A garden oasis and cultural center overlooking the Hudson River

Pallets Take 4: Planting, Pinning, Planting

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.

Now that spring has finally decided to stay, I have started planting up the four pallets.  It’s been a slower process this year than last. Last year I did the project in one of our work areas away from the public eye, but this year I have been working at the foot of the Pergola. Many visitors stop to see what I am working on and often they have many questions. I enjoy the public’s interest and the conversations, but it does tend to slow me down a little.

Before the planting can even begin I had to add more soil to the pallets. Gaps were left where I took out last year’s plants that didn’t survive the winter. Using a staff, I pushed down the old soil from the top of the pallets to fill in the gaps below. stickThen I added a new soil mixture of sand and “Metro Mix” (peat & bark) in the top, and worked it thru the rest of the pallet.

Jenn-from-aboveReady for planting, you can see here that I am surrounded by flats of hardy, sun-loving, creeping succulents. (You can read more about this year’s selection in my first pallet blog post). I also have a couple of “home-grown” flats from cuttings I took in the Cacti & Succulent House, shown here. grown-here

It is a slow, methodical planting process as the sedums are much more delicate than the plants I used last year. Pieces break off all the time, but as this next shot demonstrates it is fairly easy to take the broken off shoots and plant them using hairpins to secure them in place. These succulents re-root quickly in the soil.broken-pieces

planting-broken-piecesI hope to finish planting all the pallets by Tuesday so I can turn my focus to the Pergola up above. Next week is our Spring Gala and the Pergola must look its best.

Working on these pallets prepares me for the upcoming Pallet Workshop I will be leading on Saturday, June 4. As I was planting I met again with Charlie Day {Horticultural Interpreter} to discuss supplies and the kinds of plants to purchase for the workshop. We don’t know how much sun or shade the participants’ homes will have for their own mini-pallets, so we decided to provide a variety of both sun and shade-loving species. We estimated that each participant’s pallets will use about 15 plants, give or take. Beforehand I plan to do a mock-up with one of the two by two feet frames we’ll be using for the workshop just to work out any kinks we may encounter.

Stay tuned for one more post this year: you have to see how the pallets look when they are fully grown in!

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