Garden Photo of the Day

Part 2: Eye Catching Container Gardens from British Columbia

By: Kim Charles

 I've always wanted to plant up a succulent coral reef, and it was a dream come true in this hover dish. I was able to find some coral pieces and the sea fan in a local vintage store, a craft store and online.

Cherry Ong from Richmond, British Columbia, continues to dazzle us with her stunning container garden designs. 

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Meet hoverdish celebrating Canada's 150th Anniversary. The rock is a gift from a client as well (Yeah, my officemate said, "He gave you a rock. That's a first." I was elated of course!) I was thrilled my overwintered aeoniums came back to life in the Spring.  

Nothing says welcome home, more than spikes and glass.

One of my juicy colored, shade hanging baskets from this past season. It did very well through the three seasons in spite of worries that it would dry out or be too shallow to support these herbaceous beauties. 

Of course, gotta have cool colors as well. The hoverdishes are designed and made by the very talented Todd Holloway of Pot Incorporated, Vancouver, BC, Nice guy too! 

My growing collection of tentacle pots (made in the USA by pottery goddess Diana Moulds of Tentacle Arts Studio), Inky, Pinky, Blinky and Clyde. They are planted with smaller agaves, and hopefully they will stay in these containers for many years to come.  Agave 'Shadow Dancer', Agave applanata 'Cream Spike', Agave bracteosa Monterey Frost', Agave lophantha 'Splendida' – thankfully all available at a wonderful local nursery. 

I have learned to love salmon and orange. They are some of the best colors one can play around with in the garden. 

One of my cast iron succulent troughs. It was my first time to grow these succulents. Too bad they are not hardy in these parts. Take down day has been extra painful this year. 

View Comments


  1. jeffgoodearth 11/06/2017

    YOU are amazing!

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/07/2017

      I only learn from the best - you! Thank you very much Jeff.

  2. Jay_Sifford 11/06/2017

    Good morning Cherry. You are a master at what you do. Your passion shows!

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/07/2017

      Thank you Jay and thank you for inspiring home gardeners like me.

  3. cooksforfive 11/06/2017

    The mix of colors, shapes and textures is just lovely. And your tentacle pots are wonderful!

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/07/2017

      Thank you. I will surely let Diana Moulds know.

  4. tennisluv 11/06/2017

    Cherry, you are a great container gardener. Of course I went surfing for your pot makers and their unique pots. I am amazed at how lush your two herbaceous pots are after seeing the hover pots empty (did you use the EPO style?).

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/07/2017

      Thank you Sonya. They're both the shallowest one which is the Flango model. You're not the only one who realized that the pots are shallow for herbaceous plants. Even Todd Holloway had expressed his doubts - highly recommended that I water them daily. They were in bright shade (north exposure) and I filled them pot to the brim and covered the bare soil with moss.They were watered at least 4 times a week. I think the total volume of the dish is enough to support herbaceous plants even though they were designed for succulents. I'd be bankrupt if I had to plant all my hanging baskets with succulents (since I don't live in an area where they naturally thrive).

      1. sheila_schultz 11/07/2017

        Brilliant to add the moss! You might even be able to seriously mound moss covered soil with the right plants?

        1. perenniallycrazy 11/07/2017

          Thank you Sheila.

  5. User avater
    meander_michaele 11/06/2017

    Well, shoot, Cherry, I am going to have to do some house tidying after I finish writing because your container compositions just Blew My Socks Off...whew, good thing they didn't make my head explode! They are all just so super gorgeous. I love your playful's a gift that it is intrinsic to who you are. Your succulent coral dish is perfectly adorable and adorably perfect...will you be wintering it over indoors as a whole? or dismantling it and only saving off certain plants? Thanks so much for sharing these with us.
    ps I'm puzzled by why my email titles this Part 2. It seems like everyone else's comments reflect getting the link to the same set of photos. OK, a little research shows that that the actual Fine Gardening website has Part 1 as Photo of the Day. Hmm, looks like Kim has a bit of conundrum.

