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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.

three boxes

I like that the planters are not cookie cutters, just a mix of plants that can tolerate a bit of time in a low-water setting, before getting swapped out to keep things looking happy and healthy. The Haworthias in the photo below make me happy. You don’t see them too often. And the plant with the rounded leaves, third from the top right? I’m blanking on the name right now. I want to say it starts with a G? Update: Gasteria. And the spotty one, second from the bottom right also catches my eye, but I forget the name, even though I have a happy one growing in my kitchen as we speak. Update: Ledebouria, thank you Tim for the enlightening comment.

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I like the mix of Aeonium, sempervivum, echeveria, aloe, sedum, haworthia, and whatever the currently unknown guys are. With the occasion piece of lichen tucked in for good measure. Do you suppose the red lichen is dyed?

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The light filters through skylights and beams, so everything has a bit of a dreamy cast to it.

vert box side view

I always like seeing cobweb sempervivums, they look so impossible.

vert box succulent mix

I’d like to update with actual plant names as I track them down. If you spy any familiar plants in here, I’d surely appreciate any identifications. The one I surely should recognize is Aeonium ‘Sunburst’ since it’s tattooed on my arm, but the rest I’m not so sure.

vert box dreamy

I think a planter like this would make a good gift, even for the non-gardening inclined, so I’m going to pull together a list of good candidates for this type of planter. I hate to remind people that don’t relish this season, but the holidays are sneaking up on us.

vert box succulent mix red lichen

vert box red lichen

succulent box aeonium sunburst wide

If you too are enjoying a bit of a cool off, I wish you a happy kick-off to the fall planting season!

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