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Container Creativity in British Columbia

Unusual containers found on Craigslist became the catalyst for this designer’s collection of miniature gardens

container full of blue succulents

Cherry Ong has used unusual containers to enhance her well-designed miniature gardens.

A summer garden is always a cherished garden!

Summer is always a busy season, but it is nice to look back and reminisce about it during the colder months. I know the summer passes too quickly for me, and I savour all the days till the first frost.

I lucked out this year and scored some amazing planters on Craigslist. I also took the plunge and tried planting a wider variety of succulents. I wish we had more exotic kinds available in the local nurseries here; I see so many interesting varieties especially from gardens in the U.S. South. I’m going to try to overwinter a significant number of them this year. Wish me luck!

container full of various succulentsThis is the largest succulent container I have ever planted.  I was so thrilled to have sourced this square cast-iron urn on Craigslist. It seems that succulents love metal containers, as they thrive in them during the summer months here.

three matching containers with green, red, and blue succulentsSay hello to Inky (left), Blinky (middle), and Clyde (right), my fun tentacle pots. These frostproof ceramic handmade pots were created by the talented Diana Moulds of Tentacle Arts. I received one as a gift last year and was hooked instantly.

hanging basket covered in moss and filled with succulentsThis is my first-ever nonhardy succulent moss hanging basket. Not sure if I’ll do this again next year.

container with ferns and tiny evergreenSlowly but surely this little ‘Wissel’s Saguaro’ false cypress has grown more this summer season.

hanging basket with purple foliage and white flowersI faithfully plant up spilling annuals in these rusty hangers year after year. The iron baskets were Mother’s Day’s gifts over the years, which I cherish.

hanging basket with red flowers and frilly foliage

container with silver foliage

Another first this year was growing Melianthus major. She didn’t disappoint! I’m waiting to see whether she’ll survive the winter. I hope so. The glass teardrop is a gift from a sweet girlfriend. It’s a creation of Maya Radoczy, a Seattle artist.

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  1. GrannyCC 10/27/2016

    Hi Cherry
    Couldn't get to the site from my email, It kept saying page could not be found. Anyway nothing to do with you. I am thrilled with all your succulents and your beautiful pots. You have a real eye for colour and design. Hope the rest of the GPODer's find you otherwise they will be missing something special!!

    1. frankgreenhalgh 10/27/2016

      Something funny going on Catherine. All the previous comments have disappeared.

      1. Chris_N 10/27/2016

        Looks like there are still a few bugs in the system, Frank. This morning there was formatting code showing up underneath each photo along with the captions. Looks like they fixed that but now the comments are gone. I suspect they had to repost the whole thing after fixing errors and have no way to carry over the comments.

        1. frankgreenhalgh 10/27/2016

          Thanks Chris - I also noticed the formatting junk under the pics. earlier.
          Michaele - hope you are OK - speedy recovery!

          1. User avater
            meander_michaele 10/27/2016

            Thanks, Frank, My typing fingers are still working and in a few days, I'll be able to garden again...within limits.

          2. perenniallycrazy 10/28/2016

            Get well soon Michaele! I so admire your positive spirit and determination. Keep us posted with your recovery.

          3. Meelianthus 10/28/2016

            I don't always get the postings - what happened to you Michaele? Are you okay? Hope so - now that it is garden cleanup time! Hope to see your gardens in the Spring, I always enjoy them so much. Linda

          4. User avater
            meander_michaele 10/28/2016

            Hi, Linda, I didn't want my situation to be a wet blanket on Cherry's amazing containers. I had a fairly good sized patch of basal cell carcinoma discovered around my left ear and going up into my hair covered skin. Getting it cut out was a 6 our ordeal and then I had to have a reconstructive plastic surgeon work on filling the newly created "hole". Turns out the repair is being done in stages and right now, I'm just in the first part of the repair. It's no fun but, then again, it's certainly not the worst medical situation a person could deal with. Thanks for asking about me.

