Contained: Planter Ideas for Balcony Gardens from the 2011 San Francisco Garden Show

The San Francisco Garden Show had a ton of container plantings accenting the display landscapes, and standing on their own. The nice thing about displays of containers is that you can generally recreate them at home with little fuss. Here are some of the highlights from the show:

This stand of terra cotta pots all stacked and arranged was kind of wild, just because they kept to their theme so thoroughly:

interesting ways with terra cotta pots

Lots of ideas in this one. Hanging glass teardrops, pots all strung together and hung, and I love those cool cone-shaped planters with the stands:

cool display of terra cotta pots

After a few hours browsing the show, you lose a sense of perspective. Is this cool or just weird? I can’t even tell anymore:

losing all sense of perspective - neato or just weird

Here’s another one of those cone-shaped pots with a stand. I love it!

neat container

On first blink, these crazy industrial planters just looked cold to me. But the more I looked, the more I got into their futuristic alien desert kind of feel: wild containers 2

interesting take on containers

This pot was top-dressed with crushed gravel, then rubber rounds were individually placed on top. Not sure how practical it is if you have kids or pets, but it’s a neat idea:

interesting idea for containers

I loved this G (which stands for Gen, of course). And this wall idea could totally be redesigned for balcony gardens:

g for Gen vertical gardening wall

These hanging bowls are neat, if planted with drought-tolerant species:

stone wall containers hanging bowls

These living wall frames are stoopid pricy, but you could totally make them yourself on the cheap.

Garden Up! has a bit of how-to on the topic:make this at home

Lastly, many of Johanna Silver’s raised garden bed alternatives could work on a balcony. I dig her potato towers towards the back:

display by johanna silver

Want to read more from the SF Garden Show? Check out these posts:

Highlights and Lowlights From the SF Garden Show

Edible Landscaping Ideas From the SF Garden Show

Rockin’ It: Odd and Innovative Use of Stone at the SF Garden Show

16 responses to “Contained: Planter Ideas for Balcony Gardens from the 2011 San Francisco Garden Show”

  1. Hi Gen,
    Wow – what outstanding pics – makes my frozen heart here in western New York ACHE for succulents, lush, tropical leaves and sun-drenched balconies filled with happy plants (wonder if Fern from Life on the Balcony would be interested in these pics?) I also love the cone-shaped containers – like an ice cream cone of tasty, plant yummi-ness. And how cool to have a different shape on the bottom – now THAT’S composition! The alien landscape with those industrial definitely made me feel like I was in a fantasy world – in a good way. I know what you’re talking about, with that disconnected, out-of-sorts feeling you get at a garden show after a while…it’s like you need to walk outside and look at an ugly strip mall or something just to clear the mental palette so you can go back in and appreciate the beauty. Great job on this post – lots of ideas! Keep ’em coming!

    • Thanks, Lisa! Yes, I am now itching to get some of those cone-shaped containers. And the little teardrop ones towards the top really got me too. I’d love to have them hanging indoors!
      You’ve described the garden show experience perfectly, Lisa. That is exactly how I felt!

    • Awesome! I loved the way they did something so fresh with such a normal material. I mean, who doesn’t have terra cotta pots around?

    • I know!!! I even have a local succulent seller who gives me wholesale pricing on them, and it’s STILL insane to make a whole big thing of them. I’m not patient enough for cuttings and waiting for them all to root to put up a sideways/vertical deal.

      • Maybe plant swaps are the answer. Don’t we all know someone who has tons of sempervivums growing on a rock somewhere in their yard? Maybe you could divide or give up a plant baby you know this friend is salivating for in exchange for a little semp harvest at their house? Or, maybe you can get the same look temporarily with some spreading, creeping, succulent-looking ice plant or stonecrop? I also wonder if creeping groundcovers like those in the Jeepers Creepers line could give you a great hanging garden wall for less?

  2. Gen, You make a good point that after touring those shows for awhile you do begin to lose some perspective about what’s really new & exciting vs. simply wierd. Those cone planters do seem to be the new ‘in’ thing. I’ve yet to see them in any local stores so I’ll be interested to look at price tags when I do.

  3. Thanks for all the San Fran show highlights – and lowlights. I love those hanging glass bubble terrariums. They are one of the most popular items I sell!

    You’re right about those succulent cubes Gen, you don’t have to be a carpenter to make those. So I think I will this year. I just might try to place them somewhere on my new chicken coop.

    • Jayme, doesn’t a chicken coop just call for ornamentation? Every time I see a new idea I’m like – chicken coop!!! That’s where it’ll go!

  4. Great pictures. I attended the show and missed some of these! I love the little bowls hanging from the wall and your idea using the angled wall on a balcony is great. I was most inspired by the Pi r Squared garden.

    • Yay! I too love the little bowls. The watering is an issue but I think the right plant could take it, and if you angled the bowls a bit to hold water easier… could work!

  5. Great post, Gen. I’m a container designer in Denver and couldn’t get to either the SF or Seattle shows. The photos have been great, and of course I adore all the container shots/ideas… thanks for all the inspiration!