Tag Archives: Potted’s City Planter

potted plants on the move

The summer containers in nondrought-stricken gardens can become quite a virtuoso display.
I’ve understandably pared things down the past few years but am always amazed at how even a relatively small group of pots can exclaim “Summer!”

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All the pots scattered through the garden become candidates for a massed summer display.
I appreciate how growing a single species to a pot means it can be a focal point at one time of year and part of a big group display at another time.
A good place for summer staging is around the Chinese Fringe Tree (Chionanthus retusus) which bisects the long, narrow patios on the east.
Now that the tree has fully leafed out and all the flowers have fallen, I’ve massed pots on either side of the tree to take advantage of its dappled light.
A chaise in dappled light isn’t a bad idea either. A Mid-Century Homecrest, it needs a touch-up of black paint but is the most comfortable lounger, like floating in zero-gravity.
(Thanks again to Shirley Watts for hauling it down from Alameda in her truck.)

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This group of pots has been gradually accumulating here the past month or so, pulled from all over the garden.
The chartreuse Xanthosoma ‘Lime Zinger’ was moved in when it gained enough size to make an impact.
Unlike so many colocasias, this tropical reliably returns from winter dormancy year after year. I turn the whole pot on its side and leave it outdoors in winter.
I have lots of small, slow-growing agaves in pots, but I like having a couple good-sized potted agaves to mass for summer.
There’s a couple pups here of ‘Blue Flame’ and ‘Boutin’s Blue,’ both of which don’t mind some shade.
The golden Schefflera ‘Amate Soleil’ was fine in full winter sun but definitely needed dappled shade by June.

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The pots of mostly foliage are easy on the water budget, and water from the shower handles all the containers.
The latest addition is a big pot of cosmos, chamomile and silver-leaved horehound/marrubium, a gift to the bees.

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Looking from the other end, Cussonia spicata in the tall grey pot is doing so much better in the dappled light after wintering in full sun.
Variegated manihot, potted succulents, and closer to the table the huge Aeonium ‘Cyclops,’ also moved here to escape full summer sun.

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The base of the fringe tree is unplanted, covered with a mulch of its own leaves year-round.
The view after August rain last year (see post here). I’ve since broken that coffee cup, a favorite from a local tugboat company.
And Mitch took those wooden planters up to his garden in San Francisco.
Before my neighbor planted palms on his side of the fence, this little patio used to be a heat trap by mid-day and went mostly unused until evening.
As a native Angeleno, it’s taken me a lifetime to appreciate the slim footprint of the ubiquitous palms and the lovely shade they cast.

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I’ve been playing around with that tall iron stand for 20 years or so. When I saw photos of Maurizio Zucchi’s home, I felt both validated and incredibly envious.
The little Euphorbia ammak at its base has a long way to grow to make an impact. I’d so love to find some more iron scaffolding for this patio.
The twisty tuteur supports a marmalade bush, Streptosolen jamesonii, I’m hoping can be trained up through its spirals.
The empty frame is part of the floor grate to the broken heater we inherited with the house.

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Last summer the vine Mina lobata grew up the iron stand’s girders, wilting in the afternoon sun.
I found a seedling of this vine that’s been potted up to try in morning sun/afternoon shade.

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Potted’s City Planter was planted up last summer and has been bullet-proof ever since.

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Hopefully this will be the last time I move this monster pot for a few months.
Showing is one of two lamps salvaged from Warehouse No. 1, the oldest warehouse in Los Angeles Harbor.
Marty kept a little workroom in the basement of the cavernous warehouse when he worked for the Port of LA, so we have a strong affection for the old relic.

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The remaining rosette of the huge clump of dyckia I just removed this week from the front garden.
Dyckias and year-round tree litter are just not a good combination. I was so sick of the mess.

I know a lot of pots of tender plants are on the move out of basements and greenhouses, where they vacationed like winter snowbirds.
Sometimes I wonder if the pots in this frost-free garden don’t have just as many miles under their rims.

blue fence

Double-sided, dog-eared redwood fence, you win. Smug, aren’t you? You know I can’t afford to replace you.
Over the years I’ve stained you blue (twice), stenciled you in scrolls, but to no avail.
There you stand, a blue, stenciled, dog-eared redwood reminder of the stark boundaries of my garden.

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Granted, you make a dramatic backdrop for chartreuse, a theme I work pretty hard.

