Garden Photo of the Day

Cherry helps a friend plant a fabulous garden

Cherry Ong gave us just a tiny tease of her containers in the comments on Friday–little did you all know, she sent me in a whole big batch of photos, so I'm sharing them today! She says, "Jeff's photos on Friday brought me to another place so went to look back at last year's garden photos. I sent some of Sylvia's (Cheng of Richmond, BC) backyard garden that we did a DIY makeover several years back. Well, last year, I came and we did up all her containers as usual and she also wanted to makeover her frontyard island. Here are some photos of the containers during the early fall shortly before takedown. The last few photos are the before and after photos of the island makeover in the summer. I think Sylvia has done a wonderful job of taking care of her containers and gardens and thought that I would share it with you. We can all look forward to summer like we did with Jeff's photos on Friday.
     If you look closely at one of the photos, her frontyard bed by the window and front door is covered. The bed was infected by goutweed so Sylvia is attempting the solarization method to eradicate the weed.  A friend gave her some bugbane and little did they know that the goutweed had also hitched a ride with it.  If all goes well, we hope to do another DIY project this year. Any suggestions folks?
     For containers, Sylvia calls me around spring time (usually in May) and I try to scout around for what's on sale and reasonably priced. We save up our perennials and switch them around in containers.  We shop for annuals to add to containers in a corner grocery in our area where they have bargain prices. The key is to shop on the first day that the plants arrive to get the best selection.  Funny thing when we shop is that Sylvia will tell me what she doesn't like; for example, marigolds. Well, last year, they had a huge selection of marigolds so I ended up getting those and she says that she never thought she would like them but she did. I must admit I have been naughty and making a habit out of trying out the plants that she doesn't particularly like…So call me crazy!  
     I am curious know the GPODers plans for their spring and summer gardens this year. It's proved to be a great way to learn to garden… even long distance." Cherry, you definitely have a distinctive style, and I, for one, LOVE it! I could spot an Ong-designed container at 50 yards…. Gorgeous. That bed is wonderful, too! Can you come to my house next??

Garden makeover before

Garden Makeover September 2014

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  1. Nurserynotnordstroms 03/13/2015

    Cherry,love at first sight,I want that begonia( pow)that's some striking color. I can't wait to get my begonias blooming. This all looks so lovely and great plant choices.

    1. perenniallycrazy 03/14/2015

      Thank you Glenda. I'm 150% certain that you can do it too - and probably even with more spectacular results. Here's how the begonias in their containers looked at the start of the season. It's amazing what a $1.50 annual begonia becomes with a little love and care!

      1. Nurserynotnordstroms 03/14/2015

        Ok Cherry,share your amazing secret to achieveing that size,I can't believe that was a $1.50 plant. I am so impressed(you are something else) I wouldn't have believed it had you not shown me the other photos.

        1. perenniallycrazy 03/14/2015

          When we pot up the containers each year, we renew the soil in the pot and add slow release granular fertilizer. I am not sure what Sylvia does after that so I will ask and get back to you on that. Dragonwing begonias rock big time, right Jeff?

          1. user-1020932 03/14/2015

            dragon wings are stalwarts and never disappoint ,,, always star performers

        2. perenniallycrazy 03/16/2015

          Sylvia sent a reply: She says all she does is water them so it must be the genetic makeup of the dragonwing begonias that make a huge difference. Have fun planting them up this summer and don't forget to show off your creations to us.

          1. Nurserynotnordstroms 03/16/2015

            You are so sweet to take the time to check with Sylvia and get back to me. Thank you Cherry. We have had a deludge of rain so gardening has been out? I was all set to garden today,they say sun tomorrow so I have high expectations for what I will accomplish,then we are in for six more days of rain. Spring in Seattle very typical weather but I am so very eager this year. Happy gardening to you Cherry.

          2. Meelianthus 03/16/2015

            Hi Glenda, hurry and get outside - sunshine! (after yesterdays floods!) before more rain. Oh well, we really did need it. Hopefully more snow in the mountains too. Happy gardening today. Linda

          3. Nurserynotnordstroms 03/17/2015

            Hi Linda,happy day I was out gardening all day long in the sun. Sore and tired tonight but I got a lot done in the front gardens. I noticed my fushia autumnale made it through the winter and is leafing out in the pot I planted it in last year so I am very happy about that. I hope you had a great day in your gardens. What is nice since I've seen your gardens in person I can invision you out working in one of your beautiful beds. I hope I get to see them again now that we have met. Looks like we have more rain on the way hopefully it won't be as bad as yesterday. Only a few more days and it's officially Spring. So nice to hear from you. Have a happy tomorrow. ?

