Garden Photo of the Day

Sheila’s house in Colorado is bursting at the seams with plants!

Today's photos are from our good friend Sheila Schultz out in Denver (previous posts HERE.) She says, "As many of you know, I live in Denver and I am passionate about using succulents and cacti in my container gardens. They cannot survive our winters outside, so thanks to my wonderful husband and son-in-law they are all 'muscled' inside before the evening temps go below 40 degrees, generally mid to late September. The big boys take up all the window space on the first floor, and the rest go up to the 'nurseries', which are two bedrooms on the second floor. Jim, my most patient husband, adjusts the lighting where possible. He found arms/splitters that get screwed into the can lights in the ceiling, each holding 2 CFL bulbs. Our light switches have timers, each set for 12 hours of light a day. The vents are closed in the nurseries and the heat is turned down to the mid-50's. I also added fans on timers in each room to circulate the air which has made a huge impact on winter pests! Watering… only when necessary. Many of my C & S are dormant in the winter. By May, the plants are safe to head outside and I am more than ready to get them out of the house!
An aside… as many of you know, Colorado was the first state to legalize the growing of marijuana. Thank goodness our neighbors know that I am obsessed with my plants, so they haven't called the police to report the lights glowing at all hours with plants in the forefront of most of my windows!!! BTW, I have also included a few of my houseplants, obviously we are shower, not bath, folks!
     Enough of the inside, spring will eventually come, so the outside photos were taken a few ago before we got more snow. In Colorado, our winter temps are like a roller coaster, 70's one day, teens the next. Unfortunately we had several days of 70 degree weather recently, so my perennials and bulbs are more than confused. All the growth makes me hopeful, but being a realist, it may be an expensive spring, especially since we had a really hard and unexpected November freeze before the plants, shrubs, and trees had a chance to harden off. So many opportunities for new plants, I guess?
     I will end this with our girls, Coriander and Cayenne. They are so over this plant thing!" Oh, I just want to snuggle up with those pups, Sheila! I admire your perseverence with overwintering. I gave up a couple of years ago. I would bring tons of plants in, and then never water them! Horrible, I know…..But when it's winter, I cannot get my head into any kind of physical gardening, even though I think and breathe it at work! Bravo.

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  1. user-1020932 02/26/2015

    ok, i freely admit that you are more crazy than i am and that IS a compliment. anxiously awaiting the annual succulent migration here due 3rd week of april

    1. sheila_schultz 02/27/2015

      Jeff, the really crazy thing is that 50% of the overwintering plants weren't even shown in these photos :) and yep, I am nuts!

      1. user-1020932 02/27/2015

        welcome to my world,,i think we make pretty good company

        1. sheila_schultz 02/27/2015

          You got that one right Mr. Calton... well until you bragged about your succulents heading outside mid-April. That was just downright rude ;)

      2. greengenes 02/28/2015

        What!? And your husband dosent mind? That's so nice!

  2. perenniallycrazy 02/27/2015

    Thank you Sheila for enlightening me on how to overwinter cacti and succulents (C&S) indoors. No wonder I have no luck? I haven't been doing anything close to what you are doing. I love all your little accessories especially the headpots and the ceramic skull in the first photo. So much fun!

    Are you still able to take a bath in your tub? I have placed wooden shelves on ours and sit all my orchids and some houseplants there. The orchids love the spot and are mostly blooming at the moment.

    BTW, I love "the big boys" downstairs especially that combo in Todd H's handsome container. I see an Agave but what are the other two plants with it?

    CO looks cold from your photos. I hope that Spring comes the soonest. Fingers crossed! Was so happy to have met you and daughter (as with the gang) at the NWFGS... let's do that again and hope Jeff, meander1 and the others are able to make it too. (or somewhere back East next?)

    1. greengenes 02/27/2015

      Hi Cherry... I would love to see some pictures of your orchids! Hm..... Did you see that wonderful "Orchid" garden at the garden show? They had some very unusual orchids and oh some of them smelled wonderful too!

      1. schatzi 02/27/2015

        Jeanne, I drooled over that orchid garden! Gorgeous! Very few orchids are scented, so it's a treat when you find one that is.

