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Hi little aloes, and happy Thursday!
Well, happyish anyway. I’m going to be honest. I’ve been feeling totally disjointed the last couple of days. Has anyone else been feeling weird? Maybe it’s the harvest moon, or autumn, or that mr_s is on hiatus (don’t panic, he’ll be back Sunday), or that I’ve woken up to rain two days in a row (where’s my blue sky, New Mexico?) or maybe it’s my general Piscean sensitivities. Whatever the reason, my focus has been, well, compromised. This photo is similar to how I feel:
This storm the other night was beautiful, colorful, captivating, thrilling and dangerous. She was ready to strike at any moment. I’m not saying I’m all that. But I do think it’s a metaphor for my life right now. For all of our lives, not just mine.
You see, I started off the week feeling so peaceful and creative. I’d spent the weekend making some beautiful gardens, and it’d been awhile, so it was absorbing and fulfilling. I also photographed a lot, and am getting to know my newish camera better. So it was good. The projects turned out well, check out these sweet succulent gardens that will one day hang vertically in my garden:
It was after making these that the disjointed feeling crept in, and hunkered down. What should I do, I wondered, what? What? WHAT? How can I parlay this passion into something that makes the world a better place?¹
I decided on a theme week. Yes! A theme week would help me focus and concentrate on the trends I love – Vertical Gardens and Living Artwork. I love theme weeks! So I dove right in, but then, yesterday, I was like, “What am I doing?” Am I just blathering on about my own projects, or was I going to showcase designers who were doing it professionally? I definitely wanted to showcase everyone, but then it became a much bigger project than I had anticipated. I guess I didn’t expect the kindness and generosity that the designers responded to me with after I appealed to them. They are wonderful, and I would like to give them their due. And I will.
But there’s that disjointed feelin’ again. It hasn’t gone away. Maybe it will once the moon begins to wane…that’s often how it goes.
I think this is sortof my way of letting this theme week fizzle out. I’ll be back tomorrow with an all new Ask the Experts (we do that every Friday), so today was going to end the week anyway. But. Well. So. Anyway. Um, see ya manana?
Hey look, another pretty picture:
See? Disjointed. And striking out!
¹ Via blog, in this instance. I mean, generally I try to make the world a better place all the time. Who would want to make it worse? Not gardeners or Nature lovers. But I was referring specifically to what I could do with the blog to improve the planet.
Hello hollyhocks and happy Wednesday!
Let’s look at pretty vertical garden designs, shall we?
First up is from Green Over Grey, a design company in Vancouver, Canada. I adore their work:
Another of their gorgeous creations:
I’ll have more on Green Over Grey coming soon.
From H2O Architects in France, this stunning mirror garden:
This wall was created by vertical living wall designer Joe Zazzera at Plant Solutions, I found it on Gavin’s site, it’s a restaurant in Newport Beach, California called True Food Kitchen, by Dr. Andrew Weil and Fox Restaurant Concepts. It’s impressive:
I also love this barrel cactus wall at Plant Solutions:
Here’s another beautiful succulent garden, this one from Inside Out Design Landscapers Gregory Thirloway and Glen Fretwell:
Hopefully I’ll have more on all these designers¹ soon. Their creativity is making me swoon!
Gavin over at Living Wall Art has introduced me to all sorts of cool projects. He’s constantly showcasing really creative people. Thanks Gavin!
I’m also really impressed with Ben’s site Lushe Urban Greening. Thanks for all your work, guys!
I don’t know what it is today…maybe it’s the rare cloudy rainy day in Albuquerque or maybe it’s all the sugar I’ve had this morning. I meant to reach for greater heights with this post, especially since mr_s is on hiatus, but this is what I have for now. If you have favorite designers or websites promoting them, I’d love to hear from you.
¹ Of course, Patrick Blanc is a leader in the industry, but I’ve already covered many of his designs in previous posts.
Hi pumpkins, and happy Tuesday! Welcome back to my latest theme week, Vertical Gardens and Living Artwork!
Today, we’re going to play with succulents. Before we get started, a big fat disclaimer, aka, covering my ass:
Caution – Danger! Danger! Danger! Many succulents contain sap so it’s important to wear gloves when handling them! The sap can irritate the skin and make your eyes swell, so be very careful to wash your hands thoroughly and often, and don’t touch your eyes! Houseplants in general are apt to be poisonous, so tread carefully. I don’t want anyone to get hurt or swollen or itchy while experimenting with houseplants, succulents or otherwise.
