Garden Photo of the Day

For the Love of Succulents

By Kim Charles

Judy Dawson gets creative with ways to protect her treasured succulent containers.

"My name is Judy Dawson and I reside in Newcastle, California.  Our area, in Zone 9B has experienced freezing temperatures and and abundance of rain. This has presented challenges in prtoectin my succulents that are too heavy to move.

My husband no longer uses his crab nets, so I removed the rings and he sprayed them. They were in different sizes, so I arranged them in what was once a fountain, and added the cactus potting mix and planted my succulents. The rings provide support for frost cloth during the freezing temperatures and an old shower curtain protects against drenching rains. For pots without rings, I use ceramic mushrooms or iron garden art to keep the frost cloth from resting on the succulents.

Other succulents are arranged in a large grouping, so my husband made a PVC A-Frame so that they can be covered with one large frost cloth."

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  1. user-7008377 03/27/2017

    Gorgeous collection of succies and planters!

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 03/27/2017

    Obviously, I'm gaga over your succulents but I also love your ingenuity in coming up with ways to be able to kick into action and protect them from the danger of unwelcome cold temps. Those sprayed black rings make super attractive garden about beautiful form and function. It was really a treat to see such mature succulents.

  3. frankgreenhalgh 03/27/2017

    Hey Judy - I enjoyed learning of your innovative, interesting and attractive ways you protect your lovely succulents. I especially like your plants in the ex fountain. Great work. Cheers from Aussie land

    1. perenniallycrazy 03/28/2017

      Hi Frank! How are you this week?

      1. frankgreenhalgh 03/28/2017

        Still kicking Cherry!

  4. User avater
    treasuresmom 03/27/2017

    You are so creative! I wish I had just a tad of that for myself!

  5. user-6841468 03/27/2017

    love the use of the rings... beautiful and creative.

  6. Quiltingmamma 03/27/2017

    Clever and creative - who says practical has to be ugly and utilitarian? Very nice. I love the crab trap hardware 'sphere'.

  7. annek 03/27/2017

    A great idea, Judy. Your succulents must love your consideration and I love your ingenuity. I'm copying this good idea!

  8. VikkiVA 03/27/2017

    Genius Judy! I have one very heavy cement planter full of succulents that I must bring into the garage every winter so I can appreciate how you have "worked smarter, not harder." Here is a pix of my planter from last summer.

    1. User avater
      Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 03/27/2017

      That's a beauty, Vikki. Do you refresh it every year? So many succulents seem happy to stay put for years in a container.

      1. VikkiVA 03/27/2017

        Thanks Tim, I do have to do some pruning and transplanting when a plant gets to "rambunctious" for the container. My problem is seeing a succulent I don't have and resisting the urge to buy it and add it to the pot. Something I'm sure many of you can relate to. Vikki in VA

    2. sheila_schultz 03/27/2017

      Vikki... I agree with Tim, you put together a beautiful tapestry of succulents in this container. It's stunning!

      1. VikkiVA 03/27/2017

        Thanks Shelia.

    3. User avater
      meander_michaele 03/27/2017

      Well worth giving that beautiful collection some winter R and R in your garage, Vikki. Some plant combos are just too special not to go above and beyond to keep them intact.

    4. User avater
      LindaonWhidbey 03/27/2017

      Nice color and texture selections, Vikki.

    5. user-7007140 03/27/2017

      Love this. Beautiful colors and variety.

    6. user-7007498 03/27/2017

      Vikki your container design is awesome. How well does it hold up in the low light of the garage. I am trying to add succulent containers to my garden, but thinking about winter storage.

      1. VikkiVA 03/28/2017

        It does fine in the garage Kevin.

    7. frankgreenhalgh 03/27/2017

      Very nice Vikki.

  9. user-4691082 03/27/2017

    Good morning Judy! You and your husband are mighty clever. The bent rebar is my favorite! Hey, I didn't think zone 9b got any frost! There you go Vikki- now you don't have to bring them in!

