It’s Not Tough to Make a Trough Garden

It just takes a little patience.

The Garden Club of Irvington is having a flower and plant show next May and I’ve entered the category called “Alpine Garden Troughs or Containers: A collection of three or more of the following plants:Alpine species or cultivars, dwarf conifers. and/or succulents in a container not to exceed 18″ in any dimension. Entries must have been owned and grown by the exhibitor for a minimum of six months. Containers will be viewed from all sides.”

Time to get to work.

3-bonsaijack-amazonIn June, I took cuttings from my daughter-in-law’s rooftop succulent collection in San Francisco.

1-laurelgrouptroughs

In August, I found the right container at the Laurel Group Home and Garden Shop and the right, fast-draining succulent growing medium on Amazon.

A few weeks ago, I removed all the cuttings, which by then had rooted, from the containers where they’d been growing.

2-taking-apart

I assembled them in the square container, being careful not to damage the leaves and spikes.

4-working

They’ve been at home on the deck ever since, watched over by Buddha. When I know it’s going to rain hard, like yesterday, I move the container from its sunny spot to a protected location.

5-succulents-in-place-buddha

Here’s what the container looks like today.

5-today

It has until the beginning of May to mature, and can be touched up on the day before the show judging, as long as I use plants that I’ve owned for six months, like one of those blue chalk fingers (Senecio vitalis “Serpents”) I’ve been propagating. I hope the donkey tail (Sedum morganianum) and string of pearls (Senecia rowleyanus) go crazy and trail down the sides. Like all plants, they have minds of their own. We shall see.

About writedesigner

Graphic designer, writer, and gardener Ellen Shapiro is based in Irvington, New York. A frequent contributor to design blogs and magazines including Print, Imprint, Salon.com, Communication Arts, and Etapes, she writes about trends, issues and personalities in design, illustration, photography, and visual culture around the world.
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