Creating a Picture Frame Garden

Creating a Picture Frame Garden

Part of Ep. 1601 The Magic of Gardening

Jan Wos, owner of Mayflower Greenhouse in Green Bay, demonstrates how to create a picture frame garden and paint with plants.

Premiere date: Mar 01, 2008

TRANSCRIPT+
Wisc Gardener Transcript: 

Shelley:
I always said gardening was a form of art.  Now I've got proof.  Isn't this beautiful?  We're at Mayflower Greenhouse in Green Bay.  I'm with the owner, Jan Wos.  Jan, you're an artist. 

Jan:
I don't know about that.  Anybody can do it if you show the how-to.  It's a good reason to go to garage sales. 

Shelley:
Oh, yeah!

Jan:
First you have to start with a good frame.  Not necessarily a good frame, but one you like. 

Shelley:
Something pretty. 

Jan:
Something that will fit your garden decor. 

Shelley:
Do you recommend doing anything to it to waterproof it? 

Jan:
The best thing would probably be to use this varnish. 

Shelley:
Just a polyurethane. 

Jan:
Yes, one or two coats because it will be in water all the time. 

Shelley:
You don't want it to rot too quickly. 

Jan:
Waterproof it.  Then, attach the chicken wire.  Use staples or nails. 

Shelley:
Just staple it? 
Jan:
With a staple gun and you're good to go.  The second step would be to make yourself a box to hold the plants.  It depends how you want to display it.  If it's going to hang this way drainage holes have to be down here.  If you have it like this then you have your drainage holes here. 

Shelley:
Whichever way you think it's going to lay you need holes, not in the back of it but on the bottom of it. 

Jan:
Because the frame will be either hanging or standing on an easel.  Water goes down and it needs to have room to drain. 

Shelley:
Any kind of wood? 

Jan:
Treated wood would be best.  Your creation will last, not forever, but very long time. 

Shelley:
Could I do it with a plastic box if I found one? 

Jan:
Anything goes.  Use your imagination.  Make sure that this frame will be thick enough to hold enough soil. 

Shelley:
Okay, it's going to have some weight in it. 

Jan:
Absolutely.  Because we're dealing with succulents they don't need too much moisture, but still they need to have some soil and water as well.  Then attach this frame with 5/8 screws to the frame. 

Shelley:
With these little “L” brackets. 

Jan:
And you can get them at any hardware store.  The same with the screws and you're good to go. 

Shelley:
You've got one started over there. 

Jan:
We have one that is already started. 
Shelley:
Explain to me the stick in the middle. 

Jan:
We will be doing a little tree, like you showed before.  You take a branch or twig and drill the holes.  Use wire to attach it to the mesh.  The next step would be your soil to put into the back.  Normally, you plant succulents in soil that has more sand.  In this case, we don't recommend that. 

Shelley:
Why? 

Jan:
This holds moisture better and works better for the plants than a soil with sand. 

Shelley:
I suppose it also helps keep the plants in here.  If they're in sand, they might fall out. 

Jan:
Normally, we do not recommend to press the soil in your container but in this case, you have to press it a little bit. 

Shelley:
Again, you don't want it to fall out. 

Jan:
Exactly, you don't want to have it like concrete, but you still need to cover the chicken mesh that will hold your plants in the spot.  If it's too much, simply brush it off and you're good to go. 

Shelley:
So now, we paint with plants. 

Jan:
And you have many options.  If the frame is small you should use small growing plants.  If the frame is big, you can use even like this and you can have beautiful flowers.  With bigger frames, bigger plants. 

Let's create that tree.  We could use for this very attractive hen and chicks.  But with the gold we want to go with a gold background so this is kind of washed out.  It does not have enough contrast. 

Shelley:
You want something that pops. 

Jan:
Absolutely.  Let's use the regular hen and chicks.  It's also a perennial. 

Shelley:
Look at the more contrast. 

Jan:
Right away, the picture is very alive.  If you could help me, I'd very much appreciate it.  Team work.  And planting those, make sure... 

Shelley:
These are just going to root, too? 

Jan:
Yes, and they are going to grow as well so you need to leave space between the plants.  Otherwise, in the middle of the season-- Something like that, you basically leave-- because it already started root.  It will not take too much time, and it will be very well rooted.  But as I said, you need to give them space to grow.  Otherwise in the middle of the season you would have to thin it out. 

Shelley:
Sure, and if you don't want to do that. 

Jan:
It will be too much.  It will not look too good.  Then go around and create this background. 

Shelley:
What about winter care for something like this? 

Jan:
Very simple.  If you want to store it over the winter simply take the frame off, unscrew those screws and hold your plants in a cold garage or something.  They will stay alive till next spring. 
Next spring, you might want to just cut them down a little bit, if it's necessary and you're good to go. 

Shelley:
I love it.  So you just keep adding to this?  You do a base?  You end up with something like this gorgeous finished product.  I've got to show this one more time. 

Jan:
If the plants get too big, basically use a pruners or scissors and pinch them back.  The more you pinch them back, the denser it will be.  And this is your painting. 

Shelley:
This is absolutely gorgeous.  I can't wait to try something like this.  You truly are an artist.  Thank you, Jan. 
Jan:
Thank you. 

Shelley:
From swimming holes to painting with plants.  As we've shown you, the “Magic of Gardening” is endless.  What kind of magic can you create in your own backyard?  I'm Shelley Ryan.  Thanks for watching the Wisconsin Gardener. 

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Major funding for the Wisconsin Gardener is provided by Fiskars, a Wisconsin developer of universally designed ergonomic garden tools; designed for ease of use.  There's more to learn about Fiskars commitment to inspiring gardeners at fiskars.com Additional funding is provided by the Wisconsin Master Gardener Association. 

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