    1. Chris_N 03/27/2017

      Lows for zone 9b are 25-30 degrees (F). Even 10a is 30-35 so they can get a light frost. It's not until 10b that you are completely frost free!

      1. User avater
        Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 03/27/2017

        Thanks for saving me the time to look that up, Chris. Rhonda's comment was my very first thought: What? Frost in 9B? Gracias!

    2. VikkiVA 03/27/2017

      I wish I could steal this great idea, Rhonda. I'm afraid my 8A garden can get well below freezing during the winter so I don't want to risk leaving the planter outside. Last Christmas hubby gave me plastic rolling carts so I can move the heavy plants in and out of the garage as needed. Vikki in VA

  10. Chris_N 03/27/2017

    Judy - you have gone from drought to deluge this year. As others have said, you've come up with a creative and clever ways to keep your succulents from drowning or freezing. Love all your containers.

  11. tennisluv 03/27/2017

    Judy, what innovative and attractive ways you have come up with to protect your succulents from too much water and too much cold. As others have said, I think the re-purposed fountain w/black rings is artistic and pretty. Thanks for sharing.

  12. sheila_schultz 03/27/2017

    You've come up with a very creative and clever solution to the whims of nature, Judy. I like how the rings in the fountain mimic the arches over the fountain... great idea. What we won't do for our beloved succulents!

  13. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 03/27/2017

    Thanks for sharing your creative and your great succulents. Love them. Those black rings are really, really cool. Now I'm going to have to search to find round rebar crab net rings to put all over my garden. The game is afoot!! :)

    1. sheila_schultz 03/27/2017

      I bet your fingers are already typing feverishly looking for the new art for your gardens!!!

      1. User avater
        Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 03/27/2017

        You bet!

  14. KarlaRoady 03/27/2017

    Thanks for your examples! I planted succulents in an old fire pit last year. Here in rainy Southern Oregon with its temperate climate I thought they didn't need any coverage. Well, they made it okay but they don't look stellar So I will follow your example this coming fall. I had other succulents that were in movable pots so they're just fine. Your ideas were just terrific.

  15. GrannyCC 03/27/2017

    Great ideas and a wonderful selection of succulents.

  16. schatzi 03/27/2017

    Wonderful creativity! Beautiful plants and installations. Love the repurposed crab pot sphere and the PVC arch - beautiful. I will have to add some curves to my garden after seeing this. PVC is great to work with. My husband built 2 shop light support structures for my orchids and Gesneriads and they are so much happier with adequate light. Vikki, your succulent dish is beautiful too.

  17. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 03/27/2017

    Good morning Judy, I love your creativity in protecting your lovely plants. Those of us
    that don't live in warmer climates don't realize how cold it can actually get. It was a surprise to me this winter in AZ when I saw people wrapping their water pipes and covering their plants with sheets but like CA, they had a much colder, rainier winter. Your first photo of the repurposed water feature is great as are your aeoniums. Hopefully, the cold there has changed to warm spring weather....we're still waiting for that up in WA.

  18. user-7007140 03/27/2017

    I live in zone 5- and my foyer is getting very full of tender plants that I cannot bear to allow death. Your post Judy has given me some lovely ideas. Not sure how brave I shall feel about abandoning the dearvthings to snow and ice but will work on a project which protects from sudden frosts thanks to you and your clever husband.
    Tim is looking for old crab nets - hmm, not sure how many he will track down in central Ohio. Way to go Tim.

  19. user-7007498 03/27/2017

    Judy, I love your containers with succulents. The use of the old fountain with the rebar is fantastic. Love using the mushrooms as art and as a support. Thanks for posting.

  20. Cenepk10 03/27/2017

    Wow ! Cool ? Loved this !!!!

  21. perenniallycrazy 03/28/2017

    I was sold on the first photo Judy! Your resourcefulness and inventiveness (as well as hubby's) seal the deal! Hope to see more of your garden in future posts.

  22. bsavage 03/28/2017


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