        1. greengenes 02/28/2015

          Oh Yes, wasn't that awesome! It was my favorite! Iam going to Costa Rica next month so iam hoping to go to some gardens and see their orchids in the wild!

          1. perenniallycrazy 03/02/2015

            Have a wonderful trip! I will be looking forward to your garden photos. I can already see you smiling Jeanne! =)

      2. perenniallycrazy 03/02/2015

        Went crazy over the NWOS exhibit. They always outdo themselves! You're totally right about the scents. Sorry to be macabre, but I distinctly remember the sweet scent of cattleya blooms at funerals when I was growing up. They widely use orchids for funerals in the Philippines. Plumeria and Jasmimum sambac, known as sampaguita were the other popular scented flowers used.

        Here's a photo of the few orchids/houseplants that I have. I confess that I am one of the lazy ones as to bringing plants in during the winter months.

    2. sheila_schultz 02/27/2015

      Hey Cherry, if you look closely at the 3rd photo you might find my latest treasure ;)

      Actually, the tub has only been used 2x in the 10 years we have lived here, and it is a whirlpool tub at that! Like I said, we're shower people... but our grandkids did discover the joys of the swirling water a month or so ago, so I think it might get more use in the future ;) The plants were pretty happy with the unexpected bath as well. Truth be told, since our air is so dry, this is the one place in the house where moisture loving plants thrive. The large cactus in the corner survives only because I only water it 1 or 2x a year.
      Todd's pot has an Agave victoriae-reginae, a crested Euphorbia lactea, and 3 Agave parryi.
      CO's weather has been a real roller coaster of temp extremes this winter, hence the very premature growth on many of my perennials. I am extremely grateful for the last week of daily snow w/ another week of the same predicted. My poor outdoor plants need to be reminded that it is only Feb. , my dear husband on the other hand doesn't need reminding. He's sooo over it!
      We loved meeting all of you, too! I'm still smiling at what a wonderful time we had.

  3. Nurserynotnordstroms 02/27/2015

    Oh Sheila,I laughed out loud when I saw your tub area,wow what a lot of work dragging them in and then out again. I'll take the one in the black pot off your hands (photo number five)it is so pretty and I love the pot,gorgeous. You must have a sweet husband to do all of that for you,Don would do that for me too if I was a crazed collector like you. (Said lovingly) the month of May probably can't come quick enough,but it's probably to quick for your husband who has to move them all back outside again. Do these all go scattered about your gardens or on a deck?i guess I should look at your other photos before I ask that question. Only a true gardener could understand this migration as Jeff called it. Love your collection.

    1. sheila_schultz 02/27/2015

      I laugh when I look at our tub, too ;) I told Jim we may have one of the few tubs that sees more dead leaves and dust than water ;) The large 'tub' plants are there year round... I bought the split leaf philodendron for $8, 10 years ago so I could use the leaves for plate decorations when our daughter was getting married. It turned out to be a good investment!
      You are right, Jim is pretty awesome as is my son-in-law. They never complain when it comes time for the big haul... well, almost never.
      A good portion of my plants go into my own containers on the deck and patio. Many have been taken out of combination pots and repotted in plastic nursery pots for the winter. This year I am rooting about 12 pots of pencil cactus and 10 pots of an aloe that outgrew it's pot. Most of these will go in containers for clients. Since I use very few flowers in my containers, I have saved a fortune over the years by overwintering these babies!

    2. lynn_felici_gallant 02/28/2015

      That was my favorite image, too! It made me smile.

  4. User avater
    meander_michaele 02/27/2015

    Sheila, Sheila, you know what a persuasive evangelist you have been in spreading the word on the wonders of sedums and succulents. Two years ago, inspired by you, I started buying succulents, had fun putting together combinations in planters but then mourned when the cooler temps killed them off. This fall, inspired by you, I decided that I, also, could lay claim to guest bedrooms and winter some over. However, after reading about your above and beyond more advanced measures to provide greater amounts of light and circulation, I am still a mere novice in the shadow of a master. Congrats to you and your wonderful hubby/enabler, Jim, for how successful your efforts have been.

