Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Watch this space, Martha!

Today saw the fruition of the stacking planter idea I first saw in a Martha Stewart magazine layout, and I show you the results.

The idea is to stack one planter on a support, inside another, and a third smaller one on top, kind of Russian doll idea, plant all of them, to get a nice vertical display and make terrific use of the tiny footprint of the space at my disposal.

Now the astute reader will immediately note that there are features here not seen in Martha. Nowhere are the matching clay pots, carefully calibrated and probably hand thrown in some ceramic workshop, nor the perfectly amended and soil-chemistry-knowledge-laden potting soil, nor the handwritten waterproof labels, and nowhere will you see evidence that a plumb rule was used to attain a perfect vertical. Nor will they be planted with rare plants brought specially from the Himalayas by hand reared yak.

However, other than that, it's exactly the same. I used old coffee cans as the invisible supports, any planters that would fit into other planters, and the regular old potting soil I get at the hardware store.

And I made sure to do my special squirrel repelling process, namely to soak cotton balls in peppermint essential oil (not the flavoring stuff you get at the grocery, this has to be the essential oil, which I get from the herbalist), which you then poke into the pots, about three per pot.

Squirrels hate this stuff and avoid it for the whole season unless it rains heavily and dilutes it, then you just redo it. We specialize in squirrels and this is a big deal to stop the critters from doing their usual deal which is to dig out what you planted, upend it, chuck it about and then go play somewhere else. I'm told it works for mice and voles, too, but we have so few of them it's not an issue here.

And I plant with that wonderful flower roll carpety thing I had a ton of success with in previous years, before it wasn't possible to find it anywhere for a couple of years. That;s the green stuff you see in the planters -- seeds embedded in fiber with food and other useful stuff.

Now it's back, not in garden places at all, but in, get this, gift catalogs! some of my best gardening helps have come from Carol Wright and Walter Drake, most unlikely places considering they specialize in leetle tiles to stick behind the sink or special tools for accomplishing the sort of housework you wouldn't dream of getting involved in.

So today I did the Sunny Garden roll, sounds like a happy dance, and when my back recovers, I will do the Shady Garden stuff. This is the year of the Stacking Planters. I'm going all out to see what they will do. Out front, too, when I get my moxie back again.

There are enough perennials going on around here that it won't exactly look barren if they don't flourish as expected. And I have a passel of houseplants just waiting to get outside for the summer, like going to camp. So there will be Stuff Growing.

It's just fun to see seeds come up and wonder idly what they are -- the carpets have many species, some wild, some tame, and you get to research what you have growing in your own yard.

So, watch this space! no doubt you will be regaled, or bored to extinction with my excitement as the season progresses. And if you try this yourself, send pix!


  1. Your writing is entertaining. I look forward to seeing your carpets/pots bloom. We don't get those seed carpets over here I don't think.


  2. I think I'll give this a try. Interesting tip about essential peppermint oil and squirrels...I've used it for migraine (a dab on the temple or back of neck) and learn, or something.

  3. I love those stacking planters! Even indoors I'll bet I could do something with bought plants...and it's always been a disappointment for me that those roll-out things full of wonderful wildflowers or what have you were not around when I had a garden and back yard...I've even contemplated buying one and laying it down there beside the creek after the daffodils (hand planted) are done (if they come up again this year). Such a cheering blog you have! I'm just catching up.

  4. I'm as charmed with your space and your ideas as I am with your voice and art! (And feeling more motivated by the minute!) I've wondered so many times about the seed carpets! On your say-so I will definitely be looking for them now!


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