Garden Photo of the Day

Jeff’s out-of-the-ordinary containers in Tennessee

Today’s photos are from our old friend Jeff Calton (tntreeman) down in Tennessee!

He says, “Midway through the season and some things were a hit and some were a miss and some were total duds. I experimented a lot with succulents at home this year and at a few clients’ gardens and I will probably do more with them next year.

My garden and containers are always a research project so see what works well before I start using them on the job. Yes I have way too many containers but I can’t seem to stop.”

Don’t stop, Jeff! Your sense of humor shows best in your containers! Thanks so much for checking in—we’ve been missing you like crazy around here. 

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  1. perenniallycrazy 07/18/2014

    These are truly signature tntreeman - BIG, BOLD and BEAUTIFUL! Love them all and can't wait to see more everyday.

    1. user-1020932 07/18/2014

      thanks, Cherry, i played with different sorts of things at home this year just to be crazy, relieve the monotony of traditional container planting, experiment with succulents and to provide some "fun" stuff for the grandson to discover. iwill send Michelle pics of traditional containers from jobsites a little later

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 07/18/2014

    Well, Jeff, I confess that I smiled as soon as I saw the subject line and your pictures didn't disappoint,! I'm confident you gave your grandson lots of "Eureka" moments as he discovered your signature sense of humor treasures tucked in amongst the plants. Looks like you and succulents are a match made in heaven. You know that I've gotten quite addicted also and I'm already in half panic mode thinking about the choices I might have to make when the cool weather hits...sigh...who gets chosen to come inside and winter over. Are you going to regard your new purchases this year as annuals or have you already committed your heart to some as keepers?

    1. user-1020932 07/18/2014

      some are keepers , some will be gifts, a lot are going to a friends greenhouse and he can propagate off them IF this rain doesn't do them in. it's raining now and high chance of rain thru monday

    2. sheila_schultz 07/18/2014

      You have definitely been bitten by the succulent/cactus bug, Michaele! Yay! They are so much fun to design with... not many plants can bring the drama that these plants just naturally exude. I think I might have a new project for Darwin in case he is getting a bit bored... a greenhouse ;)

      1. User avater
        meander_michaele 07/18/2014

        You know, Sheila, as I keep putting containers together and think how I can't bear the thought of them not surviving through the winter, a wee greenhouse is a very appealing idea. Do you have a way to winter over your prize winning (literally) masterpieces?

        1. sheila_schultz 07/18/2014

          Michaele, all the succulents and cacti come inside mid-Sep and get to go back out mid-May. The S & C that are in pots w/ annuals, etc., are re-potted. The large yucca that is now about 8' tall gets to stay downstairs next to a bank of windows along with 3 or 4 other large containers. The rest get carried up to the 2nd floor and take residence in the 2 nurseries upstairs, otherwise known as guestrooms, and the Little Shop of Horrors! We turn down the heat to around 50, add more lights and place as many plants as possible next to the windows. It's quite the production... thank goodness for my husband and son-in-law. I refer to them as my 'muscle'! We'd give our eyeteeth for room to have a greenhouse ;) Message me on FB if you want more details.

          1. User avater
            meander_michaele 07/18/2014

            Fascinating and inspiring, Sheila!

  3. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 07/18/2014

    I didn't get an email today so I am glad this geriatric brain thought to search this out. Wonderful, Jeff! I am trying to pick a favorite. What in the world are those galvanized (?) plant-stand-like planters? They don't look repurposed. I love them. I think I spy a tire rim, painted and planted up, right? In the container with the canna and the miscanthus, there's a bluish plant that looks like a tillandsia grouping? The picture is so small on my high-res work monitor that I can't really tell what it is. Happy gardening and wishing good drainage on your rainy days!

    1. user-1020932 07/18/2014

      tim, those plant stands are discarded fire pits. i'm a scavenger and yep that is a tire rim, that's my repurposed planter, found the rim along the road, the plants were all discards, throwaways and the opuntia was found inside a bale of pine straw. the bluish plant is a blue mediterranean fan palm . i'm going to email you a pic of my newest Agave discovery, i got a deal

  4. annek 07/18/2014

    You've done it again Treeman! Gorgeous combinations designed with lots of fun and humor. The combination of cactus and blue succulent in the perfectly matched blue pot is wondrous, and after I stop giggling, I'm going to look for a hand to crawl out of one of my pots. Oh, and what is the deep purple plant at the base of the hand's pot?

    1. user-1020932 07/18/2014

      Annek, that deep purple plant is an Oxalis, it has escaped life in captivity and is now sort of a weed problem thruout the other beds. i'm watching it rain and reading / looking at your print feature in this issue of FG,,,,,,,,,again. love everything about your place

      1. annek 07/18/2014

        Ewww, how can such a pretty color be such an evil weed? Thanks so much for your comments about the article. it's quite heady to see your garden in a magazine as impressive as 'Fine Gardening'. As I've said before, Michelle is an awesome editor and her photos are incredible.

