I put this planting outside a couple of days ago, and the color has just taken off! Thought I'd share it with you. And now... I'm going to go outside and play with my plants!
Succulents never go out of style. This myriad of plants, many with juicy leaves, offers hassle-free care plus longevity. They are stunning to look at in pots, but less explored in flower bouquets. Now that Valentine’s day is just a few days away, here are some ideas for incorporating succulents into your Valentine flower bouquet:
Step 1: Remove dirt from the succulent. Clean the roots, if you wish to leave them intact. (Either way, the recipient will be able to replant it, since succulents grow from cuttings.)
Step 2: Get about six inches of floral wire and carefully thread it through the succulent stem. Make sure to start at the highest point of the stem.
Step 3: Attach a floral stick (or something similar), using floral tape to secure it and adjusting the stick to the height you want your succulent to present in your bouquet.
Step 4: Assuming you want some non-succulents in the mix, create a bouquet of choice flowers. If you're not sure on what flowers to use, take advice from Simon Richards, M&S floral guru: “Two simple rules are to either combine tonal shades of one color or choose vibrant clashes such as cerise, purple, and yellow.”
Step 5: Secure the bouquet with more floral tape, starting from the topmost part of the bouquet. Apply thicker tape as you approach the end of the arrangement.
Another tip: Try to create a balanced look. If you're using both succulents and non-succulents, the number of succulents should not overshadow the number of flowers. Nor would a single succulent be advisable, since other flowers would dwarf it. Succulents with rosette shapes are particularly lovely--echeverias, ghost plants, and the like.
Here are some gorgeous examples of succulent bouquets on Pinterest.
I was watering my largest succulent planter on Friday and it occurred to me that I've never shown it to you guys, have I?
Driving home from a friend's house once, I happened by a nursery that was closing(!). The owner was retiring, and they were getting rid of a bunch of random bits and pieces around the nursery, including this five-or-six-foot-long hollowed out bamboo planter. All that was in it at the time was a bunch of geraniums on their last legs. I took it home for $10, removed the geraniums, and planted a huge bunch of succs in it. My girlfriend then hung it from a picnic table where we keep lots of pots of succulents. Here it is from one side:
And here it is from the other side:
If you want to do something like this, a few pieces of advice. One, use larger plants to shade smaller or more finicky plants that will need time to get used to the new placement. Two, assuming you're mixing lots of different kinds of plants, like I am here, they probably won't all survive. Most will, but there are bound to be a few casualties. Third, give your plants time to adjust. I planted this two or three months ago, and even though it took a little while for some of the plants to take hold, I think it looks better than ever now!
On to the next project.
For quite some time, I've had a shadow box that I picked up somewhere for $5 or so. It's not particularly sturdy, and I wasn't really sure what to do with it. Yesterday, I decided to paint it with some exterior paint that's been lying around the garage. I let it dry, drilled some holes, and tilted it to about a 90º angle against a step. Then I planted it with succulents. Keeping it at 90º while I planted meant that I'd be able to display it right away when I finished, which is what I'm doing here:
Cool, huh? I had fun coordinating the colors. My girlfriend pointed out that the coloring is sure to change with the sun, and while this is true enough, I can always switch these out for new plants if I want to keep being militant about the rows of color.
And finally, just for fun, here's a picture of the table outside of our house. Not a great shot of the plantings on the table, sure, but a nice photo of the faithful Succulent Patrol Canine, looking typically wistful.
This weekend, we had the pleasure of joining my parents at the lovely Lone Pine Gardens in Sebastopol, CA. Primarily a wholesale nursery, Lone Pine is open to the public Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. It's worth a pilgrimage. The owners are terrifically knowledgeable, and the nursery always has a magnificent selection. I also like wandering around the growing grounds--and my favorite part is probably the trays full of different kinds of semps. Seeing one kind of sempervivum en masse is always a treat:
Lone Pine also has some lovely bonsai. Many of these are traditional-looking bonsai, but the bonsai area also featured these gorgeous, tiny semps in a little dish:
Admittedly, I went seeking some unusual types of crassula, and found nothing on that score this visit. However, I didn't leave empty-handed! In an admirable exercise of self-restraint, I took home only three plants:
Lastly, I got my first conophytum! I was nervous, but the good folks at Lone Pine just said that if I "barely water it," it will be fine. The pot is actually a wooden bowl my girlfriend made a few years ago and never finished. I sanded it down and then rubbed it over with peanut oil and let it dry. The top dressing is jade pebbles. It turned out well, no?
Have any of you succ-ers visited Lone Pine? What's your favorite nursery north of San Francisco?