Today everyone is excited about green gardening and planting everything from roofs to walls. Vertical gardening has shown up in trade journals and garden magazines around the world. I first began planting what I called Living Pictures, or Living Murals, in the early 1980's. In September 1984 Sunset Magazine published an article about my living picture and it demonstrated how to make your own frame and how to plant it.
There are many different products available today to plant and place on walls. The materials vary from ceramics, plastics, and metals to more natural and sustainable materials. The degree of sophistication also varies widely from how they mount on walls and how they are watered. Some of the frames are more plant specific and my redwood frame is made specifically for succulent plants. I had stopped making the Living Pictures for many years and only recently decided to bring them back after realizing a much simpler container was all that was needed for smaller succulent wall plantings.
I first came up with the idea to build a frame for planting and hanging when I was riding around Santa Cruz on my bicycle. I noticed an apple box on someone's porch filled with soil and succulent cuttings. They used the box to store extra cuttings and I was struck by how cool it would look placed vertical on a wall. Of course, the plants and soil would fall out, so I went to work on a way to prevent that.
My father helped me build a box out of redwood that looked like a picture frame. We added a cut, curf, in the frame so we could slide a wire mesh in and placed a piece of plywood on the back. What we ended up with was a shallow planter box with a plywood bottom, a wire mesh face, and soil in between.
I placed succulent cuttings atop the wire mesh and once they had rooted and filled in the space entirely, I hung the frame up. The roots going behind the wire mesh held everything together. Voila! The Living Picture.
There are many different products available today to plant and place on walls. The materials vary from ceramics, plastics and metals to more natural and sustainable materials. The degree of sophistication also varies widely from how they mount on walls and how they are watered. Most of the more sophisticated products are either not available to the home gardener, or they are over kill. My frame is not for every application, but it is a frame that, if right for your application, you can make yourself, or buy ready made from me.
Our current inventory of frames was made by a friend of mine out of recycled redwood. The wood is old growth redwood milled from the old floor joists of a warehouse that was dismantled. We have listed only our most popular sizes on our site, if you are interested in other sizes please call us!
Caring for your planted Living Picture Frame:
Once your frame arrives it is ready to hang and enjoy!
How do I do hang it? We do not put hangers on the back of the frame, however if you wish to do so you may. In the nursery we simply hang them by the lip on the back of the frame.
How does it drain? You will notice there are no drainage holes in your frame, they are not necessary. The frame will drain out of the corners where the wood is joined.
How do I water it? To water your frame take it down off the wall, lay it on its back and water it thoroughly about once a week. How much water? Thoroughly water it; with a watering can or hose; simply misting the plants with a spray bottle is not sufficient.
Where should I hang my frame? It should be hung outside, part sun part shade. Morning sun, afternoon shade is best.
Should I fertilize my frame? Yes; with a 1/4 dose of a balanced fertilizer about once every 6-8 weeks. You do not need to buy special food, however we do sell an excellent fertilizer called Maxsea, which you can read about in our online shop.
For information on planting a kit, and caring for it during this process please click on the link below to read our step by step directions!
Learn more about vertical gardening with succulent plants.
Watch a video on 'The Cube' from the 2010 San Francisco Flower and Garden Show!