        1. User avater
          meander_michaele 07/18/2014

          Annek, let me second, third and forth Jeff's compliment about how wonderful your feature article is in this recent issue of Fine Gardening. Magazine I felt like a lottery winner yesterday when my hard copy arrived. I positively devoured the pictures and so enjoyed reading your warm and engaging commentary. Everyone is in for a real treat if they haven't received theirs yet!

          1. annek 07/18/2014

            Meander, you are the BEST! Thank you for your generous praise!!

          2. perenniallycrazy 07/18/2014

            Can't wait to receive mine... the wait will be excruciating... I usually get mine about 2 weeks later than everyone else.

          3. user-1020932 07/18/2014

            Cherry, remove your shoes before reading AnneK's article because it's gonna blow your socks off

          4. annek 07/19/2014

            Treeman, you're a character! Don't I remember that you were designated as "GPOD Mayor??"...such a worthy and appropriate title. Thanks for your kudos!

          5. annek 07/19/2014

            Way to long to wait for the magazine....But you do have all that lovely weather up north, so I guess it's worth it.

          6. User avater
            meander_michaele 07/18/2014

            Ha, looks like I'm not the "best" when it comes to spelling...I managed to leave out the "u" in fourth and instead channeled my inner Abraham Lincoln:

            Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

          7. annek 07/19/2014

            Those fingers were just flying awfully fast as you typed away!

          8. sheila_schultz 07/18/2014

            I finally got the new FG mag... Annek, your gardens continue to take my breath away. The colors and textures are sublime. Seeing the beauty you have created, annuals will be more comfortably used to fill in the spaces of my gardens in the future!

          9. annek 07/19/2014

            Wow, Sheila. As you (and Jeff and many others) are professionals I bask in the warmth of your praise. Actually all of the GPOD family has my deep respect and gardening admiration. Thank you!

          10. sheila_schultz 07/19/2014

            We're all just gardeners in the end trying our best, but sometimes our best efforts don't satisfy our vision. For whatever reason I have rarely used annuals in my gardens. Times they are "achangin". Thanks for the push!

    2. User avater
      Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 07/18/2014

      Definitely congratulations on your article! I haven't cracked my Fine Gardening copy yet, but will look as soon as I get home. Michelle is definitely a great editor and it is a heady experience, isn't it? I've got to start a new bucket-list now. cheers!

      1. annek 07/19/2014

        i'd love to hear your comments. Ha! Does the bucket list include a trip to Montana?

        1. User avater
          Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 07/19/2014

          I traveled to Montana way back in high school in the late 70's and remember it as being so stunningly beautiful. I think I even found faith sitting alone in the mountains by a stream looking at moss and calypso orchids! Maybe it needs to go on my bucket list! Loved your garden on GPOD. Love it more from the article. Beautiful photos and very interesting article. It has taken me years to start to adopt your incredible attitude of taking what thrives and running with it, although the hipster collector in me still rears its ugly head: "I was growing that plant before it was available!" attitude. I remember a time when every garden in every magazine was from PNW. It's great to be seeing gardens from so many climates now, like yours. Kudos!

          1. annek 07/19/2014

            Sounds like Montana was a poignant visit. I can't think of a better way to find faith than through nature.

            I agree, it's so difficult not to get caught up in the newest 'star of the moment' plant and experimenting is so darn much fun. Ahhhh, the difficulties of plant addiction!

  5. sheila_schultz 07/18/2014

    Keep on playing around Jeff, you've come out with some winners here! You certainly have touched on all my faves... succulents, cacti, skulls and head pots ;) I must say, though, that the pot that really caught my eye, as it did Tim's, is the one with the Blue Chalk Sticks and the zebra grass + . There is something really comfortable about that group of plants.
    Oh... did I mention how much I love the creepiness of the hand? I am soooo copying that idea!

  6. GrannyMay 07/18/2014

    Beautiful and crazy fun! Always lots to love and lots to think about! Jeff, you find the most beautiful discards!

    Did you put together that "cage thing" over the baby head pot? It looks like chicken wire over a frame with a finial on top. I've been putting plain chicken wire cages over my young plants now just to keep the rabbits from chewing them down to the ground - very ugly - so am trying to come up with a more decorative form of temporary protection.

    1. user-1020932 07/18/2014

      May, i found those birdcage things on a clearance rack all shiny so i immediately put them outside to rust. i normally use them as rabbit cages to protect young plants but i decided to cagethat baby head.

      1. GrannyMay 07/18/2014

        Thanks Jeff. No way I'll be lucky enough find any for sale here, but I will try to copy that look from scratch, maybe with copper tubing.

        1. user-1020932 07/18/2014

          May, you can make copper teepees if you don't want to bend so many tubes

          1. GrannyMay 07/18/2014

            Back in 2001 when I was a bit younger and stronger, I made a framework out of cedar and flexible copper tubing so that I could put netting over a small strawberry bed. It DID take a lot of work, but was prettier than chicken wire....

          2. User avater
            meander_michaele 07/18/2014

            Downright classy looking, GrannyMay...a very stylish design.

