Thomas J. Story
Patio table greenhouse
When Sunset's test garden coordinator Bud Stuckey roots succulents, he puts them in an 18-inch-diameter urn filled to 6 1/2 inches below the rim with potting soil, then centers a 24-inch round of tempered glass ― sold as a tabletop ― on the rim. The mini-greenhouse doubles as a table for a lightly shaded patio. To keep condensation from building up on the underside of the glass, he removes the glass tabletop every few days for an hour or so. Once the succulents are rooted (in four weeks), he transfers them to pots or garden beds.
Between periods of use as a mini-greenhouse, the urn displays objects such as glass balls.
Plantings as glorious as the one at right, in Karla Waterman's Seattle-area garden, deserve to be raised to eye level for close-up viewing. The concrete urn (21 inches tall and 11 1/2 inches across) sits atop a brick pillar capped with Arizona flagstone to match the patio.
The plants, carefully chosen for color and texture, are arranged by height. A tall Mexican feather grass rises in the center; it's flanked with a green geranium and a frilly ruby red coleus. Lime green sweet potato vine, white-flowered bacopa, and small-leafed creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia) spill over the urn's edges. Waterman chose the plants with Gail Halsaver of Foxglove Greenhouses; Halsaver did the planting.