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/07/2017

      Thank you Michaele. Kim sent me a head's up this morning on what have happened. All's well that ends well.

      The hoverdish is sitting on plant stand by the kitchen window right now given our freezing temperatures since Friday. I'm supposed to dismantle it but I can't get myself to do it. I guess I'll have to wait for warmer weather to bring it out and dismantle. It's the only one I haven't dismantled. All other echeveria type succulents have been adopted by friends or topped over pumpkins for Thanksgiving gifts.

      This is how it looked like before being brought in.

      1. User avater
        meander_michaele 11/07/2017

        Whoosh...there go my socks flying off again. That looks so lush and opulent...I can certainly understand you not wanting to dismantle it. I have a succulent filled large owl planter that is finally starting to look good and, frankly, I don't have the heart to take the individual plants out for overwintering. So, I'm just going to bring the whole thing indoors including the cheapish table I have it sitting on and place it by a window in my living room. I suspect it will slowly start to wane but I'll get to enjoy it for a while longer.

        1. perenniallycrazy 11/07/2017

          It definitely will start to wane. Echeverias do not do well indoors. They need a lot of light and fresh air. Your comments made me laugh because as we speak I am looking out for a small table on Craigslist where I can sit my containers to overwinter. Wish me luck!

  6. Maggieat11 11/06/2017

    Brilliant use of wonderful plant material. And some very cool containers to work with. Thanks for sharing your fabulous creativity with us!

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/07/2017

      Thank you Margaret.

  7. mhebb 11/06/2017

    As an avid container gardener, I was thrilled to see your wonderful lush containers this morning, Cherry. You have a wonderful eye for color, texture and composition. Love the orange (one of my favorite colors to use in pots)! I know what you mean about take down day- I have one pot left with a huge Abutilon 'Biltmore Ball Gown' in it that I have been wanting to grow for years. It only started blooming 2 weeks ago and I just can't bear to dig it out. No place to keep it inside so I'll just enjoy it until it leaves. Thanks for sharing your beautifully composed containers with us.

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/07/2017

      Thank you Marge. I haven't tried to grow Abution and I would love too so I feel your pain. I think we both need greenhouses.

    2. sheila_schultz 11/07/2017

      Marge... you should post some of your fave container gardens!

      1. mhebb 11/07/2017

        I did post some of them earlier this season, but I'll be sure to post more in future. Thanks for the encouragement.

  8. frankgreenhalgh 11/06/2017

    Hey Cherry - I said I was going to keep my powder dry in Part 1, but checking Part 2 again I see that comments are in progress. You are definitely the 'Container Queen'. They are all amazing. I really like the succulent coral reef - it's a ripper! Also like the tentacle pots, and agree about the appeal of the colour orange in the garden. Cheers from Oz

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/07/2017

      Thanks Frank. Might as well join in the fun eh? Have the funnest summer. I'll be looking forward to the snow on my end.

  9. cheryl_c 11/06/2017

    Cherry, I've been admiring your container gardens for years, but this group outdoes them all! The coral reef garden is like an underwater photo, and I so agree with your comments about salmon and orange - I'm finding them much more complex and fun to play with than I ever imagined. Thanks so much for sharing your creativity and artistry!

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/07/2017

      Thank you again Cheryl. Peach and silver rock too!

  10. fredwiman 11/06/2017

    Wow, Cherry, these are really spectacular! The artist has a way with plants.

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/07/2017

      Thank you Fred.

  11. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 11/06/2017

    It's no surprise that these are amazing. Your tentacle pot collection works so well with the Agaves and with each other!

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/07/2017

      Thanks again Tim.

  12. user-4691082 11/06/2017

    I’m on my way to Texas this morning, so I hope I can keep up this week. Cherry, you never disappoint! I do love those tentacle fans- love the under the sea theme. They may also look great with the ‘under the sea’ coleus collection. I love orange and hot pink in the garden. I had a beautiful orange begonia that I grew from bulbs. Thanks for everything!