  2. user-1020932 03/14/2015

    all knockouts all the time, you always always blow me away with your plantings and pairings. wish you could come to tennessee and help me every year in May.after seeing these i'm re thinking some of my container plans. Cherry, you rock

    1. perenniallycrazy 03/14/2015

      You and Michelle are making me blush. Thank you very much. If I had the chance, would be happy to visit Tennessee. I hope we get to meet meander1 too. It's going to be FUN!

      Jeff is being modest. Check out what his genius has been up to... and the best part is that he is teaching others to make this fabulous pot too. I want one of these bad!

      1. Nurserynotnordstroms 03/15/2015

        Oh so lovely, rocks are one of my favorites to add to my pots too. I will take one of these Jeff( how do you ship?)you put this in the perfect container. Oops I wanted to send this to Jeff. I hope he reads this I'm sure he will.

        1. user-1020932 03/15/2015

          i wish i could ship but this container is HEAVY! we will be potting up like crazy here soon, taking a load of succulent containers to charleston mid april

          1. Nurserynotnordstroms 03/15/2015

            Oh I was just kidding Jeff,but it is beautiful.

      2. Meelianthus 03/16/2015

        Thanks for sharing a peek at Jeff's container Cherry - it is fabulous !!

  3. User avater
    meander_michaele 03/16/2015

    Cherry, seeing these pictures of your vibrantly colored plant combos makes me feel like I just chug-a-lugged a couple of high energy drinks! I can't wait until I can get to work anticipation practically has me hyperventilating. I think I am going to be more obsessed than ever with sedums and succulents compositions and adding some evergreen type plants for height like you do.
    Kudos to you and Sylvia on how great the makeover looks...hope you'll take some pics on how it fills in even more through this year's growing season.

    1. perenniallycrazy 03/16/2015

      Awwww, thank you meander1. Sylvia has done a really marvelous job taking care of the garden! I haven't been buy to check on the island. We're still experiencing dreary rainy and windy cold weather right now so only a few things have come up. I can't wait to see your sedum and succulent compositions - you and Darwin have come up with the most monumental original creations I have ever seen! Please make sure you send in your photos, k?

  4. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 03/16/2015

    Cherry, I must say that I'm a little frustrated with you. I really need to get to work, but I can't stop reviewing your containers and makeover! So great! Fuchsia autumnale has been on my want list for many years, but I can never find it. I found a mail order source finally, so I need to order STAT. Is the other Fuchsia gartenmeister bonstadt? Just stunning and a great container performer for me. I have actually leave one rootbound in the same container every year. I cut it back hard in the fall, lug it to the basement and it leafs out and keeps on blooming. Thanks for your inspiration. The first crocus and snow drops here this week. So the snow drop isn't in my yard (Hi Mary!) but it still counts toward my sense of spring!

    1. perenniallycrazy 03/16/2015

      Frustrated??? Uh-oh, am I giving off that Martha effect? Not my intention. LOL. Last year was my first time to plant Fuchsia autumnale and only because it was finally available at the local nursery/corner store. You gets foliage and flowers too. Gartenmeister is a favorite container plant of mine too. I love it that you overwinter yours in the basement. Really wish I had a basement or greenhouse so I could do that too.

      Here's a before photo of the windowbox - it only shows great genetics just like the Dragonwing begonia. Can't wait to see what you whip up in the garden this year Tim! I always get great ideas from you. =)

      1. User avater
        Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 03/16/2015

        Wow! That looks stunning, even freshly planted. Love that geranium, too. Only frustrated because it is 70° here today, my work office is in a basement, and I want to work outside and then rest inside studying your fabulous combos! cheers and thanks for sharing, Cherry!

        1. sheila_schultz 03/16/2015

          Hey Tim... we're at 78! I added pansies to a retail client's evergreen winter pot this morning, then did a spring clean in one of my gardens. Not a bad few hours! Ohhhh... was I rubbing salt into a wound? I'm so sorry ;)

          1. User avater
            Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 03/16/2015

            Oh, no worries, Sheila. It's almost 70 here today. Of course I've spent the day at the office. In a dark room. In front of a computer. In the basement. Really, don't worry about me. I'll be fine. Really. Sniff. :) Cheers to spring!

          2. schatzi 03/16/2015

            I know just how you feel, Tim. Here in gray Puget Sound country, when I was working I always felt like a sunny day should be declared a holiday!

