My gourd collection is turning from natural fall decoration into works of art. Cutting and cleaning out the dried gourds is the hard part. Staining, sealing and weaving pine needles along the rim and adding beads and baubles is the fun, creative part.
Forcing bulbs is a way to ring in an early spring or make the holidays festive. Adding grass seed to the pots has been my way to dress up the display during bloom. Timing is easy for Paperwhite Narcissus for Thanksgiving and Christmas. They shoot up quickly, even in cool weather. But spring bulbs take a lot longer and sometimes the grass got too tall, especially in warmer weather.
This spring I used two types of sedum cuttings in addition to grass seed. The grass pots needed more water, and the roots competed with the bulbs.The succulents are drought tolerant and they will be something that you want to live on, like the bulbs, when planted outside.
More about forcing bulbs
Heart shaped succulent wreaths, full of cuttings will last all year long. 14 inches $50 each
Also smaller round wreaths 10″ for $35 and one larger 16″ for $60
Handmade with love, these felt keepsakes show them how much you care. 3″ $8 each
Mini pots with floral foam, moss, pepper berries and succulents. $4 each
Wood signs: felt flowers for inside and ceramic embellished for garden 10″-18″ $20 each
Original watercolor card creations. Blank inside for your own message of love. $5 each or one free with purchase.
Salvaged boots that are practically brand new are too pretty to plant with dirt. The perfect solution is a plastic bag of gravel in the bottom and a plastic cup with floral foam to hold the plants. The foam holds everything in place better anyway. After the flowers have faded, the succulent cuttings will root and continue to grow if watered occasionally.
Every fall I order bulbs to force for the holidays and spring. This season’s selection was Ziva Paperwhites (a classic for Thanksgiving and Xmas), and Narcissus. Silver Chimes are my absolute favorite, and then I usually pick another variety to try out. Paperwhites can be potted up in October, but the narcissus bulbs go into the garage refrigerator (where there aren’t any fruits or vegies to give off gas that can affect bloom) for about 6 weeks. Then they are potted up and placed outside in a cold, shady spot until the leaves are about 4 inches tall.
I’ve always loved pretty dishes and hate to hide them away in the cupboard. This is a nice way to enjoy them every day. The salvaged dish racks are lined with moss and filled with potting soil and dishes. The succulents that I’ve chosen for these will stay compact and are meant to look like bubbles overflowing the sides. The silverware adds the finishing touch (and support for flowers).
Put these together for a small beach wedding a couple of weeks ago. Sunflowers aren’t in season in California yet, so they had to be shipped from Baja, Mexico. They turned out very summer-like with succulents and all! The mini-sunflower-like mums worked perfectly for corsages and boutonnieres. The attendants (2 daughters and 4 sons) were wearing navy blue, so blue ribbons were added to match. Congratulations to the happy couple!
It’s been busy around here, getting things ready for the Smart Gardening Fair.
Kitchen containers such as colanders are so pretty planted with succulents. This succulent dish rack looks like soapy water bubbling over with dishes and colorful silverware mixed in. Frames, succulent bonsai trees and assorted baskets are ready to go. The succulents growing out of the watering can looks like water pouring out. A planted side table holds a purse teacup and cute baby shoes filled with succulents. This iron bar stool is double-decked with succulents.
The new batch of nesting wreaths are bigger and better than before. Made with mosses, dryer lint, pet fur (freshly washed), strips of material, dried flowers and seed. With your feathered friends in mind, it’s wrapped onto a vine wreath with a wire hanger (no glue). Nesting wreaths start out as holiday decoration for your door or mantle. After the end of the year, it can hang outside, where the sunflower heads and amaranth will feed hungry birds, and then provide them with nesting material for spring.
All year long, Shelly gathers materials with potential at yard sales and thrift stores. These baskets are really starting to multiply in the garage… in preparation for the holidays. Hanging on the chandelier is the perfect spot to keep them up out of the way until they are ‘upcycled’ into Fire starter Baskets and Succulent & Flower Baskets.
This is how I make the garden stones that are so popular during the holiday season. I mixed up a couple of batches using plastic frames and stamps (e.g. Poetry Stones kit). I use the vinyl patch type of cement and mix according to directions. Filled each frame, smooth flat, and pressed in a few new phrases. When they were totally dried and cured, I painted on some watered down paint… filling in the letters.
Bundles of fatwood (natural high-resin sticks), cinnamon wax dipped pinecones, and herb/flower bundles in a basket. Perfect hostess gift or for your own hearth.
Gardeners share plants… that’s what they do. I recently made up some flower arrangements and a picnic basket for a house warming party. Who doesn’t love succulent cuttings? So pretty and versatile, it’s such an easy way to share plants. No need to keep them in water. They can sit around for weeks (roots start growing after 10 days). Easy to take care of… stick them in the ground and water once a week until they can get established. Mulch helps to conserve moisture. Share the wealth!
Getting busy making more succulent stuff. Succulent cuttings are so easy to create with… just plug and play!
Most of these things will go on consignment at Wisteria Antiques and Gardens, a really cool shop in Aptos, CA… or sold at farmers markets and other events.
The baby shoes are popular lately. After drilling holes in the soles, fill them with potting soil. Prepare chairs or other frames by building a chicken wire basket and lining with damp moss. Same thing with wire baskets. Colanders (and other strainers) don’t need moss, and work great for inserting cuttings into the side. Once the containers are filled with soil, first insert cuttings in the sides (of basket, colanders and chairs), and press down the soil. I like to lay sedum (low growing succulents) around the edges on top of the soil, which will fill in and spill over the edges once rooted. Stick in succulent cuttings, grouping types that favor similar conditions. Set outside in part shade and water once or twice a week for about a month.