up the wall

Garden trends come and go and for the most part, they leave me cold. A few years back, tropicals were all the rage and palm trees started appearing in front yards everywhere. I had no interest in babying an unhappy banana tree through the seasons so I let this fad pass us by.
This year, however, the garden magazines, centres and blogs are all over "vertical gardening" -- taking plants to new levels by bringing plantings up walls and fences. We're not just talking vines either; planting shelves attached to fences, planting bags that hang from nails, and my favourite, the succulent picture frame!
My Guy was pretty excited about this one too and he built some beautiful frames then helped me plant -- truth be told, he did more work on these than I did.
Now, before anyone out there says "I want one too" I'll just make it clear. This is a labour-intensive project. If you want one, you'll have to make it yourself -- but I've documented the process here to make it easier for you!

Start with a beautifully constructed box (or two). Ours are cedar, with copper nails, hardware cloth, and a plywood backing. The small one measures 53cm X 23cm X 4cm. The large is the same width and depth, but 115cm long.

I  researched what soil to use online, listening to podcasts and talking to nursery staff. In the end, the easiest and most reliable choice was to use a commercial cactus mix. Altogether we only needed 15.5 litres of soil to fill them (formula for how much you need is length X width X depth in centimetres divided by 1000 gives you litres).

I bought a flat of succulents as we don't have many in our garden,

and I separated the little "chicks" and let them heal and dry a bit for a couple of days.

Next, we planted -- clipping the hardware cloth where needed for the larger plants --

... and planted, and planted, and... well, this was the labour-intensive part. There were a lot of tiny plants to place.

Until finally we were done! The frames need to sit horizontally for 4 to 6 weeks until the plants take root which seems like a long wait. But they make beautiful table-top displays this way too, so it's not really a problem. Bet you can't wait to make your own!


  1. Older Sister of Your Man25 March 2013 at 12:25

    They are beautiful DoOver!! They will be fabulous once affixed to the wall.

    Funny thing here though - tropical plants are all the rage in the gardens here. People have gone overboard with them in fact. Everywhere you look there are tropicals - bananas, papayas, mangos, coconuts, palm trees, hibiscus, plumeria, aloe vera gone wild. It is unbelieveable. The plants seem to be thriving too which is even more amazing. No babying banana plants here...... ;)

    Oh, and yah, I want one too!


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