          3. User avater
            Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 03/16/2015

            Fortunately I declared a sunny-day holiday this past Friday, so I'm not TOO blue! It's still a little early to working in the garden here, but I did start expanding a back yard bed and doing some planning.

          4. sheila_schultz 03/16/2015

            I'd send flowers, but that would be inappropriate... The great thing is that spring is really on it's way, have fun planning!

      2. sheila_schultz 03/16/2015

        Isn't that a great geranium? I use it quite often... I think it was also Hort introduction a few years back. I love the before and after shots ;)

    2. eddireid 03/19/2015

      Hi Tim, please let me know your mail order source - this plant is stunning.
      Thank you.

  5. jagardener 03/16/2015

    Inspiration galore.Beautiful and unusual combinations and some are available and thrive in my zone. Thanks

    1. perenniallycrazy 03/16/2015

      Thank you jadardener. Happyto hear =).

  6. greengenes 03/16/2015

    Good morning! Wow, what a way to wake up to with all the bright colors! Cherry you did it again! You always stir up the pots with all of us! Your use of contrast and textures works so so well. You should be an ambassador for pot use! Or for certain plants to use in them! Actually you are doing that already! I really like the use of the begonia and I will for sure be looking for that this spring! And those heucheras are such a wonderful group of colors and they can be divided and you will have a lot more. It is all so beautiful. You have such talent for pulling things together and making them grow! Thanks for the inspiration in these last few days of winter! Would so love to see more!

    1. perenniallycrazy 03/16/2015

      Thank you Jeanne. I am absolutely crazy over heucheras. Sylvia and I lucked out on some on sale at the Home Depot. Got the Sweet Tea Heucherellas for $3 each. Hoping that I can ask for some transplants when they are ready for division. I sometimes shop across the border and I find that they have way more varieties and better prices at the nurseries and hardwares in Washington State so you will definitely be having more fun where you are. Can't wait to see your garden this year too. Cheers.

  7. GrannyMay 03/16/2015

    Beautiful! Cherry you never disappoint! You seem to have boundless energy and enthusiasm for creating new looks in your own garden and and for sharing what you have discovered with others. Thank you! Fuchsia gartenmeister bonstadt is one of my container must-haves every year, but I've never used Fuchsia autumnale. Seeing yours, I can't imagine why I have not!

    Sylvia is so, so lucky to have you shop for and plant up her containers and her garden! I can't wait to see what you do for the 2015 containers and with Sylvia's frontyard bed once the goutweed is gone.

    1. perenniallycrazy 03/16/2015

      Thanks Granny May. Planted Fuchsia autumnale for the first time last summer. Been looking around for it but didn't find it till last year. It is definitely a keeper. You not only get beautiful foliage but also gorgeous flowers as a bonus later in the season.

  8. sheila_schultz 03/16/2015

    THANKS, Cherry, for posting all these fun containers!!! You have such a creative eye, and you know how I love your use of texture and color. How did you know I was working on possibilities this week? You are the kick start I needed!
    I, too, adore Fuchsia Autumnale but it's always a tough plant to find. Originally it was a Hort Couture plant but now other folks are growing it, too, and it's much cheaper if you can find it. My local nursery seems to always have trouble growing enough to even come close to meeting the demand. I tried overwintering a few of the plants one year but I wasn't successful.

    1. User avater
      Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 03/16/2015

      Great minds think alike. I saw Fuchsia autumnale in a photo in a magazine with no identification four or five years ago. Do you know how hard it is to ID a plant doing an online search for 'simply gorgeous foliage plant that sort of sprawls'? :) I did it, though.

    2. perenniallycrazy 03/16/2015

      You were totally right when you told me to expect bonus blooms too. I didn't think our PNW weather was warm enough to support flowers but it was a pleasant surprise when it just flowered like crazy. I posted a before and after photo of my containers last year in my comments to Granny May below. Any hot tips for containers this year from the Container Goddess herself?

      1. sheila_schultz 03/17/2015

        My gut feeling, this year, before going to a nursery to find product, is to go lean and mean. Some of our new pots last year were too full. I'm needing more defined structure.
        PS I could do without the blooms from FA. They always screw up my color palette ;)

  9. GrannyCC 03/16/2015

    Thank you Cherry for your inspirational plantings. What fun to help out Sylvia, Sounds like you have a good system going.She obviously is caring for those pots because the growth is amazing.

    That goutweed is a real pain. I have tried covering it and pulling it and I think once you have it you have it. Good luck it constantly needs to be kept on top of.