          3. User avater
            Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 07/18/2014

            Submit this to Michelle for the Fine Gardening tips section and earn a few bucks for sharing this super cool structure!

          4. GrannyMay 07/19/2014

            Tim, thanks for liking my strawberry protector. I don't know where the tips section is. I'm only familiar with GPOD.

          5. User avater
            Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 07/19/2014

            The reader's tip section in the print magazine says to submit tips to [email protected], although maybe this structure is less of a tip and more of a short article on how to make an attractive, mobile, crop protector! I guess I am just super enamored with how beautiful this is! Maybe just emailing the photo to Michelle G at GPOD will get the best advice.

          6. GrannyMay 07/19/2014

            Thanks again Tim! It was one of my favourite projects. My "strawberry spider" did its job very well for many years, then I re-purposed it to support my Bonica shrub rose. I added three long 2" x 2" cedar legs, put it into place beside the center of the rose, then twisted the copper legs more horizontal to be trellis-like. It works, but the look is utilitarian, not not pleasing as I had hoped it would be. Sigh! Fortunately the rose hides most of it now.

          7. sheila_schultz 07/18/2014

            GrannyMay, that's gorgeous! I never knew you were a multi-media artist. Tim's right, submit the photo and idea.

          8. user-1020932 07/18/2014

            May that is the coolest thing i have ever seen, you could sell those and call them "garden spiders" i love it even if it wasn't protecting something. you rock

          9. GrannyMay 07/19/2014

            Thanks Jeff. Funny you should call it a spider - that is what I named it too, though it had only 6 legs. It was fun to make, once! I could never charge enough to cover what they would cost to make now. Copper prices have gone through the roof.

          10. annek 07/19/2014

            Oh GrannyMay, it's gorgeous! I agree with Tim...submit it to Michelle and we'll all drool over the magazine pages!

  7. lesliefarrelldelongpre 07/18/2014

    I am so glad I saw your pictures today. I loved all the combinations, and can't decide which one I like the best. I love that you plant "outside the box". I'm seriously going to think about succulents for next years gardening. I will be looking for more of your work. Thank You!

    1. user-1020932 07/18/2014

      Leslie, i'm glad you liked my stuff! i drag everything home and re use it , troughs made from old gas grills, broken pots,kettles,it's fun to see just what we can use "junk" or "trash" for ,,,not sure if i'm a scavenger or a hoarder

  8. susanclemens 07/18/2014

    I love using unusual containers and I especially love your table garden!

  9. eddireid 07/18/2014

    Well, I finally worked out how Jeff manages to achieve all that he does: really he is visiting from a different planet where there are more hours and days to play with. No other explanation fits.
    Wonderfully creative and whimsical containers Jeff, so many ideas to ponder and work into things of beauty.
    As usual I love that you share it all. Thank you.

    1. user-1020932 07/18/2014

      i'm an alien! i knew it all along, it explains so much :) Eddi, i always have lots of plants around here to work with and it's fun to re purpose junk that i find on jobsites

  10. Meelianthus 07/18/2014

    Hello Jeff ~ a gardener can NEVER have too many pots! and you really seem to have a great joy in creating yours. I just love all of the succulents which you so artfully combine in your wonderful arrangements. I love the idea of the repurposed firepits, which I never would have thought of - my favorite object is the 'hand'. How delightfully creepy.

    Can't really grow succulents here as my place has very little sun but I am really enjoying yours so thanks for sharing all.

    1. sheila_schultz 07/18/2014

      Meelianthus, surprisingly, a lot of succulents do best in shade! A gardener's life is full of opportunities ;)

      1. Meelianthus 07/18/2014

        Thanks Sheila, I do have some in the shade but they just don't seem to do so well. Guess I will give it another try as I really do love them. Linda

        1. sheila_schultz 07/18/2014

          Light shade is best for many w/ a bit of dappled sun thrown in... the key is extremely low water. I water some of mine every 2 to 3 weeks, even if it hasn't rained. Too much love is almost always a killer!

    2. user-1020932 07/18/2014

      Meelianthus, the problem i have here with succulents is keeping them dry enough, i have meltdowns from time to time and some will just turn to mush over night, i have , however, finally figured out how to grow Lithops

  11. PeonyFan 07/18/2014

    Cool containers!

  12. GrannyCC 07/18/2014

    What fun Jeff. I can see I am going to have to work on my creativity. Especially like the birdcage and the hand. I once had a lovely birdcage and stupidly sold it at a garage sale!! May, I love your cover for the strawberries. Don't think I ever saw it.

    Lots of inspiration today.

  13. greengenes 07/19/2014

    Better late then never, right? Well what an encouraging blog today! So many wonderful ideas. Jeff I so enjoyed the pots. Suculents up here seem to melt if you don't keep them sheltered somewhat. I do like them but it seems I haven't made the time to really get into them. I do have a couple in the house year round though.
    That's great that you come across stuff to reperpus with. There are so many things that some people don't want and others do! Love it all! Thanks for sharing with us....

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