          5. terieLR 10/28/2016

            Thinking of you Michaele... long distant hugs!

          6. User avater
            meander_michaele 10/28/2016

            Thanks, Terie. Right now is such prime gardening time for those of us living in east's hard just being a spectator to my own gardens. I have to put in a few more days of not lifting or bending.

          7. schatzi 10/28/2016

            Michaele, sorry to hear of your health problem, but glad it is working out o.k. Recovery is a pain but hang in there and HEAL!!

    2. Chris_N 10/27/2016

      It worked this morning but FG broke the link when they reposted to fix their formatting errors.

    3. perenniallycrazy 10/28/2016

      Thanks Granny CC. All is good. Photos are back and we all have computer problems, at home or work right?

  2. Chris_N 10/27/2016

    Cherry - if you didn't see the earlier comments before they disappeared, everyone loves your containers. I'd write more now but am running late for an appointment. I'll comment again later.

    1. perenniallycrazy 10/28/2016

      I believe you, Thanks Chris,

  3. gemmamaia 10/27/2016

    Beautiful!!! You have a crazy good eye for creating succulent containers in particular. Anyone know the name of the trailing succulent in the square cast iron urn?

    1. perenniallycrazy 10/27/2016

      Thank you Cathy. If you are referring the variegated leafed one, I believe it is " Dorotheanthus bellidiformis Mezoo Trailing Red". Happy Halloween!

      1. gemmamaia 10/28/2016

        That's the one... thanks!!!

  4. user-7007498 10/27/2016

    Cherry, I was very excited to see it was your post today, and you sure didn't disappoint. I was in the middle of posting earlier, but then everything disappeared. Had to wait until I got home. Feel your pain about the greenhouse. I wish I had one myself, but no room. I bring a few containers indoors, but most go to the compost when using tender plants.

    I am crazy about your containers. You have such a great eye for design. While I am awestruck by them all, my personal favorites are the 3rd photo and the last one with the melianthus. I will be pulling up this post next spring for some inspiration.

    1. perenniallycrazy 10/27/2016

      Thanks Kevin.i couldn't bear to compost some of them so I repotted them and gifted these containers to my friends and officemates to enjoy in their homes. For those extra succulents, I tried my hand at succulent pumpkins this year. I always wanted to make them and this year I had grown enough succulents to try them out. Quite fun. Laura Eubanks, the inventor of this garden craft, is a genius!

      1. user-7007498 10/28/2016

        Wow, Cherry, those pumpkin containers are so cool.i have never seen anything like that before.

      2. schatzi 10/28/2016

        I made one a couple years ago and it was fun, but 6? You are an over-achiever! Seems like they turn out beautiful, no matter what you put on them.

        1. perenniallycrazy 10/28/2016

          I gave them away as gifts to my friends and co-workers. We gardeners are happy people so might as well share the joy. The timing of Canadian Thanksgiving is totally perfect for it.

  5. Chris_N 10/27/2016

    I don't know how you pack so many great plants into a container. Great use of contrasting textures, color echoes and complimentary colors, and strong structure. The planters and plants are paired perfectly, too. Love the octopus tentacle pots.

    1. perenniallycrazy 10/28/2016

      Thanks Chris. Diana Moulds makes amazing planters. Got my eye on her reef planter that she has debuted this year

  6. Sunshine111 10/28/2016

    Spectacular! You are incredibly talented and creative… I am so impressed! A bit envious too! ?

    1. perenniallycrazy 10/28/2016

      Thanks Lily. I hope you have lots of fun with succulents and annuals every summer too. Maybe you have better weather that support these all year round...

  7. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 10/28/2016

    Thanks to Kim for reposting and emailing this today so we can repost our comments for Cherry.
    You know I love your containers, Cherry. Love seeing them all together and those tentacle pots and their plantings are so awesome.
    I'm so jealous that you have a little Wissel's Saguaro! It's been on my list for a couple of years. No idea where I'll put it, but I want it!

