Sue Walsh: Nature Contained

February 4, 2014

One of the many great things about container gardening is that it doesn’t have to be seasonal—even here in New England. Select a planter you love, fill it with “nature,” and enjoy it year-round. Many of our container plantings are ferns or succulents. Ferns provide wonderful texture and movement, and the variety of greens seems infinite. Besides, they are quite sultry. Succulents are a staple—especially the interesting frosty echeveria—ruffles, points, dew drops—shapes, sizes, and texture—the combinations are endless.


Resin containers are lightweight but durable. Pennoyer Newman containers are cast from estate originals and hand-poured in New York. They can withstand New England winters…but are refined enough for a spot inside. This is the Frick Garden Pot in Limestone with a fern: outside on a granite wall last summer; inside on a teak table today.

How about a burnt teak bowl from Indonesia with a mix of ferns? This pairing of bright and silvery green ferns with black makes the planting a bit “wildly” elegant. This arrangement will move to a covered porch or outdoor spot with indirect light this summer.


Many gardeners have great success with succulents. They are fun and likely to expand in unforeseen ways. They look great in all shapes and sizes of containers. With succulents anything goes!

This footed Modern Bowl from Pennoyer Newman spent the summer in the backyard enjoying morning sun. It’s now situated indoors, overlooking its summer spot.

This is an uproarious planting in a John Lamos water sphere. Each season we put this outside in late spring, add some color, and let it go. It’s not easy to contain this one!

One bright-green succulent in a black pot. Simple, easy—a little bit of nature in a bowl.

For the less-gifted gardener, zinc-coated iron succulents resting on a bed of moss are definitely good for all four seasons!

—Sue Walsh

Sue Walsh and her sister Maureen own Artefact Home | Garden, a shop in Belmont, Massachusetts, that sells furniture, lighting, decorative accessories, and gifts, as well as being home to a boutique container-gardening and floral-design venture. They continually seek out beautifully designed pieces from local artisans and craftspeople around the globe for a design-loving clientele whose aesthetic emphasizes casual glamour and laid-back luxury.

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