    I'm still smiling about how your reputation has not been tagged as a marijuana grower inspite of all those grow lights.
    Oh, I love your frame of air cool. And, of course, your series of pictures ended with the perfect touch...your two wonderful dogs who are resting up after supervising you all day!

    1. sheila_schultz 02/27/2015

      Thank you Michaele... we do have the overwintering thing down to a science around here. Originally I brought in a few tender annuals to add to the mix, but they needed so much more care and light I just gave up. I still bring in a tropical or two, but only if they are expensive to replace and not needy.
      I'm glad you like the grids w/ airplants. They are pretty happy in the bathroom where they get their share of humidity!
      And you are definitely right, Cori and Cai have their paws full supervising their humans ;)

    2. user-7007140 02/27/2015

      Ohio did not agree the marijuana sale so our next door (temporary) neighbors got raided by the SWAT team. Not sure you'd get away with your grow lights here!

      1. sheila_schultz 02/27/2015


  5. annek 02/27/2015

    Oh Sheila, it's perfect! Your love of plants and pots is very well displayed in your wondrous overwintering scenes. The potheads look so serene staring out over their succulent kingdom and I adore your red skeleton head hanging out on the third shelf. I would expect nothing less from my "vampires in the garden" partner! Ha! You certainly are set up for marijuana growing, should you ever decide to expand.
    What fine doggie sentries line your couch. They are beautiful. Thanks for the fascinating glimpse into your life in Colorado.

    1. sheila_schultz 02/27/2015

      Thanks, my dear ghoulish friend! You should see the decor when I really get on a roll ;) Glad you like it...

      1. perenniallycrazy 03/02/2015

        I wanna see it too!

  6. Lisianne 02/27/2015

    Two of my initial reactions: 1. I could NEVER put plants on top of any type of my house that paperwork would be a mess of dead leaves and dripped water. I'm just not a neat person with water! 2. How much time you must put in to keep the floors/areas around these plants clean of debris! I quite enjoyed this set of photos. YOU NEED A GREENHOUSE!!! :)

    1. sheila_schultz 02/27/2015

      Oh yes, Lisianne, we DO need a greenhouse! Unfortunately, we have no room in our tiny yard. Actually, when it comes down to it, the C & S are very tidy. The only real mess comes when I knock into one and it tips over. Now that's a pain, but the good thing is these plants are watered so infrequently that the dirt vacs up easily.

  7. NCYarden 02/27/2015

    Good morning, Sheila. Awesome indoor garden and display, even if only transient. I totally get the house becomes a greenhouse during the cold season. Amazing how you tuck all those plants around. Admittedly I have tried to reduce the numbers that come in by attrition over the years. I miss them but glad to not have so much responsibility trying to create reasonable micro-climates throughout the house where one really can't or shouldn't be created. I do, however, continue to bring my agaves in, although one my cats oddly enjoys rubbing his face against the spines (super strange in my opinion because it can't feel good) but which led to him to begin chewing one of the pads. They are apparently mildly toxic and he was very sick for a couple of days, but he seemed to pull through.So they now sit elevated and tucked within the crowd of other plants that came indoors.
    On another note, I have a HUGE skull fetish and thus quite a collection, and I am in love with that glossy mottled red skull on the books. What do you want for it?

    1. sheila_schultz 02/27/2015

      Yeah, I totally understand the micro-climate issues, that's why I basically only overwinter cacti and succulents. Other that light, they aren't too needy!

      I'm pretty fond of skulls, too. Once I was out looking for some dried weeds for a wreath and I found a opossom skull ... totally bleached and with all it's teeth. Now that was a very good day!!! The red one on the rack was a gift from my daughter when she returned from a vacation in Mexico one year. Talk about a wondrous selection! I'm so easily amused, just give me a cactus and a skull and I'm a very happy camper ;)

  8. greengenes 02/27/2015

    Another sign of a true plant lover! And you have a great husband! How can you go wrong! Its great seeing and hearing how you take care of these through the winter. You have great light and window space! I sure like the two candleaubra euphorbias! I have one that I cut back and now I have about 15. They all look so healthy and happy, especially coriander and cayenne! Thanks for encouraging us to go above and beyond and into another plant group!