Danger aside, I still think succulents are a great way to introduce kids to nature. They’re juicy, they grow really fast, and they’re funky. You can get a kid hooked on gardening for life with succulents, just play it safe, ok? Ok, good, we have a deal.
How To Create A Succulent Wall Hanging
There are a thousand ways to build your own wall hanging, there are a thousand containers and a thousand plants from which to choose. I’m going to show you how I made my most recent succulent garden in hopes that you get the general basics, and from there, you can let your creativity explode.
I knew I wanted to create a design to hang outside in my garden, so I started with a basket that I liked the shape of -it was deep, but not so deep it would look weird hanging on a wall.
I gathered the basket and the plants on my work station in the back garden:
The plan is that after it’s all planted and rooted in, I can take it off the wall (or fence), drench the whole container with a hose until it’s thoroughly soaked, then hang it back up again. I suppose I could just spray it with the hose while it’s on the wall, but that seems, I don’t know, rude or something.
By planting these little guys in a basket, I’m ensuring they’ll have good drainage. I wanted to make it easier for them inside the container, too. So I lined the bottom with gravel from my driveway:
Then, I’m not kidding, I made a mixture of Fox Farm Ocean Forest Potting Soil and gravel from my driveway. I really did, look:
How dork is that? Like mixing cake batter. Anyway, it was effective. Succulents appreciate a porous mix of regular potting soil and tiny rocks or sand even. You don’t want to plant in all sand or rocks, because they won’t retain enough moisture for the plants to thrive.
I decided not to secure the soil mixture like I had in yesterday’s post for a couple of reasons. One, I know this planter is going to stay indoors until spring, because it’s already September, and I don’t want to take any chances on these little guys getting too cold. By spring, their roots will have secured so well in the soil, that I won’t need anything to help hold the soil in place. There’s one more reason, but I’m getting ahead of myself again.
The planter was ready for the plants:
I love this first juicy fella. He was labeled “Haworthia,” which is not really very helpful:
Haworthia what? cooperi? cymbiformis? bayeri? I mean, I don’t care, I’m going to love him anyway. I’ll probably name him Larry and forget all about his particular cultivar. But I’ve been trying to get the correct names for my readers who like to know.
I looked at the labels while I was at the nursery, and asked an employee about them. He was about as useful as the label.
This one was labeled, “Echeveria.” Thanks, that’s again super helpful.
What type of Echeveria is it? I don’t know – after scrolling through pages and pages of pinkish bluish rosette succulents, they all start to look a little alike to me. My bad!
I planted five plants total, and added more of the potting soil mixture around the plants:
Aw, they look cute in there!
Ok, remember when I said I had one more reason for not securing the plants in the soil? It’s because I had another layer I wanted to add in order to help both secure the plants and retain moisture.
See, I’m already wondering how these guys will do in our hot desert summers. Once they’re outside, even if they’re not in full sun, the heat is brutal.
I had some moss leftover from previous plantings, so I decided to try using it:
Well, it sure looks pretty now. I’ll be mindful of watering through the winter months. And if the moss turns all brown and gross looking, I’ll pluck it off. No harm, no foul.
I couldn’t resist sneaking a peek at what it will look like:
Ok, I can’t stand it completely upright right after I planted it, but did it spark your enthusiasm? I’d love to know if you decide to try making a living wall hanging of your own. For indoors or out.
I’ll be back manana to continue Vertical Gardens and Living Artwork week. Instead of looking at my creations, we’ll check out what brilliant designers around the globe are creating – hint, they’re breathtaking projects! Hope to see you here!
Hi cupcakes, and happy Monday!
Since I began making vertical gardens several months ago, I’ve been obsessed. I’m always on the lookout for interesting containers and interesting plants. When I see a potential container, I imagine what it might look like hanging on my living room wall, or out in the garden.
So when I saw this weird tray/picture frame on clearance at Target, I was all over it:
From what I could tell, you’re supposed to put pictures of your adorable kids or pets or something in the bottom, then use the tray to serve food and I guess, solicit compliments from your guests. I’m not sure, but then, I would rather elicit compliments for the food. Anyway.
I saw the tray, and its clearance price and thought, that could look really pretty hanging with plants in it. So I bought it.
For the next several days, I’m going to show you step-by-step instructions on how to make your own pieces of living artwork. Tomorrow, for example, I’ll show you how I made this succulent garden:
It will one day grace my garden wall (it has to remain horizontal until the roots grow strong enough to support becoming vertical).
How to Make a Vertical Garden
Step 1: Choose an appropriate container. For the succulent garden pictured above, I chose a basket because it will be hanging outside, I don’t have to worry about water damage. I can water the whole garden – the basket provides great drainage – then hang it back on the wall.