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/07/2017

      Thank you Rhonda. Glad you like orange and hot pink - nothing like turning up the heat with those colors. I'm a sucker for begonias too and have grown them for years though this year was an exception. Can't fit all plants into the budget.

  13. VikkiVA 11/06/2017

    Cherry, your succulents are beautiful. I am especially enamored with your tentacle pots. Wish I had been at your place when you did "take down day" on your cast iron trough. I would have gladly brought some of those beauties home with me to the warm southern U.S. Vikki in VA

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/07/2017

      Thank you Vikki. I would gladly share if you lived closer. I can't bear to throw the echeverias out to the compost bin so I cut them all up and made succulent topped pumpkins. Most of them were Thanksgiving gifts (our Thanksgiving here being in October). The others I repotted and gave them away to friends.

  14. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 11/06/2017

    Good morning Cherry. Wow! I missed part one but will go back and look at it for sure after seeing part two. You are a true garden artist and I never get tired of those tentacle pots but my favorite is the underwater creation and the glass spike pots.

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/07/2017

      Thank you very much Linda.

  15. Cenepk10 11/06/2017

    Goodness... Kingdom of Heaven beauty. Stunning-

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/07/2017

      Thank you.

  16. greengenes 11/06/2017

    Hi Cherry! Its so nice to see your work today! Succulents seem to be taking over the hearts of many these days! These are great containers and you really pulled off the theme of underwater! I love every one though. Yes, orange is a wonderful color to work with! I cant wait to see what you do next year! Thanks for sharing with us!

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/07/2017

      Thanks Jeanne. Your garden inspires me greatly. I look forward to more shared photos and videos from you everyday.

  17. User avater
    Vel Rhodes 11/06/2017

    Hi Cherry! Beautifully created! I also am a succulent lover and especially like how you have shown them off in those wonderfully wacky tentacle pots. I have never seen those pots before but am going to be searching them out for sure! Thanks for sharing!

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/07/2017

      Thank you Vel. Diana Moulds will be happy to hear for sure. Have fun searching and planting.

  18. Chris_N 11/06/2017

    I'm posting this comment on both part 1 and part 2 of your photos, Cherry. It's no secret that gardeners drool mentally (OK, sometimes physically) at the sight of wonderful garden photos. My email does not show graphics so it must be some kind of Pavlovian response that, as soon as I see your name in the GPOD email, I start to drool. I don't know what your design process is but clearly you put a lot of mental effort into each of your designs and they are wonderful.

  19. user-7008735 11/06/2017

    Beautiful combinations, Cherry! I especially love your "coral reef" garden. Do you remember where you found the two containers in the "glass and spikes" photo? I'm in North Vancouver, so it's great to get a lead on some local shops. I feel your pain about take down day; these early frosts have meant that several tender beauties which were still blooming away had to come inside for the winter at my place, too. Thanks for sharing your beautiful work!

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/07/2017

      Thank you Lorraine. Yes, I do remember where I purchased those square cast iron urns. I am a certified Craigslist fan. I picked them up on Craigslist 2+ years back. The seller was downsizing to a condo and she was a passionate gardener for at least 8 years. As soon as I visited her garden, she sold me on a whole lot of other cast iron and terra cotta garden planters and ornaments that she had. One of the best Craigslist hauls I've ever had. Good luck with your search. It's as much fun as planting them.

      1. user-7008735 11/07/2017

        Thanks, Cherry! I wonder where she got them. My car knows to turn in whenever we are near a nursery or garden shop, so perhaps I'll find some more like that.

        1. perenniallycrazy 11/08/2017

          The only store that I have seen these similar square urns was at Farmhouse Collections Ltd. on Marine Drive. The one they had was completely rust colored. They also had fiberglass urns. Southlands Nursery has all sorts of cool antique and vintage urns but I have never seen these square ones there. Good luck with your search! I recommend a lot of patience. Good ones come every now and then on Craigslist if you search regularly.

