Gardener uses plants instead of paint to create a green portrait.

The photo at right was sent to us by one of our customers in Virginia. Maureen and her husband purchased a Living Wall Panel
from our web site and used it to create the best version of a “green man
that we’ve ever seen! Here’s her story:

“My husband and I always scan through the Gardener’s Supply catalog when we receive it,” said Maureen. “This past spring, we saw the Living Wall Panel and thought it could be used to make a nice “point of interest” on some lattice work in the back yard. We imagined filling it with ivies and other low-maintenance, drought-resistant plants. When our big spring order arrived (we had ordered a number of other items), my husband took a look at all of the cells and said, ‘Wouldn’t this be cute if we actually made it alive – like a person?’

I didn’t give it much thought at the time, as the spring planting season was upon us in full swing! My husband, however, took the living wall with him to our local nursery (English Country Gardens in Manassas, Va.). He told the ladies there that he wished to create something unique for me for Mother’s Day, and that he’d like to make a ‘living’ face. So, according to my husband, the next hour was spent with the nursery ladies ‘trying out’ a variety of plant options. Most of the plants they selected were from the Stepables line of groundcover plants, as they are relatively small in size and fit easily into the individual cells. My husband gathered up these plants, added a small cactus that he picked up at the local Southern States, and brought them all home to put together. He planted rye grass in places where he believed whiskers should grow.

The finished product was given to me on Mother’s Day morning, when I returned from a weekend trip with my sisters. Instead of hanging it in the backyard, where it would not be readily visible, my husband hung my gift on a portion of a wooden fence at the side of our home, where it marks the true beginning of our magnificent gardens! About two or three days later, I was passing by, looked up, and told my husband that our “boy’s” name was Ira. As you can imagine, Ira was, and remains, the biggest point of interest in all of our gardens. Comments have ranged from, “Good Lord!,” to “Unbelievable,” to “You have WAY too much time on your hands!” Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if many of these comment-makers create their own Ira next spring!”

Maureen was kind enough to send along the plant list (below), should you be interested in creating your own “green man”. We recommend using our Drought-Resistant Container Mix, though Maureen’s husband used our Self-Watering Container Mix and it is working just fine. Maureen sprays Ira monthly with diluted liquid fertilizer (we’d recommend All Purpose Plant Health Care) and she trims him up as needed to maintain his dapper appearance.

  • Nose: miniature barrel cactus
  • Mouth, eyebrows, ear tufts: Scotch moss (Sangina)
  • Whiskers: rye grass (Maureen says he needs to be shaved occasionally)
  • Beard: creeping jenny (Lysimachia)
  • Eyes: thrift (Armeria)
  • Skin: Corsican sandwort (Arenaria)
  • Hair: miniature golden sweet flag (Acorus)
-Kathy LaLiberte
Director of Gardening, Gardener’s Supply