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no imagination

Posted by Gruenwelt z9 - SF Bay (My Page) on
Sun, Sep 15, 02 at 23:35

I recently had a little upgrading done to my house, a 30s cottage on the northern end of the San Francisco bay, which included the addition of several window boxes, two tall planter boxes (36 high and 24 wide), and two squatty planter boxes (9 high and 24 wide). I might add that these are all Wedgwood Blue, which turned out to be a whole heck of a lot more electric and vibrant than the little one-inch paint sample.

The short planters are on either side of the single step up to the porch. The tall planters are on the two front corners of the porch. The porch roof is about 10 above the floor. The porch faces east.

The front yard has several deciduous trees, and spring through fall the house is nicely nestled in greenery. But during the winter the yard is rather barren and the house looks a little bleak. For these containers Id like to focus on planting that will be at their best during the winter.

So thats the story. What do you see in those boxes? I'm pretty clueless.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: no imagination

Hi Gruin..What's the coldest SF gets in winter? How about bromiliad, asparagus fern, bromiald, asparagus fern. Are you looking for annuals, perrenials, or tropicals?
Or Moss rose, hanging peperomia, etc. I wish I lived in your climeate. My imagination would peek to its highest. Toni

RE: no imagination

Toni, thanks! I'll check these out. The moss roses would be so cool.

To your first question, there are a lot of micro-climates around here. In my location, which is much warmer than SF, we had a freeze once in the last 12 years.

As to my requirements, I'm looking for low maintenance perrenials. Especially in the health department; I went organic a decade ago.

For the big containers, I'm envisioning something that will grow about 10' - maybe some columnar evergreen.

However the demands at work are escalating repaidly, so I will probably have to just hire someone to do this. I'll check back in when it's done.

Is there any way to post a digital image at this site? I see that there is a journal, but that appears to be only for contributions to the database.

Green wishes,


RE: no imagination

I planted a big pot next to my front door, under the porch facing West, with a small cupressus macrocarpa Goldcrest. I wanted an evergreen, but didnt want to pay a fortune for a picea albertiana without knowing whether this would work out. The Goldcrest, which can be quite tall when planted in the ground, has kept a very mannerly size planted in the pot.

To add some spice to the composition, I have planted around the evergreen:

- For Autumn interest - yellow mums - they are blooming right now, a real show stopper. At other times they stay green
- For Spring interest - yellow daffodils, light yellow and strong pink hyacints - it was such a beautiful show back in the Spring!
- For Summer interest - nasturtiums which I started from seed, plus the mums flower occasionaly
- For Winter interest - small poinsettias in pots, which get tucked in where there is a space. Plus the evergreen can be decorated with bows (I used red ones) and lights at Xmas time

I also used a sheppards hook inserted in the pot. In Spring I had a hanging basket with bidens, in Summer I substitute with a wind chime (too hot to keep the basket well watered). At Easter time I had some Easter decorations hanging from there as well. The pot has about 60 cm diameter.

I have found that with one single pot I can have interest all year long and it looks very pretty when seen from the street, plus it didnt cost me a fortune. Hope this helps.


RE: no imagination

That's a very imaginative and versatile scheme. The pictures of Monterey Cypress in database are dramatic. That spot in your yard must be an eye-catcher.

To be honest, I'm a little overwhelmed by the possibilities. I'm going to have to mull this over for awhile.

RE: no imagination

gruenwelt don't forget hard scape :) i have read that winter is the time to show off the garden's bones, the stone work walls, blue stone paving, etc, it's the only time of year you can really see and appreciate those things. also it is the time for seeing the structure of plants which have died and gone to plant heaven until spring, the tall feathery spires of ornamental grasses, etc.

RE: no imagination

Another great suggestion! I love the pictures of Old World gardens with the stonework and masonry and wood features. If the infrastructure of my garden was of that quality, I would show it off, but my property is far more modest than that.

Our climate is a bit unusual here, too. In the SF Bay area, though our winters are rainy and gray, it is also our green season. Though the trees are bare, the hillsides in the country become lush and sensuous green. After the rains stop, there is a short spring, and then the hillsides start turning brown - a condition that last from April to December.

As to my new planter boxes, I created a homepage and put some pictures there if youd like to see. When you get there, click on the PICTURES link on the left.

Here is a link that might be useful: my homepage

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