    1. sheila_schultz 02/27/2015

      Beware Jeanne... you, too, could become addicted ;)

  9. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/27/2015

    Sheila! What a treat! How often do we get to snoop in someone's home on GPOD. Love the tropical bathroom and I was delighted to see that there is whiskey to warm my cold bones and keep me warm and toasted on a chilly Denver evening. I like what you did with the faux-fur throws on the leather sofa. Very convincing. Did you get those at Restoration Hardware?
    Oh, the plants are cool, too!
    So have you done a container count? Folks at the Plant Lust blog had a little competition. I think the winner was around 280 containers in the house and garden. Oy, my back hurts just thinking about moving all of those containers!

    1. user-1020932 02/27/2015

      tim i just counted 121 here so i now have permission and justification to buy more stuff!

      1. User avater
        Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/27/2015

        As you intimated in earlier posts, you can always get rid of furniture. I mean, how many places does a person need to sit down, really?

        1. user-7007140 02/27/2015

          There is always the bath, gentlemen!

    2. sheila_schultz 02/27/2015

      Hey Tim... I tell you what, come out mid-May and help the guys haul the plants out and Jim will keep the amber liquid flowing, oh, and our 'throws' will keep you very warm if the nights get a tiche chilly !
      So I did a quick count and I currently have 127 pots in the house. The scary thing is that the number is probably down by 30 pots this year. I was determined to lighten the load last season!

  10. user-1020932 02/27/2015

    Sheila, i'm back for a closer look with fresh eyes. I'm thinking you could have a very successful online auction with that red skull! All the plants look great but I think I am spying a totem pole cactus in the 2nd photo next to the window,,it's top of my want list and that round black bowl planting of the agave and euphorbia crest,,perfecto

    1. sheila_schultz 02/27/2015

      I adore the Totem Pole cactus, too, Jeff. It was supposed to go to a client a couple of years ago, but I decided it really needed to live at my house instead!
      Glad you like the low round bowl w/ the agave's, etc. The pot was actually my prize for one of the container design challenges! I love that pot!!!

  11. user-4137972 02/27/2015

    Hey remember me from Wilmette???!!! We used to get our hands dirty in the pots around the North Shore. I've had fun following you, would love to see your garden. I make occasional trips to Denver to see my son and my family. I've admired what you've done with overwintering pots! I'm too lazy and lack sunlight in my house so I just look longingly at my garden and wish I could be playing in it! Be well. I'll be watching!

    1. sheila_schultz 02/27/2015

      Monica!!! Of course I remember you, what an unexpected delight!!! I'd love to see you again. You must come over when you are in Denver, preferably in the summer ;) Wasn't it just yesterday when we were working together and your son was still in high school? Are you still working with the Village Gardeners? If you send Michelle a note thru GPOD, she'll give you my e-mail address and we can keep in touch. YEA!

      1. user-4137972 02/27/2015

        How do I do that? Does she read these?

        1. sheila_schultz 02/27/2015

          I'll do it... can't wait to catch up with you!

        2. MichelleGervais 02/27/2015

          Monica, I'm not quite sure yet how to get commenters' email addresses, but I have Sheila's so email me and I will send you hers! mgervais at taunton dot com

          1. user-4137972 02/27/2015

            Hi Michelle,
            Thank you! Sheila and I are old working buddies and it will be great to reconnect with her. BTW, I'm a recent newcomer to GPOD--well, last Fall anyway and I've really enjoyed it. Thanks! ​

          2. user-4137972 02/27/2015

            Well, I'm not sure how Disqus works so in case you didn't see my email address there here it is: [email protected]. Thanks!

  12. GrannyMay 02/27/2015

    Sheila I was delighted to see your wonderful indoor plant sanctuary! Why let a little thing like six to eight months of cold weather stop you from collecting plants that you love. That bathroom is beautiful - I would love to soak in that tub, surrounded by greenery! Love that comfy couch too!

