Steal inspiration from an eye-catching California nursery where the planting ideas are free
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Barrels and Branches
Not many people start a business while still in their 20s. But Samantha Owens and Danica Hirsch each knew they wanted to own a nursery almost from the time they could first hold a trowel. Owens grew up on a flower farm, while Hirsch is her family’s third generation to go into the business.
'It was practically inevitable we’d end up here,” says Hirsch of the nursery the two opened ― called Barrels and Branches ― in Encinitas, California.
"Gardeners need inspiration, not just plants,” Owens says. “Fortunately, coming up with those ideas is the fun part of the job ― we both like that best."
INFO (1452 Santa Fe Dr., Encinitas, CA; 760/753-2852)
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Arrange a patio vignette
Drop bold plants singly into separate containers. Keep most of the pots in the same color range ― golden browns, for instance ― to tie everything together.
To give a small plant more presence, frame it in a large bowl set on its side, as pictured.
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"Ice" some potted plants
Big chunks of recycled blue glass (from $30 each) add a glacial touch beside blue-violet pots, each containing plants with silver-blue to bronzy purple foliage (a golden yucca adds a spritz of lime).
Owens and Hirsch also use the glass chunks to create the effect of water in dry creekbeds.
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Dress a fence
Owens and Hirsch turned pressure-treated wood left over from a building project into shadow boxes to hang on a fence. They’re strong enough to support a gallon-size plant in a ceramic pot.
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Plant a present
A small succulent in a decorative container, glammed up with a mulch of shiny pebbles, makes a great hostess gift. keeps a supply in stock just for that purpose (from $15 each).
The variegation of this crassula’s foliage provides color year-round and echoes the pot’s cinnamon hue.
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Use unique art
Quan Yin, the Chinese goddess of compassion, looks doubly serene surrounded by the mostly quiet green foliage that reinforces her mood.