A windowsill bark tray for little garden treasures

A windowsill bark tray for little garden treasures

I love giving gifts to gardeners. They can be so easy to please, as long as you know a little about their style. Miniature roses for the cactus lover would be a miss (but the cactus called miniature desert rose could do the trick). But when you’re talking about people who are happy playing in the dirt, you get to skip the mall, and never even change out of your muck boots if you don’t want. One of my favorite presents I ever received was a piece of bark. Let me explain. When the 18″ strip of curved bark first arrived (5?) years ago, it was a miniature succulent garden, with 2″ nursery pots of Haworthia, Stapelia, and Lithops. The orange plastic pots were completely disguised, nestled in among Spanish moss, topped with twigs, Tillandsias and sparkly baubles. You’ll have to use your imagination, because the originals have moved on to the compost bin, thanks to my limited houseplant nurturing qualities. Fortunately the structure lends itself to swapping out and rearranging. Picture little succulent gems like these: Clockwise from top left above 1. Stapelia scitula from Kara Cactus 2. Haworthia atenuata by Ryan Somma 3. Lithops herrei by Stan Shebs 4. Haworthia truncata by The Ruth Bancroft Garden 5. Huernia insigniflora by Almost Eden 6. Haworthia attenuata by Claire H. Many Tillandsias have come and gone as well, but I enjoy shopping for new ones when I lose one. There always seems to be some new (to me) variety to love. We had an embarrassment of Tillandsia riches on our Little Prince of Oregon field trip in the spring,...
The Plants of Union Way

The Plants of Union Way

Have you noticed a trend of stylish shops with stylish plants on display? I’m seeing a lot of good plants in new places, and I like it. My stepfather was stationed in Germany when he was in the military, and always remembers coming across a sign which read “Grün ist Leben,” green is life. Indeed. We never really knew what the sign maker intended. I guess it could be interpreted as a drug reference, but we like to think it’s a gardening thing. Recent Design Within Reach catalogs showed off their fancy pants furniture alongside big agaves and cacti. I’ve noticed agaves and yuccas and opuntia, oh my… in all kinds of fashion photography. It makes perfect sense to me. Plants should be a part of our lives. Grün ist Leben. Birthday-season has kicked off in my world, and I have a gift giving occasion just about every weekend from now through the end of the year, making September-December one big holiday party blur. For reasons I can’t explain, not everyone wants plants as gifts, so I’m venturing outside of the nursery shopping I’d really rather be doing during this frickin’ perfect planting weather. Happily, plants are having a moment in stores of all kinds, so there’s still some garden-y inspiration to be found while wandering the aisles. Have you been to Union Way shopping arcade in Downtown Portland? It’s like a very tiny outdoor mini-mall, with shops built around an open air alley. Nice shops for presents, but what really caught my eye were the wall mounted succulent planters. I like that the planters are not cookie cutters,...