For inside vertical gardens, it’s important to pick a container that protects walls from water damage. You can buy a product, like woolly pockets, or you can create your own. My plan for the tray container garden is to hang a piece of wood, about 1″ thick on my wall, then attach the garden to that. I’ll take it down periodically, water it thoroughly, then hang it back up.
Other container considerations: Keep it as lightweight as possible – when the soil is wet, it’ll only get heavier. Also consider drainage – you don’t want your plants sitting in pools of water.
Step 2: Choose appropriate plants. Succulents work the best, because they need the least amount of water and care. That’s why I chose to use them for the basket that will hang in the garden.
For my indoor tray garden, I decided to venture into a new direction. I chose water-loving plants specifically for their beauty and relative ease of care (if given proper amounts of moisture, that is).
I didn’t get a very good photo of the plants for this post, but here are all the plants at my work station in the back yard:
For the weird tray container, I chose Pothos and Philodendrons (because I’ve got cuttings of both), Pink Polka Dot plants (Hypoestes phyllostachya) and a Hoya Carnosa something – I can’t possibly keep track of all the varieties of Hoyas that exist, and since they’re nearly always mislabeled, well I don’t try very hard. For the fun of it, I added some Arrowhead plant (Syngonium podophyllum) cuttings that I had.
Anyway, the Pothos, Philodendrons, Polka Dots and the Arrowhead essentially require the same care, namely, they all like to stay evenly moist. The Hoya wants a little less water, so I planted him near the top.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Step 3: Choose a good potting soil/medium. For moisture loving plants like the Pothos and Polka Dots, I chose Fox Farm Ocean Forest Potting Soil. Do not buy that crap they sell at the big box stores – it’s always infected with gnats or some other majorly annoying bug. Spend a little more to get quality soil from your local nursery, and you’ll have no regrets.
A succulent garden has a few different requirements, soil-wise, which I’ll discuss tomorrow.
Step 4: Secure the soil. This isn’t technically necessary (I’ll show you why tomorrow) but it was necessary for the weird tray container.
I used mesh I got in the floral department of the crafts store and a staple gun.
It’s not going to be perfect – for one thing, I suck at using that staple gun. Do they make a petite one for ladies? I’m pretty sure that thing is fifty years old and designed for a giant man to use.
It can’t be perfect because plants and gardens are inherently messy. I’m using the mesh to keep as much soil inside as possible. I’ve used burlap in the past with good success as well.
Oh, those tray handles – once the garden is vertical, the bottom hole provides drainage and the top hole gives me a way to add more soil over time.
The mesh also serves to secure the plants themselves. For this project, I cut pockets out of the mesh, like this:
Then tucked the plant inside, like this:
Step 5: Plant the plants! This is the fun part! Each grouping of plants get their own pockets…you just want to shake out the roots a little before tucking them inside.
That’s really all there is to it. I could’ve stopped there, of course. But I wanted to add a touch of whimsy, just for kicks:
So I wrapped the plants in this strawlike stuff (which I’m sure has a name but I have no idea what that is) that I got at Osuna Nursery.
It’ll look a lot better when the plants have grown, but even small, it looks pretty good.
The garden is going to require maintenance, like pinching back the Polka Dot plants so they become bushy, and of course, lots of watering. But that’s ok with me – the interactive aspect of gardening is the best part.
I hope you join me manana for steps on how to create a succulent garden. I love theme weeks!
Hi sweetpeas, and happy Sunday!
Starting manana, I’m unveiling a new theme week – Vertical Gardens and Living Art. I love theme weeks!¹ And I love creating living artwork. I’ll show you my new projects, including how I got from this idea for a garden that will one day grace my living room wall:
To this execution:
I’ll give you step-by-step instructions, so you can try making living art on your own. It’s fun, and it’s easy. Also, a great project for kids.
mr_subjunctive is on hiatus over at Plants Are the Strangest People blog. I’m determined not to make this week boring for all of us (Ginny, Martha, and lots of weird anonymous people) who are so used to being entertained by him. mr_s, if you’re reading this, that’s not really a hiatus – you should be walking on a beach or hiking or something, not keeping up on your houseplant blog reading list. I mean, if you are reading, thanks and all. I’m just saying, not much of a break until you unplug for realz.
Wait, did I really just say realz? I’m a white girl from Indiana. I totally can’t get away with that, even if I do live in Albuquerque now. Haha, my bad!
Hope to see you back here manana!