Centerpiece in a hurry

Mix low-growing plants to make these tabletop gardens

Centerpiece in a hurry

Swirl of Succulents

Saxon Holt

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Deep-Dish Lime Thyme

  • Centerpiece in a hurry

Consider the pizza: It's topped with goodies in interesting colors, textures, and shapes. It comes together fast. And it inspired these patio-table centerpieces, assembled in minutes using small-leafed plants.

The centerpieces start with a terra-cotta bowl at least 12 inches wide. Choose a bowl first, then buy plants to fit. Playing plant colors and textures off one another is what makes these living centerpieces interesting.

Perfect plants for this project include tiny sedums, succulents, and thymes like the ones shown in these two bowls as well as baby's tears, blue star creeper, dichondra, and Irish and Scotch mosses.

After planting, water the bowls regularly and feed weekly with half-strength fish emulsion. With good care, most centerpieces should last all summer.

SWIRL OF SUCCULENTS

Bowl size: 14 inches wide, 5 inches deep (about $25).

Small sedums and succulents from sixpacks contrast beautifully in this textured terra-cotta bowl. The blue-gray palette includes wedges of white Sedum spathulifolium 'Cape Blanco' and blue-gray S. anglicum, a spray of pork and beans, and clusters of blue-green echeveria for accents.

 DEEP-DISH LIME THYME

Bowl size: 13 inches wide, 4 1/2 inches deep (about $13).

Lemon and lime thyme--two plants of each, from 4-inch pots (about $3 apiece)--make up most of this fragrant centerpiece. Common thyme, from sixpacks, fills the spaces between them. Before planting, we placed a terra-cotta candleholder with a detachable hurricane glass (not shown) in the bowl's center, then added soil and plants. (You could substitute an upended narrow clay pot for the candleholder.) The finishing touch is a citrus-scented candle.

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