If there’s anything better than shopping for plants, it’s being inspired as to how to display them — and in Birmingham, Charlie Thigpen’s Garden Gallery at Pepper Place has some of the best examples:
Charlie worked at Southern Progress (Southern Living) for over twenty years and was featured in the magazine last year with this garden which had people calling Charlie from all over for one of these beautiful huge trellises.
I get the impression that he carefully curates the plants he stocks — that he doesn’t just take everything from any one grower, but brings in selected varieties that work and are interesting. A couple of years ago I got this terrific ghost pepper, and this year he brought me around to a certain red okra that I’m trying…
…including bottle trees, below, and in the center here is a sculpture by Virginia Bullman and LaNelle Davis:
…and — I love this quote — she says about these sculptures, “Our intent is to honor those women in all of our lives who feed us, clothe us and comfort us when we are down. They tend to be invisible but they hold the world together.”
Last year, two of my best friends and I took one of his classes to learn to make hypertufa garden containers (they’re made of peat moss, perlite, and portland cement — they’re super strong and not heavy like regular concrete). I think he’s offering these classes once a month now. The right-side pics are from our class, mixing and molding, and the large pic on the left is one of the containers I made that I just filled this week with some really nice plants from his shop: