Garden Photo of the Day

READER PHOTO! Hens and chicks in a cage

Click here to enlarge this photo.
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jan Meissner

Today’s photo is from Jan Meissner in Avon, Ohio. She says, “Antique bird cages make great planters for succulents. This cage sits out all year long, (for 2 winters so far) and the only upkeep is a daily spray from the hose in the hottest months of summer.” So cool, Jan!

Jan’s garden was featured in the GPOD a couple of weeks ago. Remember this amazing woolly thyme? We’ll feature another photo from Jan’s garden tomorrow.

Welcome to the Fine Gardening GARDEN PHOTO OF THE DAY blog! Every weekday we post a new photo of a great garden, a spectacular plant, a stunning plant combination, or any number of other subjects. Think of it as your morning jolt of green.

Sign up to get new posts delivered to your inbox each morning so you’ll always remember to take a look, or subscribe to our RSS feed. We look forward to sharing our garden travels with you.

READER PHOTOS: We love featuring your photos, too. If you think you have a photo that we should share on the Garden Photo of the day, email us. Send hi-res images if possible. We’ll only respond if we plan to use your photo.

View Comments


  1. oldsquaw 05/03/2011

    I want to know what potting mixture Jan uses to maintain this wonderful display. It's amazing and I love hens and chicks.

  2. nhartsfield 05/03/2011

    This is amazing! Does it stay out in the winter too?

  3. TeriCA 05/03/2011

    That was my comment too...what potting mixture is she using for the succulents to attach to? Thanks!

  4. DreamGardener 05/03/2011

    yes - what does this look like under all that glorious plant matter?!

  5. LakeLivingMary 05/03/2011

    Will Jan be willing to share the technique she used to load the birdcage with potting soil? Thanks!

  6. nadwa 05/03/2011

    hi,,, it is need an protection in winter and no is name Aeonium.

  7. MichelleGervais 05/03/2011

    Hey all! I emailed Jan to let her know that you're all desperate to know how she created this. Hopefully she'll find a moment today to let you know. Stay tuned!

  8. petuniababi 05/03/2011

    I truly love these!!!They are my favorite succulents,that and sedum.I also want to know what kind of soil she is using.

  9. Happily_Gardening 05/03/2011

    WOW, spectacular! Great way to recycle, go green! I love succulents too, planting them in cactus soil mix. It's a sandy type soil that allows for good drainage; therefore not keeping the feet/roots wet. Too all the time and roots will rot. I have two thriving pots full that I planted a few years ago. One is a delightful huge teacup with big tulips painted on it and a sunny yellow saucer attached. Some of the cactus/succulents I have grow what looks like webbing on top of them...looks really cool.

  10. greenthumblonde 05/03/2011

    HOW TO: For most bird cages the bottom slides out or comes off. Turn the birdcage upside down and line the bars with large sheets of moss. Fill with potting soil (I used Miracle Grow with the slow release fertilizer) as you work your way up the cage. If you are filling a large cage, be sure to give a little structural integrity to the interior of the cage by laying cut wire from coat hangers across the interior, resting the ends on the wire cage. This will help keep the whole thing from squishing or settling over time. When your cage is packed tight with dirt, water it while it's upside down to be sure the soil is moist and the cage is very full of top soil. Put the bottom back on and flip it over.
    The next step is to punch holes in the moss with a screwdriver and wiggle it around to make a planting hole. Take your little succulents, and stuff their stems or roots into the holes. It's painstaking, but so is weeding, and this is the opposite action. Space the larger plants evenly around, or near the top. Fill in the sides with the little chicks. When you are done stuffing, give the whole cage a light watering to make sure the plants have good contact with the soil. Have fun!

  11. greenthumblonde 05/03/2011

    I forgot to mention, because a bird cage is so airy and open on all sides, I did not use a cactus soil mix. Traditional potting soil drains and dries out very fast because there are no sides to hold moisture in. After winter I just snip off the little chicks that are dangling. If the bird cage you use has a deep bottom, punch a few holes so water is not sitting in it.

  12. MichelleGervais 05/03/2011

    Thanks, Jan (blondeartist)!!

  13. sheilaschultz 05/03/2011

    Very sweet, Jan. It wouldn't have occurred to me to leave it outside for the winter, even though I have had hen's 'n chicks happily growing in my garden for years. Duh???

  14. arboretum 05/03/2011

    i WANT ONE!!! puhleeeese!

  15. DreamGardener 05/04/2011


Log in or create an account to post a comment.

Related Articles

The Latest