hanging gardens
The Hanging Gardens of Bouvier
(with Fox The Wicked Queensland underneath)

the Hanging Gardens of Bouvier

gardening in pots hanging from trees & wires)

by Pam Green, © 2015

I've been gardening in pots hung from tree limbs and wire clothes-lines for many years. I started with just a few containers, and gradually the number increased. I grow a few herbs, intended for cooking, and I grow a variety of succulents. Succulents grow very well in the Sacramento Valley region as they do well in heat and requirre only infrequent water They don't like freezing temperatures, so for the couple of months when we sometimes get several hours of freeze I bring my favorites indoors and wrap the others in bubble wrap or plastic. (see section on the pots in winter). I'm in Zone 14, according to the Western Garden Book.

My succulents have done so well that I have plenty to give to friends. They are really easy to grow so long as you don't over-water them. I find the variety of shapes and colors interesting.

The clothes-line is braided wire cable with plastic covering, stronger and more enduring than ordinary clothes-line and well worth the slightly higher cost. where it contacts tree bark, I run it through sections of garden hose to prevent damage to the tree. String it as tight as possible, because the weight of the pots will create some sagging. I also hang a bird feeder, a wind-sock, and occasionally clothers that need to dry out on the line.

There are several advantages to gardening in containers, especially hanging pots :

I don't have much else in the way of garden. My trees are native ones, mostly Koelreuteria paniculata (the tree in the photo) , which is very summer-drought hardy (this year I did water my morst valued ones because we are in 4th year of year-round drought). Wild mustard comes up in summer. Amaryllis belladona, called "Naked Ladies", grows wild on its own (and keeps making more bulbs faster than I can give them away). I also have a fig tree , "BrownTurkey", outside of the yard, providing delicious figs during late summer. This year I planted a Trumpet Honeysuckle vine and a Passion Flower vine on a fence that's outside the yard, but I'm not sure they will do well in the long run. I no longer have any lawn, as in drought it doesn't make sense to water it so it grows and has to be mowed. Just a few little bits of grass for the dogs to nibble seem to have survived this summer. There are also some huge ancient Olive trees on the property and a few Oak trees and a few Elderberry trees or bushes

My yard is really for the dogs. So plenty of shade from trees(or the dogs and for the house), and the other plants hung high out of their way. It works for us.

We are surrounded by agricultural land (row crops, orchards) and we are only half a mile from a creek that has a lot of native vegetation and wildlife.

the pots in winter

(frost-guarded with greenhouse-wrap)

Here in rural Davis, CA, about a dozen miles west of Sacramento, summers are hot and dry and winters are moderately cold, sometimes windy, and the only time we can hope for rain. Our coldest nights can hit frezzing and a few degrees below that.

So for the period when freeze is a risk, I bring as many of the pots indoors to place where they get window light. They have old dog dishes under the pots to catch water drainage. They are in my front room which is unheated, but will remain safely above freezing.. ( I don't have any central heat, just a wood stove that modestly warms its own room and somewhat my office and bedroon). So these plants go somewhat dormant in these winter months

I'm no longer able to bring all the pots indoors, especially the larger ones which are too heavy for me to carry.. (Yes, of course I could get a friend to help, but there really isn't enough room) So the ones that stay outdoors get their own "greenhouse wrap". They get wrapped with plastic sheet and / or covered with old dog "Elizabetthan collars" , ie platic cones. They also get another layer of dog-hair mulch (above the summer layer). This year I added string and snaps to some of the cones so that on warm sunny days I can lift the cones up and suspend them so the plants get more sunlight. Some sun gets through the cones. Again the plants are going to become somewhat dormant during winter. I can still water them with a long spout watering can, either through a gap at top of the wrap or by lifting the lower edge.

Almost all these plants are succulents, so they are very hardy but would be harmed if subjected to freezing. A couple pots of herbs are annuals which will die anyway so are not wrapped.

Below you can see wrapped pots, one with the cone lifted. The dog is Lady Bug, also known as Lady Baa Baa, a Kelpie or Kelpie cross bitch who came as a temporary foster (for a week or so , pending transport to another rescue) but insisted on becoming part of my family.

site author Pam Green copyright 2003
created 9/20/2015 revised 11/27/2015
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