To think of the plants I’ve babied along, knowing in a dim corner of my brain that its days are numbered. But once the synapses fire in earnest, stand back. Mind you, I don’t always record the before scenario–because once I get it in my head it’s okay to get the ax, I need to act fast–in case I lose my nerve. Funny, the things that nudge me down the gardening path. No straight logical line. How about with you?

I went to a workshop last weekend–at Bob Hyland’s Contained Exuberance shop–adjacent to Xera Plants in SE Portland. I’d been to one other of Bob’s workshop before, and as it turns out, I learn something new every time. That’s how it is when you talk to other gardeners–not to mention trained professionals.

I was excited upon entering and espying the wine. And then I learned it was for color demonstration purpose only. (They’d have opened it if I insisted–or even just made the casual suggestion–but I was driving my own self that day–so I didn’t carry on. I’m just saying, workshops with wine tasting, could work out for both parties.)

Contained Exuberance Workshop with Landscape Designer.
Contained Exuberance Workshop with Lynn Wolfstone, Portland garden designer, APLD.

Here’s Bob sharing the ins and outs of pot life–construction technique, wall thickness, and durability. All pots are not created equal. Honestly, duh. Where have I been?

Bob Hyland explaining ins and outs of pots.
Bob Hyland explaining ins and outs of pots.

The primary reason most of my pots have gotten through winters unscathed is because I’ve a tendency to fall for the most expensive option.

This pot and a few like it have been with me for years.
This pot–planted with Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’–has been with me for years.

I can’t deny the durability. I bought several similar of this type, and they’ve all performed terrifically–for many seasons. Doesn’t that Japanese Silver Grass look terrific. I LOVE grasses in pots, though I may have waited a bit too long to pull and divided. I won’t make that mistake again. After wrestling with the compacted roots for several days, the roots came out–bit by bit–and the pot made it out of the ordeal unscathed.

Got way crowded in this pot, but my trusty Hori Hori helped me out.
Got way crowded in this pot, but my trusty Hori Hori helped me out.

I justified the cost by telling myself, but these are my forever planters. Hahaha. I always use that line on myself. You’d think I’d stop falling for it.

So just adding a new bit of pizzaz now and then, that can give you a lot of bang for the buck. (She tells herself, insisting it’s not a complete makeover.)

Look at this cool finish.

Look at this cool finish.

Wouldn’t it have been great if I’d tucked the tape out of sight. (Of course, inquiring minds probably like to know.) Below, is its bigger brother.

A little bigger, with more blue.
A little bigger, with more blue.

And then same pot from another angle. Just flip it around and it’s like having two different pots in one.

Dark side of the moon in this shot of the same pot.
Dark side of the moon in this shot of the same pot.

In my next life, I’m going to learn how to pay attention to the presenter and take decent photos. But you get the idea. There is so much fabulous color and texture in the shop.

Turquoise inspired. looks good with so many color combination
Turquoise inspired, which looks good with so many other colors.

The shape of this red dappled pot is dynamite. I covet them all, including the book atop–which contains more info on pot options.

Another shapely pot, in the red variety.
Another shapely pot, of the red variety, with book atop–about the very pots.

Lots of texture.

A whole new area of negotiation: cement pots.
A whole new area of negotiation: cement pots.

I’d have trouble putting these outside. Do you do that, buy things for the garden, and then keep them inside?

You'd swear this one came from ancient ruins.
You’d swear this one came from ancient ruins.

Back to the workshop. Armed with our chosen color palette, Lynn sent us to foray in the Xera Nursery and pick plants to pot up. It was a terrific exercise–learning to employ a little restraint. And it was so much fun: shopping with no expense whatsoever. Well, except now I want all the plants we picked out too.

Grouping three pots makes for a terrific scenario.
Grouping three pots makes for a terrific scenario.

That’s my selections in the front pot. We coordinated flower choices in the other grouping, and topped it off with Knifophia in the tall urn. (And I want that urn.)

Oh, yes, that fountain at the top of the post. I fell in love with it before it had even been assembled. I know it’s a quality fountain. Because as mentioned, I have a way choosing first and pricing second…

The fountain cap looks groovy enough to be an art piece on its own.
The fountain cap looks groovy enough to be an art piece on its own.

In this ever growing story, I mean to get around to telling you how this pot extravaganza led to some serious editing in my garden–and a rethink of my own planted pots. Then in the middle of this all, the patio crew showed up. Needless to say, I’m super excited–and totally distracted. But that’s a story for another day.

Torn up yard. Fingers crossed it'll get better.
Torn up yard. Fingers crossed it’ll get better.

Just because it’s raggedy chaos out there is no reason to panic. Right?

The upshot of Bob’s Contained Exuberance workshop, I came home and gave my existing pots a critical eye. And then the next thing I knew, I was not only moving and cleaning pots, but also busy yanking plants from the garden. Inspiration had struck.

And now, we have total yard tear-up. (In my defense, it was Bill’s idea. He said: maybe we could use the tax return for the pavers. I was only following his most excellent suggestion.)

It’s all nerve wracking just on the face it, and also a challenge when one works from home. The animals are settling in after a couple days, while keeping a close eye on me. I need to watch where I step when I open a door. This is not a usual sleeping spot for Pumpkin.

Pumpkin and Mister guarding outside the door while I shower.
Pumpkin and Mister guarding outside the door while I shower.

But it will all work out, right?

Cheers.