          1. user-7008735 11/08/2017

            Thanks for your reply, Cherry! I enjoy visits to both those shops, so perhaps I'll find some like yours one day. I haven't looked on Craigslist, so maybe I'll start checking there. Good idea!

  20. btucker9675 11/06/2017

    You are an artist!

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/07/2017

      Thank you Beth.

  21. foxglove12 11/06/2017

    Very creative and colorful. Thanks for sharing.

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/07/2017

      Thank you Lori.

  22. [email protected] 11/07/2017

    Ditto to what everyone else has said, and one more thing: love the giant chains you use to hang some of the pots. A very different look that I think I will try. Thanks.

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/07/2017

      Thank you. We searched for chains to make the hanging baskets more eye level so that everyone may appreciate the plantings. It also makes it much easier for a shorty like me to water them. Cheers!

  23. sheila_schultz 11/07/2017

    Cherry, Cherry, Cherry... I keep telling you this but your designs just keep getting better and better and better! Your work this season was exquisite, no wonder you had a tough time on tear-down day!
    The succulent coral reef container matured into amazing. The hoverdish celebrating Canada's 150th Anniversary was special, to say the least. Your shade, hanging planter had one of my all-time fave plants, Fuschia Autumnale. Dang... I adore that trailer and it was often elusive in the Denver nurseries every spring.
    I'll end this post with saying that you have a gift with container designs, my friend. It's been my pleasure to watch you blossom and I can't wait to see what 2018 brings to your garden!
    How the heck did I miss Pt. 1??? I'm checking my mail!

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/07/2017

      Thank you thank you Sheila. I've learned from some of the best and that includes you. I'm pretty sure you're learning and enjoying all the wondrous botanicals where you are. I hope you will share with us your adventures.

  24. brucedingeldein 11/07/2017

    Very nice

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/08/2017

      Thank you.

  25. bsavage 11/07/2017

    So beautiful, and inspiring! Glad to know that I am not the only one who struggles with 'tear-down day'.

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/08/2017

      Thank you Brenda. How do you get over that tear down day struggle? I would appreciate tips.

      1. bsavage 11/08/2017

        Oh, Cherry, I do not deal well with it, and it rarely happens in one day. And sometimes I put things off, (indefinitely), only to be angry with myself in the spring that my pretty garden ornaments that I couldn't put away are faring badly from being outside in Rocky Mountain Winter. The past two years we have been creating an autumnal vignette in our beloved shade garden, so we can at least still sit out there and have something pretty to look at, even after all of the plants are done for the season. This Sunday, we have to take our gazebo down, which makes me very melancholy, because that means we won't be sitting outside for several months. On the happier side, we are kind of a little OTT on Christmas decorations, so we will be moving our focus to going overboard with holiday decorations, which is also fun for us. Wishing you well!

        1. perenniallycrazy 11/09/2017

          Same here. Happy Holidays!

  26. NCYarden 11/07/2017

    Amazing, Cherry. Always outdoing yourself, and inspiring the rest of us, even if we have no chance of creating anything nearly as sublime as these containers. So.......much..........drool!

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/08/2017

      Thank you David. I'm sure you have more than enough perennials to start amazing containers in your garden (more than you know or realize).

  27. cynthiamccain 11/07/2017

    OMGosh, Cherry, I am in awe!

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/08/2017

      Thank you.

  28. user-6536305 11/07/2017

    So color coordinated, vigorous yet so clean and organized. You are a master at container plants. Thanks for sharing Cherry.

    1. perenniallycrazy 11/08/2017

      Thanks Lilian.

  29. thevioletfern 11/10/2017

    Such creativity! I love the antler and sea fan accents in the succulent planters which so often remind me of coral and the sea. The hanging planter with the sweet potato vines and the "ruffle" is exquisite!! I have to confess I have one of those tentacle pots because, how can one not? I love it! And yes, succulents grow in it. I might have to add to my collection ...

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