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Southern California Gardening: Recipe for a Stylish Container Garden

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Group large containers of succulents to make a stylish design statement in your Southern California garden.

 Subtle textures and colors of succulents

As the days lengthen and warm up, my fingers itch for the feel of plants and soil. Long before the muddy earth is ready for my touch, I'll plant some show-stopping combos in my new cast of containers.

The succulents in my garden are gorgeous. Each one, with its own subtle color, texture and arrangement of leaves, vies for my attention. But the specimens scattered in small pots throughout the various gardens are lost - overwhelmed by the landscape and dwarfed by the trees, veggies and flowers nestled beside them.

From now on I practice my version of the "big bang theory." If one looks good, dozens of succulents massed together in large containers look great. I'll stage them as focal points at the end of pathways, on terraces and at entryways.

 The silvery webs of sempervivum

For the steps leading to my studio, I chose two large, low, plain terra-cotta pots. I covered the drainage holes with small pieces of screen, layered the bottoms with river pebbles, and filled the pots with bagged soil mixed specifically for succulents and cacti.

Then the fun began. I visited the Lowe's Garden Center and chose a flat of small succulents of varying shapes and sizes. I tend to gravitate toward Echeveria, Aeonium, Sempervivum (especially arachnoideum, with its silvery webs), and Dudleya, with rosettes of fleshy leaves. I also bought some Crassula perforata and Senecio rowleyanus (also called String of Pearls), two of my favorite "spiller" plants, to cascade over the edge of containers.

 String of pearls cascades over the rim of a pot.

Hours later, fingers stained chocolate brown, I am finished, and happy with two large "living plant mosaics" that greet me as I walk to my studio. I smile and think of how much more I appreciate their beauty now that they're cozy together in their new homes. The "big bang theory" worked for me. Now it's your turn to try it with your favorite plants.

To see more about these containers, watch my video.