    1. user-7007140 02/27/2015

      Me,too, May! My dream home is the local Conservatory, but they don't want me. Boo hoo.

    2. sheila_schultz 02/27/2015

      Thanks May... I try to not think of the time these poor plants are inside as really being 6-8 months! I am pretty astounded that they survive as well as they do! I also think our bathroom would look pretty darn naked without all the plants ;)

      1. GrannyMay 02/28/2015

        Sheila they all look like happy plants to me. If I could find a way to make it work in my house, I'd likely be doing the same thing. All my windows have baseboard heaters under them so plants would get blasted by hot air. Also I don't have any spare rooms that I could use instead. I'm half sorry/half thankful that I cannot do what you do.

        1. sheila_schultz 02/28/2015

          May... be grateful ;)

  13. Cenepk10 02/27/2015

    Man … Thats an impressive collection ! Gorgeous plants, too. Very nice to see. Thanks for sharing. I just leave my pots of succulents in the yard- They look pretty pitiful now, but they always come back.

    1. sheila_schultz 02/27/2015

      Lucky you Cenepk10. Do you live on the west coast? Part of me would love to be able to leave my succulents out year round, but then that would mean I'd be gardening all year and like Michelle, I just don't have it in me!

      1. Cenepk10 03/04/2015

        No- I live in North Metro Atlanta. It is a good thing to have a few months break. Even as a child- I reconized the need for winter to karate chop the kudzu for a season. I used to imagine every thing would grow out of control & consume us without it. But hon, when spring arrives, I always feel I'm at my wits end with winter & made it through by the skin of my teeth. :).

        1. sheila_schultz 03/04/2015

          For those of us that need a seasonal break... Spring is the magical elixer that reminds us of our passion. It's coming up ;)

    2. sheila_schultz 02/27/2015

      Thanks, by the way ;) I'm glad you like this crazy collection of mine!

  14. Cenepk10 02/27/2015

    And the pitiful ones that got to overwinter in my garage ( heated w windows ) have barely seen water. But they are chugging along...

  15. VikkiVA 02/27/2015

    Sheila...I'm blown away by your devotion to you beautiful plants. I manage to bring in a few succulents and tropical plants but they never go further inside than the garage. I'm a bugaphobic. Loving your grid of air plants and the head pots. I've been searching on line for some reasonably priced head pots (like under $50.) but I don't think they exists. Your puppies are adorable and as long as you don't put any plants on that sofa they will be happy. Thanks for sharing your winter greenhouse pictures. Please share pictures when the plants are moved outside. Vikki in VA

    1. sheila_schultz 02/27/2015

      Head pots are so much fun, but can be challenging to find for under $50. I found the tall head pot in the first photo when we were visiting friends in Chicago, it was something like $45, so I brought it home in my carry on! That sucker is heavy!!! Good luck with your search ;)

  16. schatzi 02/27/2015

    Duh! Bathtub? What bathtub? I was so entranced with the tillandsia frame and the other plants that I had to back and look for it! Oh well, haven't had my coffee yet. Sheila, I think you win the indoor wintering competition, and you do it so well. Good one, Tim. Fake fur throws indeed. If those beautiful girls ever need a new home, I'm available. It looks like they got plumb tuckered out following you around. German shepherds are at the top of my list of favorite dogs, altho I had a wonderful Alaskan malamute. But so much hair...and woolly undercoat that floated around the yard every spring. Yeah Jeff, that black bowl is a winner, isn't it. Beautiful. Happy days, People. Spring always comes, sooner or later.

    1. sheila_schultz 02/27/2015

      Glad you like our girls, Shirley. You're right, German Shepherds are wonderful dogs. The one to the right is our 10 year old, Cori and the young one to the left is our sweet rescue, Cai, who is 1 1/2. Unfortunately, German Shepherds also have that thick undercoat, dog hair is definitely part of my life!
      Airplants are great fun aren't they? I like that they have become so popular, talk about easy... they go into the shower frame and all once a week and that's that!

