Chimnea Project, Chapter 2:
The Garden Ornament


Chimnea300When I last wrote about my chimnea – the Owner’s Report – y’all had a slew of great ideas for repurposing the thing into a lovely addition to the garden, and there wasn’t a single vote to keep it on the deck where it’s just taking up space and looking like a waste of money.


But ta-dah – the chimnea has a new home.  Okay now what? 

To set the scene, there’s a bunch of 2-foot-tall variegated Solomon’s seal that will fill out across the back, and in front are the shorter Mexican Evening Primrose.  The larger plants you see are a Miscanthus, a dwarf white pine and an ‘Ogon’ spirea, plus a backdrop of the admittedly boring but useful English laurels.   

(If you voted for the chimnea to be broken up and displayed on its side, emerging from the ground like an archeological find, that’ll be next, but I’m in no hurry.)

So, design- and hort-savvy readers, what plant would you like to see spilling out of the mouth?  And as for spilling out of the TOP – also a lovely idea – I can imagine rigging up some container to suspend across the chimney, but it would need lots of watering – unless it were super-succulent.  Or maybe there’s a way to fill the whole thing with soil without it spilling out the mouth.  Your ideas, please?


  1. Can you fit a plastic pot in the top of the chimney? Maybe cut a collar out of styrofoam if the diameter of the pot is too small, and wedge it in there real tight. I’m sure lots of herbs would be happy up there–nepeta, for one. I love walkers low!

  2. I agree that it would be a perfect opportunity to safely contain something rather invasive, say a pretty variegated ivy spilling over, or catmint as suggested would be nice too. Maybe hens-and-chicks to keep with a Southwestern feel?

  3. Like Bonnie said above—ivy. Spilling out of my chimnea is one of only 2 places that I have ivy and it really looks good. I do have mine laying on its side.

  4. Seeing the ornamental grass to the left of the chiminea set me to wondering how the latter would look with some kind of grass coming out of it. I’m seeing Stipa, unless that’s a rampant reseeder for you. You know, Spiral Rush would work: put it in a pot without drainage and set that inside? It would eliminate the need to water frequently.

  5. How about a big kalanchoe (maybe a pancake one) out of the mouth and Mexican Feather Grass out of the top chimney? (Unless, as stated above, it’s a rampant reseeder.) You wouldn’t have to worry about watering it so much with those two plants.

  6. Oh please no more ivy. The birds plant enough of that invasive nasty to choke out forests and natives already.

    How about doing a soggy seasonal planting with pitcher plants? They’ll give an upright, somewhat flame-like, look on the interior. Maybe use a yellow acorus in front to trail over like a tongue? They’ll both take super soggy soil, so drainage shouldn’t be an issue.

    In top, in a pot supported in the chimney portion, what about a Carex testacea or smallish Amazing red flax to give the look of upward flames? These should be pretty drought tolerant and when you do water them, they’ll sog up the water lovers below.

    I think I created a flaming devil doing “Lion’s breath” here…

  7. I usually have either a fern of some sort or the wave Petunia tumbling out of the bottom opening and up top i plant something that’s not too picky about watering- like Blue Daze this year, or Portulaca in the past, or Ice Plant.

  8. I’m imagining a huge string of pearls plant flowing out of the top! And I think a vining nasturtium would look great coming out of the mouth.

  9. I don’t think you should have anything coming out of the top–it would look too much like a cowlick.

    Since the chiminea is native to my part of the world, I’d lean toward something that would look like it came from here. A draping succulant would look nice spilling out from the belly. An ice plant, perhaps?

    And Mexican feather grass would look ice surrounding it…

  10. If setcresia “Purple Heart” grows in your climate, that would look cool growing out of its mouth, and creeping fig growing up its sides would make it interesting I think.

    Always a treat to visit your interesting blog!
    Jon at Mississippi Garden

  11. I would have a small put with something growing out of it to come out the top and then I would train creeping jenny or lamium to come out the opening. I think you want to disguise that thing as much as possible with greenery.

  12. I really like the idea of creeping fig partially covering chimneas. I was thinking one of those faux fires with the light and fan inside and put it back on the porch. I use mine as intended on our patio often but I will be looking for a broken one to treat like a planter. Could you see a circle of these covered with creeping fig and their faux fire mouths all dancing with flame and facing a center gathering spot?

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