    That lovely geranium is Pelargonium Vancouver Centennial. I have several and they overwinter in my greenhouse.

    1. perenniallycrazy 03/16/2015

      Hi Granny CC! You know, Sylvia also told me that she hates geraniums but thankfully Vancouver Centennial has changed her mind.

      Will keep you posted on the goutweed soon. Hopefully it has been eradicated successfully.

      Hope we get to meet soon. Take care.

  10. schatzi 03/16/2015

    Wow! Cherry, you never fail to inspire! I was going to ask what you feed that begonia, but you already said. I am going to have to plant that one this summer. Gorgeous! Love the before and after photos. The colors in the sedums and Heucheras add so much to that front bed. Jeff, I am going to duplicate your sedum planting, and I have just the rock to go in the center. It is a 6" high reddish chunk of something that reminds me of the Eiger because of its color and shape. I love it. And I love sedums and friends - they are bullet-proof! and pretty. The pot looks like an oil pan. How many holes did you drill in it? Great idea and they are probably inexpensive. That fuchsia is a beauty. I prefer the dainty flowered ones and I love that so many fuchsias are hardy outdoors here. I have some that have been in the ground for 20 years at least, and bloom dependably every year with just a spring pruning and some water. Sorry, you guys that actually get WINTER. But you can grow some things that I can't, like good hot weather tomatoes. We do get some heat, but not enough for long enough. Cherry and plum tomatoes ripen reliably tho. We are getting what we call a sun break today - gotta go!

    1. perenniallycrazy 03/16/2015

      Wow Shirley! Gotta see your fuchsias that are 20 years old. That must be a sight to beholden.

      Here's an overview of Jeff's awesome succulent container showing the rocks with more detail. I'll have to alert him regarding your questions.

      1. schatzi 03/17/2015

        Cherry, the first one I planted was 'Ricartoni' and it has just been awesome. Thanks for the pictures of Jeff's artistry.

  11. Meelianthus 03/16/2015

    Goodmorning Cherry ~ Soooo beautiful, I just love the Fuchsia and begonias in your pots and, well, just about everything you put in pots. Your combinations are always masterfully done. The garden island in Sylvia's front area is a wonderful garden (I think they should move the fire-hydrant across the street, I mean really, how insulting!) Is that a Sambucus in your second picture, lovely. Thanks Cherry for all the beauty once again.

    1. perenniallycrazy 03/16/2015

      How are you Meelianthus? Nice to hear from you! I hope you are feeling better.

      Can't do anything about the fire hydrant, the 2 utility panels in that island garden bed or the neighbor's tree so we have no choice but to work around it. Sylvia got the neighbor's ok to do the entire island bed so that was bonus enough.

      If you mean the tree with the burgundy foliage in the third photo, that is Acer palmatum Crimson Queen. Sylvia got the pot for free (neighbor was throwing it out) and asked to plant it up so we combined the Japanese maple with black mondo grass, some stones and irish moss and voila!

      Happy Spring to you! Hope we get to meet someday. =)

      1. Meelianthus 03/17/2015

        Wow, the Acer is beautiful, somehow it didn't look like a Crimson Queen, stunning ! We will meet next year at the NWFG for sure. I wouldn't miss a single year - as long as I am still vertical ^_^ Happy almost-Spring to you too.

        P.S. Just kidding about the fire hydrant - well, not really *_*

  12. Cenepk10 03/16/2015

    Such unusual combos.. Very artful and so sophisticated. I really enjoyed seeing the pics and thank you !!!!

    1. perenniallycrazy 03/16/2015

      Thank you Cenepk10 =). Happy Spring!

  13. sheila_schultz 03/16/2015

    Cherry... what would we do without you? You are not only the GPOD 'Cheerleader', but you also inspire all of us with your creations and designs.

    1. perenniallycrazy 03/16/2015

      Awww, thanks Sheila.

      1. sheila_schultz 03/17/2015

        Those weren't just words Cherry... you are a gift to so many of us. Just sit back, smile and enjoy the happiness you bring to your friends.

  14. eddireid 03/19/2015

    Gosh, Cherry! The containers and colors are stunning - what talent. I'm in love with the Japanese maple and the brilliant green of the grass. Absolutely beautiful. I'm so plundering everyone's ideas!

    1. perenniallycrazy 05/08/2015

      Hi Eddi. Please read the caption on this link and kindly send me a private message on Facebook for more information. Regards, Cherry (Perennially Crazy).

  15. [email protected] 03/20/2015


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