  17. user-7007140 02/27/2015

    This is wonderful, Sheila. Handed to me this morning as I contemplated a new garden with succulents, came your post with the amazing photos. Thanks to the wonders of ipad I can focus in and pretend shopping until it's time to head out to a nursery. You have an amazing collection of very interesting plants, all of which are most beautifully healthy looking. And 127 pots! Congratulations, you are Star of The Week.
    Just as an aside; I once put all my house plants into the shower stall, watered them thoroughly, then went away for two weeks. When we returned I had a jungle in the shower! Fun,fun,fun.

    1. sheila_schultz 02/27/2015

      So happy you were able to do a bit of virtual succulent shopping this morning Eddi! I'm pretty pleased 'everyone' is looking this good after 5 months inside, usually by this time I'm having to beg their forgiveness and promising them an early spring ;) I swear, the fan made all of the difference this year.
      BTW, you must have had a really big shower!

  18. Meelianthus 02/27/2015

    WOW ! Sheila, you have definitely entered into another dimension.. What a wonderful way to spend the winter with all of your beautiful plants wrapped around you. You are certainly the queen of succulents! and the very fact that you have room for all of them is amazing to me!! A breathtaking display. I can't wait to see what you do with them outside again. Thanks for the peek Sheila and stay warm. And I love your dogs too.

    1. sheila_schultz 02/27/2015

      HaHaHa... some would refer to our home during the chilly months as the crazy house and I'm pretty sure they would be referring to me! The big issue has become where our granddaughter can sleep when she and her brother come for an overnight. Her bed is typically in the room w/ the most succulents... which we fondly refer to as The Little Shop of Horrors. Last year we decided to move her bed into my office which has fewer windows so therefore fewer plants. Luckily she doesn't get frightened being surrounded by spikey plants! We do have to leave the light on though... My office has moved to the kitchen table ;)

      1. Meelianthus 02/27/2015

        That's pretty funny and it is amazing what we will do for our little 'darlings', well, both the plants AND you grandchildren. They are lucky to have you, 'crazy' plant people make the nicest kind of people.

        1. sheila_schultz 02/27/2015

          I agree with you... I have yet to meet a passionate gardener I didn't like!

  19. sheila_schultz 02/27/2015

    You and me both... I had Basenji's before I met Jim. He brought me into the light! Cayenne is my 5th and the first time we have had 2 at the same time. Lots of dog hair, worth every minute of clean-up.

  20. user-7007327 02/27/2015

    You live in a succulent forest. Love the face pots.

    1. sheila_schultz 02/27/2015

      Thanks Elizabeth... glad you like 2 of my passions!

  21. sheila_schultz 02/27/2015

    Michelle... the honest truth is that the only reason the c & s come inside for the cold season is that they are not needy. Some I only water lightly 2 or 3 times the whole winter, others get a tiny bit every couple of weeks. The tall Euphorbia by the tub gets watered once or twice a year whether it needs it or not. I do enjoy having them around, but I need 'not being needed' during my off season.

  22. greengenes 02/28/2015

    Yes, aren't they a wonderful dog! We have a half shepard and half lab and we just love him. He has been the best dog we have ever had. We certainly see the different traits of both breeds. But he is getting old and we always need to have a dog around here to keep the raccoons and deer at bay. So if we cant find a mix like this again we will go with a german shepard all the way. Do you have sheps?

  23. sheila_schultz 02/28/2015

    German Shepherds have a lot of energy and require training... they have it in their DNA to need a job. Our older girl did therapy work and was amazing with seniors. Our young girl excels with agility... she is so proud when she learns something new. She was shy when she came to us, agility training gave her Her Brave. Like all of us, our dogs have different strengths, no matter the breed.

  24. dan1317 02/28/2015

    We are both crazy, I guess. I have plants in every room and in the basement. Grow lights everywhere. My wife doesn't say too much as long as I pick up spent blossoms and fallen leaves!

  25. hostaholic 02/28/2015

    Sheila, Your plant collection is nothing short of amazing and they look so healthy. Your fur girls are absolutely gorgeous. I've never met a German Shepherd I didn't fall in love with, such amazing,loyal, loving dogs.

  26. bavithavinodsoman 03/05/2015

    very nice cactus lovely to keep them inside.

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