A pretty little tabletop garden filled with succulents or a combination of cut flowers and spring vegetables is just the thing to chase away the early spring chill.
The soil is still a bit too hard — frozen to be exact — in our neck of the woods, southwest of Chicago, to do any serious planting. During this in-between time of year, when the weather is sometimes unsettled, a small portable garden placed on a table, a kitchen counter, or windowsill is a great way to dress up your home and lift your spirits.
A basket filled with a few pots of primroses, a little Zen garden — a ceramic bowl filled with moss — or a shallow container planted with herbs are good choices.
Rosemary McCreary, author of "Tabletop Gardens" (Storey, 168 pages, $16.95) uses herbs, grasses, spring-blooming bulbs, bamboo, orchids,miniature trees, and water-loving plants like cyperus to create striking one-of-a-kind containers.
“Tabletop gardens bring the outdoors in, and many people want to feel this connection with the natural world,” she says.
Succulents, with their blue-green chunky leaves, are among her favorites. “They are neat and clean for indoors, and you don’t need much soil," she explains. "They’re inexpensive, fun, and, in a shallow tray, they make a fabulous centerpiece.”
Ms. McCreary purchases a variety of succulents with different sizes and colors of leaves and combines them in one shallow pot that has drainage holes, which is critical for growing these drought-loving plants.
Buying plants in small pots is an economical way to create a miniature garden. And don’t overlook the produce section and the floral displays in your local food market, says floral designer Dennis Kovar of Attica, Ind.