Chat With Charlie: Spring Series

Week 1: 3 Easter Vignettes

March 26, 2015 | View on Facebook here

You loved our weekly ‪#‎ChatWithCharlie‬ series with Charlie Thigpen of Charlie Thigpen’s Garden Gallery last fall, so we’ve decided to bring it back for the spring season. With Easter just around the corner, we’re getting some tabletop inspiration from Charlie, who has put together three fabulous and fresh Easter centerpieces.

1) Southern Rustic | Ideal for a console table

1aCharlie’s first vignette makes a chic statement with a fresh, natural color scheme and rustic textures. “I started off with a bed of wheatgrass–which is available at most garden shops—and used moss to conceal the rough edges,” says Charlie. The firework-shaped plants you see are called air plants, and according to Charlie, they are very popular right now.

To make the bird votive holder the focal point, Charlie used baling wire to twist “legs” that allow the holder to sit atop the wheatgrass without sinking in. A sweet bunny statue and marble eggs bring in the Easter theme in a simple, elegant way.

Because of the height, Charlie recommends placing this vignette on a console or buffet table. The arrangement is long-lasting, so you can make it as early as 4-5 weeks in advance and enjoy it as the holiday approaches.

2) Colorful Callas | Perfect for your dining room centerpiece

2bHow does Charlie describe this arrangement? “You see the colors, and immediately you know it’s Easter,” he says of the bright, pastel vignette that utilizes yellow Calla Lilies, purple Statice, and Dusty Miller plant.

Charlie explains that for the amateur flower arranger, a grouping of bud vases—instead of one large vase—can be your best friend. He says, “There is room for only 2-3 stems in a bud vase, so it makes for a foolproof flower arrangement.”

The flowers in this vignette will last for 1 ½ – 2 weeks, as long as fresh blooms are used. Says Charlie, “Take the extra time to make sure the flowers you’re buying are fresh. You can check the freshness of a Calla Lily by squeezing the stem—if it’s firm, you have a fresh flower.”

3) Easter Whimsy | Fabulous in your kitchen

3aWe adore this grouping of Gerber daisies planted inside three whimsical, egg-shaped vases. Here’s a planting tip from Charlie: “Because of the odd shape of the planter, most plastic containers won’t fit inside of it,” he says. “Instead, I planted the daisies inside plastic bags, which can form to any shape.”

When planting, use the vase colors to inspire your flower colors. “I like to plant by contrast,” says Charlie. “By planting red daisies in the white vase and white daisies in the red vase, each color pops against the vase.”

These Gerbers bring short-term color to the inside of your home, but Charlie explains that these blooms are happier outside. “After Easter, you can take the daisies out of their vases and plant them in a sunny spot in your garden,” he says. “Consider it a recycled arrangement.”

We hope this week leaves you feeling inspired when decorating for Easter. Join us next week as Charlie shares the garden trend making a splash in Southern homes.


Large Fountain with Copper spoutP1040064

Week 2: Splash into Spring

April 2, 2015 | View on Facebook here

Without a doubt, the biggest way to make an impact in your garden is with a water feature; nothing says “spring” quite like the calming trickle of a garden fountain. We’re chatting with our resident garden expert Charlie Thigpen of Charlie Thigpen’s Garden Gallery to learn the ins and outs of water features.

Today’s ‪#‎ChatWithCharlie‬ topic: Splash into Spring

Charlie knows a thing or two about water features: his shop is filled with unique fountains made from poured concrete, copper pipes, and cool salvaged materials. “I once made a water feature out of a French horn,” he chuckles. “You can make a fountain out of anything.”

The water features available at the Garden Gallery recycle their own water, so no hose is required to keep them running. “All you need to get started is a ground fault plug to safely provide power,” says Charlie. “If you don’t already have this installed outside your home, hire an electrician to do it for you.”

A water feature makes for a fabulous focal point in your garden or backyard, but it will require some moderate to high maintenance, from cleaning the pump, to replenishing water, to clearing the basin. “For easier maintenance, line your basin in a black plastic liner and top with gravel,” says Charlie. “This will help filter leaves, keeping them from clogging the pump.”

The work, though involved, will be worth it when your water feature begins attracting little bird visitors, which add playfulness to your fountain. Says Charlie, “We once had a water feature right outside the shop’s front door. We would eat lunch outdoors and be amazed at the number of birds that flocked to that fountain.”

Get inspired to splash into spring with a water feature of your own by visiting Charlie Thigpen’s Garden Gallery, which is nestled between 2nd Ave S and 3rd Ave S in Pepper Place. Check out some of his favorite water features in the photos below, and join us next Thursday morning as we chat with Charlie about more spring gardening tips.

