Thursday, April 14, 2011

Fence-top cactus planters

A while ago I snagged two rectangular 30" x 6" planter boxes at a warehouse sale for $1 each. It turns out they were designed for office partition walls and originally cost in the vicinity of $75. Yikes!

I didn’t like the original charcoal gray color so I spray-painted the planters desert sand—a much more attractive choice for what I was planning on doing with them.

I didn’t have the original $25 mounting brackets, but a quick trip to the hardware store and $2.50 later I had all I needed: 1" L-shaped brackets and short wood screws that allowed me to attach the planters to the top of the 4 ft. fence that surrounds our front yard.

The final step was the most fun: putting the cacti in the planters. Since I want to be able to swap the plants out as needed (or desired), I simply placed the potted cacti into the boxes and filled them up with small river pebbles. The extra weight will prevent the containers from being knocked over or stolen.

I think the final result is rather nice. Everybody walking up the driveway to our front door will be able to look at these little gems. Several of them are getting ready to bloom, which will be an added attraction.

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Both planter boxes seen from the driveway
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Left to right:

1. Opuntia microdasys 'Albata' (aka Bunny Ears)
2. Parodia leninghausii
3. Mammillaria camptotricha  var. marnier-lapostollei
4. Opuntia microdasys 'Albata' (aka Bunny Ears)

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Left to right:

1. Mammillaria prolifera (aka Texas Nipple Cactus)
2. Thelocactus hexaedrophorus var. lloydii
3. Parodia uebelmannia
4. Stenocactus nova
'Palmillas'

Aside from the Bunny Ears and the Texas Nipple Cactus, I got these cacti at our local Ace Hardware store. Their source is Lone Pine Gardens, a fantastic succulent and bonsai nursery on the edge of the picturesque town of Sebastopol, just ten miles from the beautiful Sonoma County coast. I visited Lone Pine Gardens a few years ago before my current cactus obsession but I did get a couple of small agaves at the time. If you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend a visit.


As small as Sebastopol is, it actually has several nurseries that I can highly recommend:

Lone Pine Gardens—Succulents, cacti, bonsai.

Peacock Horticultural Nursery—Succulents (many different kinds of agaves in 4” and 1-gallon containers), perennials, uncommon plants like farfugiums and other Asian shade plants. A great place to stop on your way to or from Bodega Bay, and reasonably priced, too.

Bamboo Sourcery—The name says it all. Read about my visit to Bamboo Sourcery last December.

3 comments:

  1. Any idea on UV-resistance? Since these aren't planters you'll be moving you may not find out how weak they've become right away. My plastic planters (not this type of course) always break when I try to pick them up after they've been outside for a few years.

    Looks nice though! A steal at $1 each too!

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  2. My wife actually suggested I sell these planters on eBay for a profit instead of using them :-).

    I'm sure UV-resistance wasn't a priority for the manufacturer since these boxes are for indoor use. But they seem sturdy enough (much thicker than the regular outdoor plastic planters) so they should last for several years. By then I will be ready for a change anyway.

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  3. I like that idea. I was actually looking for fence top planters that will fit. Ours is a particular kind of fence quite common around here, double planked with a spacer in the middle. I think I'll have to give up and make my own.

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