



With each step you took, the city receded further and further away.


This collection of pots was near the spot where we dined on Amethyst’s covered veranda.



It was an inspiring and refreshing place. The new location also has lush gardens, an escape from the city.

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Allium Floral Fireworks Centerpiece

When the globes of allium flowers burst so big in the spring, they’re always a surprise. I know they’re there, lurking under the soil surface, but each year the bulbs spread and the display gets more spectacular.

But what’s more surprising is the fireworks display that remains after the first burst. It just lasts and lasts. Yes it’s a bit neutral in color, but you can spraypaint dried allium flowers any color you want, or dust them with twinkly sparkly powder. Each year, a landscaping business near us paints its huge allium globes purple to keep the color going into the summer.

I popped dried alliums into a quick and easy table centerpiece in our sunroom:

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