Week 3: Create a DIY Terrarium

April 8th, 2015 | View on Facebook here

The #1 on-trend way to bring the outdoors in this season is through terrariums—these miniature enclosed gardens make a statement on a coffee table or as a dining room centerpiece.

We’re sharing step-by-step instructions for creating your own DIY terrarium from Charlie Thigpen, formerly of Southern Living and the owner of Charlie Thigpen’s Garden Gallery in Pepper Place.

Today’s ‪#‎ChatWithCharlie‬ topic: Gardening Behind Glass 101

“There are two types of terrariums: open and closed,” explains Charlie. “An open terrarium is ideal for succulents that thrive in dry conditions, while a closed terrarium has a lid and creates a more humid environment.”

Once you’ve decided on your type of terrarium, simply select a clear glass container, gather your materials, and start layering.

P1080198Step 1: Gravel

Gravel is necessary for drainage, so add a good 2-3 inches in the bottom of your terrarium to promote good water flow. “Here, I’ve used aquarium gravel for its fine texture,” says Charlie. “But you could substitute crushed glass for a unique look.”

P1080200Step 2: Charcoal (closed terrarium only)

Charlie recommends adding a thin layer on top of the gravel, which will help absorb moisture in a closed terrarium and remove any potential odor caused by standing water that may collect at the bottom of your container.

P1080199Step 3: Moss

“A layer of moss between the gravel and soil will help prevent the two from mixing,” Charlie explains. “This is especially useful if you need to re-plant, because it will keep the soil separate from the gravel.” Here, Charlie uses sphagnum moss, but sheet moss is a good alternative.

P1080202Step 4: Soil

Depending on the size of your terrarium, you’ll want to add 2-4 inches of soil before adding your plants. Look for a well-draining potting soil that is free from moisturizer pellets and fertilizer, which may cause your plants to outgrow the container. Here’s a tip from Charlie: “Wet the soil before putting it in your terrarium for an easier time watering,” he says.

Terrariums make a fabulous addition to your indoors and require very little maintenance. Open terrariums require watering once every 1-2 weeks, while closed terrariums need to be watered once every 2-3 weeks. Check out the photos below for step-by-step instructions for building your own terrarium.

Visit Charlie Thigpen’s Garden Gallery for terrarium containers and plants to get started on building your own terrarium this spring.


Charlie Cindy scarvesWeek 4: Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

April 22, 2015 | View on Facebook here

Mother’s Day is on its way, and we’ve got some great gift ideas you can find right here in Birmingham. We’re at Charlie Thigpen’s Garden Gallery in Pepper Place with Charlie and his wife Cindy sourcing fabulous finds that are sure to bring a smile to Mom’s face.

This week’s ‪#‎ChatWithCharlie‬ topic: Top 5 Mother’s Day Gifts

1) Locally-Crafted Pottery
These pieces of art by Alabama’s own DaySprings Pottery start as real leaves that are pressed into clay then cut out and shaped.

“Each creation by DaySprings is food safe, so they can be used as place settings and serving trays,” says Cindy. “Plus, the artist loves poetry and often carves a poem on the back of her larger pieces.”

2) Handcrafted Wood Treasures from the Heart of Alabama
The Garden Gallery is the exclusive retailer of these intricate wood items handcrafted by a local artist.

“The cheese board is made of elder, walnut, oak, and purple heart wood and can also be used as a cutting board,” says Charlie. “The ash box makes a great keepsake box for Mom’s jewelry.”

3) Leather Purse
Cindy adores these leather hide purses handcrafted by Dragana, an artist originally from Bosnia who now lives in Pelham.

“Dragana learned her craft from her father,” Cindy explains. “She handcrafts leather into beautiful one-of-a-kind purses and accessories.”

4) Tillandsias in a Fun Container
“Airplants are an easy and interesting way to add greenery to your environment,” says Charlie. “We have an abundant variety of plants and containers, so you can choose a combination that is as individual as your mom.”

5) Thistle Farms
These natural bath and body products are as good for the earth as they are for the body.

“Each product is handmade by women in the Magdalene program in Nashville,” says Cindy. “And all proceeds directly benefit the women by whom they were made.”

Which of these Top 5 gifts would your mom love? Stop by Charlie Thigpen’s Garden Gallery, which is nestled between 2nd Ave S and 3rd Ave S, to find a one-of-a-kind gift for your mom this Mother’s Day.

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