A garden oasis and cultural center overlooking the Hudson River

Pallets Take 2: Accommodating Design Changes

Wave Hill gardener Jen Cimino earned her BS in Wildlife Management and Natural Resources from the University of New Hampshire, where she got her first taste of horticulture.  In the last five years, her responsibilities have included the Tropical House in the Marco Polo Stufano Conservatory, the Pergola, the Kate French Terrace, The Rossbach Monocot Border and the Aquatic Garden. In early June, she will offer a workshop on preparing and planting up a wood pallet.

Back at the beginning of March, I placed an order with Creek Hill Nursery for the plantings in the pallets. Since then, the nursery has been in touch with some change in what is available. As a result, I have had to replace Sedum ‘Silver Stone’ (unavailable) with Sedum reflexum ‘Blue Spruce.’ As you can see, they look like similar in appearance, and both are hardy and grow six to 10 inches tall. (Special thanks to the nursery for the use of these images, showcasing Sedum ‘Silver Stone’ on the left and Sedum reflexum on the right.)

Two Sedums

In addition, it turns out that my Sedum ‘Striatum’ is on backorder and won’t be shipped until the end of April. That will change my planting strategy a bit, as I will have to leave empty spaces in the pallets to account for planting the Sedum ‘Striatum’ later this month.

Cuttings-1This is actually quite common in the horticulture world. What you may imagine or design during the dark winter months doesn’t always work out the way you planned it on paper. Cuttings-2There are crop failures, germination failures, certain plants become unavailable from nurseries, cuttings don’t root―and gardeners have to accommodate such changes in their designs. For me, it’s not a big deal because my designs are pretty flexible, and I find that whatever I initially design on paper always seems to change when I have actual plants in hand and start planting.Cuttings-4

For the past few weeks, I have also been taking cuttings of tender succulents from our Cactus and Succulent House. I plan to mix these tender succulents with my hardy succulents for more seasonal color and textural variation in the pallets. At the “mist bench” at the back of the Tropical House, I place the cuttings in a mixture of three parts perlite to one part peat, and expect to see them begin to grow and root anywhere between four and six weeks.

Over the next couple weeks, I will be preparing the pallets for planting. Look for another bulletin then!

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