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And sturdy support for Potted’s City Planter too.

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In some light you’re almost black.

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I’m not sure I’d want to replace your insistent vertical lines with horizontal lines though.
Last year I was certain that the answer was to affix smooth Hardiebacker cement board to you and paint that an exciting color.
I’m sure I had that plan in fall, which is when the energy for projects usually arrives — in a narrow sliver of a window before the holidays devour all that excess energy.
But the weight of the cement board might cause sag, which would only be exchanging one irritation for another.

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This eastern boundary is all hardscape until we get to the row of lemon cypresses.
Which is why I’m always on the lookout for some huge Euphorbia ammak or fence post cactus to grow in large pots along your exposed fenceline.

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Ghostly remnants of the stenciling project. I didn’t exactly stencil your whole length but kinda ran out of steam after 5 feet or so.
I’ll blame that on the holidays too.
(Pots hold two newish members of my ever-expanding cussonia collection.)

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I will say that your homespun rusticity doesn’t mind sharing space with a little industrial chic.
A sleek new fence might strenuously object.

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Blue fence, you win fair and square. (Until I nail some Hardiebacker board on your ass, that is.)

Dwell on Design/Los Angeles 2012

The Metro Blue Line out of Long Beach dropped me off on the doorstep of the Los Angeles Convention Center on Sunday, the last day of Dwell on Design. There’s such a buoyant feeling to bounding off a train at the platform and hitting the pavement in a few short steps, compared to a long drive and still having to face the deflating task of parking and where and how to pay for it. One of the oddities of public transportation in Los Angeles is that the rest of the day will be spent telling people that you didn’t drive, you took the train. Really? they will say. Yes, the train! we say, bursting with the pride of daring explorers. We still can’t get over the fact that there are trains whizzing over, under, and alongside clogged streets and freeways, with more lines added all the time. New lines to Culver City just this week. And we’re promised that the ugly freeway snarl that is the Forbidden Zone (Santa Monica/Westside) will also be conquered one day. For over ten years I’ve been taking the trains for the freelance court reporting work I do anywhere there are tracks laid down, but it’s a rare thing to head to downtown LA on a weekend, and I finally made my decision to go at the proverbial last minute. There was a staggering amount to see, but photos are a product of the catch-as-catch-can, indoor trade show school of photography.

As soon as you enter, “Screenplay” demanded immediate attention, all undulating 21 feet of it, from every vantage point possible. By the Oyler Wu Collaborative, from certain angles it felt as though the hulk of a steel-cable suspension bridge had been twisted and compacted and lowered onto the polished concrete floor for our up-close viewing pleasure.


Things were already looking promising. The expanded stainless steel furniture by Damian Velasquez really amped up my idle but happy browsing into full-on engagement. Expanded stainless steel is a material I often use in my fabrication daydreams for the outdoor benches and shelving I crave, so these chairs, tables and sofas prompted me to sputter out the few questions I asked of any designers at the show. I’ve even got a small collection of expanded metal objects, mostly industrial baskets and trays found at local salvage yards. The furniture is laborious to produce so is pricey, the sofa going for about $4,000. All powder-coated and weather resistant. I truly lurved them.





I’m also captivated by Bend’s line of furniture Geometric, and these lovely ceramics from BKB Ceramics of Joshua Tree, California.


Loll’s outdoor line made from 100% recycled materials (mostly milk jugs)


Annette and Mary of Potted debuted their fabulous City Planters and drew in the hordes with their seductive, exclusively Potted pottery.
Both these lines are made locally in Los Angeles. Potted has been at the vanguard of Los Angeles designers committed to finding local workshops to fabricate their designs.


When four hours of circling the exhibits caused feet to falter, there were fascinating symposia to wander into and grab a chair, like the engrossing panel discussion of the Purdy-Devis residence on which garden designer Laura Cooper collaborated. Then it was back out onto the main floor to peruse lightweight concrete materials, sun-fast fabrics, sustainable wallpaper.


I overheard a mildly snarky remark about designers’ current “arms race for a sustainability badge.” I think this is a case where I’ll gladly suffer through the overuse of a buzz word like “sustainability” and cheer on the application of its principles.


There was lots of gee-whiz design to ponder.


Airstream and camping porn.


Really well-done show, Dwell.


Photobucketspun remodelista