Author Archives: Jon

Succulent Planter Box.

P1070103 (Medium)

So I had all these cacti that I picked up for a incredible steal… Most were priced at $1. Ok, so I have all these wonderful happy plants…. What do I do with them?  Plant them in something! Quick.. Before they die.

Well, I had no containers large enough to plant all of them into. Solution you ask? Build a box.  To the hardware store I go… The box is built out of 1×6’s. I bought 1.  I placed all the plants out and decided the correct size.  Started cutting, 3 sides and ran out of wood. Back to the store!  Got the last piece of wood cut and all assembled.  I used 2 little pieces to make legs…. Used some clear spar urethane with UV protection to try and lock in the look of the wood.  We shall see how it holds up. Built the box 7-23-13 planted the box 7-24-13.

Plants used:

Opuntia ‘Baby Rita

Agave Stricta

Cotyledon ‘White Sprite

Dorotheanthus bellidiformis ‘Mezoo Trailing Red

Seneci radicans ‘glauca

Portulacaria afra ‘Variegata

Agave angustifolia ‘Variegata

Echeveria ‘Lotus

Crassula argentea ‘Gollum’

rhipsalis pilocarpa- Cuttings will see if they root.


Rocks and random sedum/succulents thrown into the mix as well.

Crib planter


Found this old crib at my girlfriends house. Back then it was a ugly yellow. A few coats of outdoor paint it was looking brand new again. A few burlap bags stapled to the inside do the job of keeping the soil in. The burlap does decompose and will last about 2 years.

Spectracide weed stop for lawns 32 oz concentrate


This is what I use for weed control in my gardens and lawns. Active ingredient is 24-D and contains more  then the ortho weed-b-gone.
I prefer it over round-up because I can treat the grass at the bed edges for creeping charlie. Also works great on bindweed, thistle, poison ivy. With the best price spectracide weeds out their competitionn

Chameleon Plant (Houttuynia cordata)


This is a plant that I see for sale EVERYWHERE!  I always think that there needs to be a law created for people that sell these plants.  Every time a plant like this is for sale it needs a huge warning on it.  It should be posted…

“Warning this plant is known to cause constant diggin to remove, and will eventually take over your yard.”

Ok so don’t plant it in the ground?  Maybe I can use it for containers?  Wrong!  This plant also will pop up from seed.

Once you have this plant it is VERY hard to remove.  Traveling rapidly by underground runners all the way through your garden and other plants, you have to use a broad leaf weed killer on it.  When trying to dig it out, ANY piece of root left in the soil will grow a new plant.

Plant can be mowed down to soil level, then once the plant is coming back spay with 24-D.  Then wait 2 weeks and spay again.  Next lay a carpet of newspaper down about 10 sheets thick.  Then use a thick layer (3-5″) of wood chips.  Wait a full year before planting any new plants in this area.

Zones 4-9

Ribbon Grass (Phalaris Arundinacea)


This beautifully variegated grass of white and green sure looks good at first.  But if left unchecked will spread all the way across your garden into your neighbors and throughout the neighborhood.  Ok maybe not that bad.  If you must have it put it somewhere it will stay contained.  If you wanna get rid of it, keep on diggin.  You can have it gone in about 2-3 years, but stay on top of it, or it will creep back into your life.

Zones 3-9

Trumpet Vine (Campsis Radicans)

campsisA hardy beautiful tropical looking vine that attracts humming birds? Whats wrong with that?  This gorgeous plant has a mind of its own and goes where it wants. At about 25′-30′ full size, roots close to your deck?  Trouble! Close to your foundation? Trouble!  I have seen suckers coming up 20′ from the mother plant!  And if you want to get rid of one?  Well gotta cut it down and either pull out or spray with chemicals any part that comes back.  This can take YEARS!  So if you must have one put it in the middle of nowhere so you can mow over any suckers that pop up. And remember you’ll have it forever!   I do have 2 ‘Flava (a yellow one) and ‘Flamenco (A red one) on 4×4 post.  If its still there… (The trumpet vine has completely covered any remains of that.)

Zones 4-10


Removing Pesky Voles


Voles are field mice that eat your plants in the fall, and winter.

I have had the worst vole problem for years… Since I started collecting plants… They come in the winter and eat all the roots and crowns of my perennials.. Have you ever had a 10’x20′ section of host just disappear? That’s how bad my problem was…

I have tried many products that have claimed to work.  Some do for short times, then I have to re-apply or all my hostas would get eaten away. Since then I have found a combination of things that will actually send the nasty little mice packing.

Castor Oil: I apply this right before the ground freezes.  I use a hose end sprayer and water my gardens with it.  Once a year.  You can also grow a castor plant in the worst areas. Careful as all parts of this plant are poisonous.

Wind Mills: Or anything that will blow in the wind and make a little noise/vibration in the soil. This drives them nuts!  I use the $1 pin wheels that Dollar Tree sells in the spring time.  Make sure you buy enough to have 1 about every 20′ or so in the garden bed. Also remember they might not last all year. So buy enough to last through the winter!

Wood Chips: Common single chipped hardwood or pine bark mulch. Or any wood chips that aren’t so chipped that they will eventually form a carpet.  The idea here is for them to stay loose .  The voles will have a very hard time diggin, or maintaining their tunnels which they need!  Wood chips will also add organic matter to your soil, conserve moisture in your soil… Hey, I dont have to water as much!

So with these 3 things going for me, I haven’t lost any plants to voles! YAY!

Nelson 8 Spray Sprinkler


At less than $4 this Nelson sprinkler sure does the job!  I usually only use the half circle setting, but it does a great job of watering my gardens.  Other than the turning the top to set the pattern there are no movable parts to break.  This has been stepped on, left outdoors over winter, and still does a great job.  In fact I bought another today only because it was easier than finding the ones I already own.



Campanula or bell flower has awesome purple, or pink flowers. Sold practically everywhere that sells plants,  this perennial will quickly fill a large space and most likely seed to other open spaces in your gardens and fill those too.  Highly invasive and trouble some, spreads also by runners.  These roots may go far as 3″, no wait 3′!!! into your soil.

Eradication is almost impossible as it creeps into the clumps of any other perennials in your garden beds.  The best way to deal with this garden beast is to dig it out, or spray with round-up or weedbgone as soon as you see it !  If your neighbors have it, you will be dealing with this forever.  Good news is that if you keep pulling it and spraying it with chemicals one day it might be manageable.