    1. perenniallycrazy 10/28/2016

      Thanks for reposting Tim. I did see some comments yesterday morning first thing before they disappeared into cyberspace. My little Wissel's haven't grown that much since I got them 2 years back. I may need to move them to a sunnier location for them to flourish. I really want to see those clubs come out. I thank Karen Chapman for introducing me to these. I'm pretty sure you'll get one soon enough. I'll be on the lookout for you...Happy Halloween!

      1. User avater
        Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 10/28/2016

        I first saw Wissel's Saguaro on a post by Karen Chapman as well. There's no end of evil plant pushers out there!!

    2. digginWA 10/28/2016

      I have a Wissel's Saguaro by my front door. It's a lovely thing to see every day, paired with Carex 'Everest' and a brunnera. They do get bigger than I need in that spot, but given our record with buying and selling houses, we'll be gone before it becomes a problem. :)

  8. GrannyMay 10/28/2016

    Cherry I am very glad I didn't miss your amazing containers today. Beautiful! Your endless creativity overflows from your own garden and your containers to those around you. Your friends and neighbours benefit from your generosity as well. Love those succulent pumpkins!

    1. perenniallycrazy 10/28/2016

      Thanks Granny May. I miss your garden on GPOD. I hope you show off your summer and autumn garden real soon. Please Kim....

  9. schatzi 10/28/2016

    I am so glad the problem got fixed. I would hate to miss out on Cherry's creativity and artistry. Love it all but especially the blues and the Mezoo - that is such a pretty plant. I over-winter my tropical succulents in a south window and they go out on the deck again in the summer. Great job as usual, Cherry.

    1. perenniallycrazy 10/28/2016

      Thanks Shirley. Any chance you are attending the NWFGS next year? It's time to meet up again. Happy Halloween!

      1. schatzi 10/28/2016

        I would love to! Let's coordinate with the rest of the PNW crew and see what we can do. And anyone else that can make it is welcome.

        1. perenniallycrazy 10/28/2016

          I'll PM you...

          1. schatzi 10/29/2016


          2. perenniallycrazy 11/01/2016

            Private message... =)

  10. user-3058938 10/28/2016

    You are a genius! And OH! those tentacle pots!

    1. perenniallycrazy 10/28/2016

      Thank you Elaine. I'll be sure to pass along your comments to Diana Moulds.

  11. Meelianthus 10/28/2016

    Hi Cherry ~ I think it is quite clear that your creativity knows NO bounds. So many pots and such beautiful and oh-so interesting plants - and the pots are outstanding. Never thought to put my Melianthus in a pot, looks really great with your arrangement. Mine in the garden winters over just fine here (just below you in WA) with a heavy mulch. It has only flowered once though in all the years that I have been growing it, beautiful red flowers in the winter. Thanks for sharing your bounty - I love the iron hanging basket arrangement !

    1. perenniallycrazy 10/28/2016

      Thank you Meelianthus. I'm so glad that your Melianthus flowered for you at least once. It gives me hope. We planted one in Sylvia's garden too in our latest DIY project, so she will be pleased to know that there's a good possibility that it can stay on. She is really pleased with the latest bed's design and growth this summer. Have a wonderful weekend!

  12. digginWA 10/28/2016

    Beautiful, Cherry. You do good work.

    1. perenniallycrazy 10/28/2016

      Thank you Tia and back at ya.

  13. user-4691082 10/29/2016

    Oh Cherry! What beautiful containers. I too, love the tentacle planters. I was missing you this summer! And Michaele, I hope your recovery is speedy. I'm sorry you have to go through this.

  14. gardeningisfine 10/29/2016

    Your container plantings are spectacular! I've become somewhat addicted to succulents the past couple of years. Have quite a few transitioning to the great indoors on my porch. Hopefully they will thrive and give more opportunities for next year. Yours are very inspiring!

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