Friday, February 27, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Garden walls can come alive with ‘living pictures’

By
From page A9 | May 19, 2013 |

Living pictures, cuttings of assorted succulents woven together in everything from picture frames to pallet boxes, are hot among garden designers and landscapers. AP photo

This undated photo released by FormLA Landscaping shows a living succulent picture created for the courtyard of the 2012 Pasadena Showcase House of Design. Living pictures, cuttings of assorted succulents woven together in everything from picture frames to pallet boxes, are hot among garden designers and landscapers this spring as an easy, modern way to add color and texture to an outdoor space. (AP Photo/FormLA Landscaping)

By Sarah Wolfe

Looking for a fresh way to liven up your garden walls? Think plants, not paintings.

Living pictures — cuttings of assorted succulents woven together in everything from picture frames to pallet boxes — have caught on among garden designers and landscapers this spring as an easy, modern way to add color and texture to an outdoor space.

“Living pictures composed of succulents have a gorgeous sculptural quality that work surprisingly well in a number of different aesthetics — contemporary, bohemian, Southwestern and more,” says Irene Edwards, executive editor of Lonny home design magazine. “They’re great for urban dwellers with limited space.”

Living pictures are also nearly maintenance-free (i.e. hard to kill). So even beginners or those with the blackest of thumbs can look like the master gardener of the neighborhood.

Here’s how you can create your own living succulent picture:

Pick your style

There are a few ways you can go.

For a larger living picture, you can use a wooden pallet, framing out the back like a shadow box. Large, do-it-yourself living wall panels are also for sale online through garden shops like San Francisco’s Flora Grubb Gardens and DIG Gardens based in Santa Cruz.

But going big right away can be daunting, and bigger also means heavier, so many newbies like California gardening blogger Sarah Cornwall stick with smaller picture or poster frames.

Go vintage with an antique frame or finish, or build your own out of local barn wood. Chunky, streamlined frames like the ones Cornwall bought from Ikea give a more modern feel.

You’ll also need a shadow box cut to fit the back of the frame, and wire mesh or “chicken wire” to fit over the front if you’re going to make your own.

First, nail or screw the shadow box to the back of the frame. A depth of 2 to 3 inches is ideal. Set the wire mesh inside the frame and secure it with a staple gun, then nail a plywood backing to the back of the shadow box.

Take cuttings

Almost any succulent can be used for living pictures, though it’s usually best to stick with varieties that stay small, like echeverias and sempervivums, says DIG Gardens co-owner Cara Meyers.

“It’s fun to use varieties of aeoniums and sedums for their fun colors and textures, but they may need a little more maintenance, as they may start to grow out of the picture more,” she says.

Cut off small buds of the succulents for cuttings, leaving a stem of at least 1/4-inch long.

No succulents to snip? You can always buy some at a nursery or trade with other gardeners in your neighborhood.

“They grow so easily, don’t feel embarrassed knocking on a door to ask for a few cuttings,” Cornwall says.

Make sure any old bottom leaves are removed, then leave the cuttings on a tray in a cool, shaded area for a few days to form a “scab” on the ends before planting.

Add soil

Set the frame mesh-side up on a table and fill with soil, using your hands to push it through the wire mesh openings.

Be sure to use cactus soil, which is coarser than potting soil for better drainage.

Some vertical gardeners place a layer of sphagnum moss under and over the soil to hold moisture in when watering.

Fill in with plants

Now comes the fun and creative part.

Lay out the succulent cuttings in the design you want on a flat surface, and poke them into the wire mesh holes in your frame.

You can start either in one corner or by placing the “focal point” cuttings in first and filling in around them. Waves or rivers of color are popular living-picture designs, although Cape Cod-based landscaper Jason Lambton has gone bolder with spirals of green and purple.

“We painted the pallet different color stripes to go with the color theme of the back of the house,” says Lambton, host of HGTV’s “Going Yard.” ”It looked like a cool piece of living, reclaimed art.”

Using just one type of succulent is also a simple yet elegant option, says Kirk Aoyagi, co-founder and vice president of FormLA Landscaping.

“Collages with some draping and some upright plants can create a more dramatic look and feel,” he says.

Care and maintenance tips

Keep the living picture flat and out of direct sunlight for one to two weeks to allow roots to form along the stems, then begin watering.

“If you hang it up right away or it rains a lot, that dirt will just pour right out. … I made that mistake once,” Lambton says.

Mount your living art once the succulents are securely rooted, which can take four to eight weeks depending on climate.

After that, water every seven to 10 days by removing from the wall and laying it flat. Be sure to let the water drain before hanging your living picture back up, to avoid rotting.

___

Online:

DIG Gardens: http://diggardensnursery.com

Flora Grubb Gardens: http://floragrubb.com/idx/index.php

HGTV: http://www.hgtv.com

FormLA Landscaping: https://www.formlainc.com

Comments

comments

The Associated Press

.

News

Mother arrested for death of baby Justice Rees

By Lauren Keene | From Page:

 
New greenhouse will add to ‘Farm to Mouth’ program

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Learn about pollinators, gardens and honey at Yolo Basin fundraiser

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
Can you give them a home?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
For the record

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

Fire damages South Davis home

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Gerber nominations close Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Explorit: Humming right along

By Lisa Justice | From Page: A3

 
Flower arrangers feature S.F. designer

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Celebrate Africa on Saturday at I-House

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Chamber explores how to pay for Davis’ needs

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Wolk and Dodd team up to provide Napa earthquake tax relief

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Robb Davis to speak about homelessness, energy

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Spring sing-along is March 4

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
A fill-up mishap

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

Two free yoga classes offered March 12

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Take a night walk at Cache Creek

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Class of 1970 plans 45-year reunion

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Bicycle safety course to be offered in Davis

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Documentary on immigration issues will be screened

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

Learn about your brain on March 14

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Adopt a household for Bridge to Housing participants

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

Workshop will teach sustainable gardening methods

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
.

Forum

Tired of all of this

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Start early to build healthy dental habits

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B6

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: B6

No extra cost for containers

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B6

 
Oral Health Project launches

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B6

Here an H, there an H

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B6

 
Cavalier attitude about bike safety

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B6

.

Sports

Blue Devil boys expect a spike in production

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Inquiring minds want to know about Aggies

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

Encouraging start for DHS boys tennis team

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Off day for Aggie men at UCSB

By Kim Orendor | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Aggie women fall to 4th after lackluster showing

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Lady Devils are on to the SJS semis

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Late goal lifts Red Wings over Sharks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

Watney struggling at windy Honda Classic

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12

 
.

Features

.

Arts

Monticello announces March schedule

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

 
The Artery presents ‘Stepping Into Nature’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10 | Gallery

YoloArts’ Gallery 625 presents ‘The Poetry of Dots’

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
International Film Series to present ‘Jaffa’

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

‘Focus': A sharply conceived caper

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
The Woodland Opera House announces 2015-16 season

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12 | Gallery

.

Business

Nissan’s Z remains an affordable performer

By Ann M. Job | From Page: B3

 
Car Care: Simple DIY steps to protect your car through all seasons

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
.

Obituaries

George Miller Jr.

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Death notice: Celia E. Recchio

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Vernon E. Burton

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Dieter W. Gruenwedel

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Comics: Friday, February 27, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B5