Container Garden Artisan Kris Blevons

While I'm working on the book, I thought it would be appropriate to share the work of other 'Container Garden Artisans' so that you can see all of the different ways to artistically combine plants. First up is Kris Blevons, who manages the boutique chic Oak Street Garden Shop in Birmingham Alabama. Her arrangements are filled with drama and thoughtful touches, and range from bountiful blasts of orchids and curly willow to modern pairings of snake plant and Tillandsia. You guys are in for a treat!

Kris has been managing Oak Street Garden Shop for over 20 years, and has just gotten their beautiful new website up and running. She didn't always manage a garden shop, but she tells me that it still plays a huge role in her creative process and that 'My background is actually in the theater arts, and I love that I'm still doing something that I believe to be truly artistic in nature.' I can definitely see the influence. In many of her pieces the plantings appear to be intricately designed sets with orchid blooms playing the lead roles, graceful dancers suspended in space.

A blast of orange orchids erupts like fireworks from a blue-and-white dish, mimicking the color and shape of the little orange flourishes on the pot. I'm not sure how much this one would have cost, but how can you put a price tag on a veritable garden full of orchids that blooms throughout the year? The credit for this one goes to her talented greenhouse manager, Jamie Cross.

In what is probably her most daring combination, Kris combines Sansevieria cylindrica with some Tillandsias (that have taken on a flush of red before blooming) against white rocks in an open-face terrarium. Unlike her other designs, this one is jarring and intense.

I think that Kris Blevons' trademark twist is the way she stakes the orchid blooms using decorative elements such as curly willow or pussy willow. It not only gives the orchids support, but makes her arrangements look natural and exuberant.

This arrangement highlights terrariums as a way to display orchids, and the addition of decorative moss, Tillandsias and the finishing touch of a tied off ribbon makes the entire design just as interesting as the purple Phalaenopsis orchids floating above.


If Attempting These Yourself...

Have fun! Other than that, some of the glass containers lack drainage holes and will need special consideration since orchids and succulents do not like to stand in water. Add a drainage layer of sand or gravel (along with a bit of activated charcoal if available) to the bottom and water carefully or with a spray mister so that the roots absorb the water before it collects at the bottom.

A New Kind of Garden Center

The Oak Street Garden Shop is at once old fashioned and cutting edge: Along with trendy Tillandsias, succulents and miniature gardens, you can find a tastier display of heirloom tomatoes, squashes and just about everything else in season. The Oak Street Local Market works with local gardeners and farmers to sell a fresh, diverse assortment of produce, eggs, nuts, honey and preserves to the public, and I can only hope that such an idea catches on in my hometown. In the most literal sense of the phrase, you might say that Oak Street is the best way to get a bit of Birmingham's local flavor.

More Inspiration from Kris and Oak Street

Kris is very proud of her hardworking and creative staff and hopes that you'll stop by to see what they've cooked up. Until then, be sure to check out these links to see more of their work.

Oak Street Garden Center's Website
Oak Street Garden Center's Facebook Page
Oak Street Garden Center's Pinterest



  1. Wow. Thank you for sharing those spectacular designs! Each one is stunning. And I adore the shop! I wish we had such a great venue in Upstate SC.

    1. It's up there with Ikea in my book; Everything cool is in one place! I would love to visit in person someday.

  2. The orange orchid pot is just amazing. Thank you for sharing this.

    1. All I know is that I'll have to make a smaller version of my own someday! Orchids are pricey, but boy are they worth it.

  3. That is truly an adorable little place that I too wish we had locally! She is definitely an artist and I am in love with the Sansevieria Tillansia combo! Outstanding!

  4. Love this garden center! Thanks for sharing Steve! Her arrangements are gorgeous!


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