My vertical hardy succulent frame from scratch
Each year for Garden Walk Buffalo, I tackle one large project. Last year it was the hellstrip planting. Year before it was the bed of heuchera (coral bells) complete with a homemade copper heuchera fountain. One year it was the dwarf pear espalier, another year it was the Harry Potter Garden. One year it was the checkerboard garden. Another year it was the rock garden with rocks from our trips and travels.
|Laid out as I plan it in my head. My wife says |
I spend more time looking at things than doing things.
Once this is up, there's pretty much no more room outside walls in the backyard for hanging things. Between the house and fences, I've got an ornate grate, a collection of Garden Walk Buffalo posters, three mirrors, a fish head fountain. a diamond-shaped dwarf pear tree espalier, and now this succulent frame. The gallery walls are now full.
I'll be asking for hardy succulents for Christmas this year (hint hint). I need to fill it in as full as I can. In addition to hardy succulents, I have some Scotch Moss that was growing elsewhere in the garden, and a few sedum.
I found a place online that sells hardy succulent plugs in large quantities and in many varieties and colors. I may buy a tray of those. In addition, Arrowhead Alpines has a decent selection, though not in larger quantities, and not all a lot that are hardy in my zone - but in some great colors! For now, I have grow lights over the frame. I have until April to collect and let root before it gets picked up, moved outside and hung.
|I figured that I'd be having to add soil to it as soil settles once it's hanging. So I left an opening across the top.|
I can water it from the top if I want, too. Corners were secured with corner "L" brackets.
|Rigged up a table to work on to lay out all the pieces.|
|You can see why I chose the chair rail trim. I had considered a rough barn board but this was cheap and easy.|
|Once I had the frame done, I stapled chicken wire to the edge that the frame will be attached to.|
|I looked up plenty of succulent frames online before I began. Very few are this large.|
|I started collecting a few hardy succulents a few weeks ago. I'm a zone 6, and I won't be taking this in for the winter so they all have to be hardy. I don't have nearly enough to fill the frame, but I have all winter to collect and add as I can.|
|Plus, over the summer, I had been encouraging a couple hypertufa pot-fulls of hens and chicks that I had on hand.|
|I just kept layering on the colors: blue, purple, another green.|
|Then I found a can of the iridescent orangy-red from our kitchen. |
I went in with a fine brush in the lines around the frame.
|Next was adding drainage holes. There's landscape fabric stapled across them on the inside to keep dirt from getting out (and on my house).|
|I had some plastic netting from another project around, so I added that to the chicken wire. It's really more to hold the sphagnum moss in, more so than the plants.|
|I added a first layer of sphagnum moss for holding the plants in and holding the soil in.|
|After the sphagnum moss was the soil I used some soil meant for cactus and succulents then on top of that some regular potting soil, mixed with vermiculite to lesson the weight.|
|The top edge will need more soil as it settles when it does get hung up.|
|Once teh back is secured to the frame I turned it over. DAMN was it heavy. When I take it outside in the spring, I be enlisting help.|
|Then the fun part. The planting!|