This weekend I attended a class on vertical succulent gardening at the Dallas Arboretum. I don’t think I would have figured out how to create a structure strong enough to support sideways plants and soil, so I was pretty excited to have an expert walk me through step-by-step. And I haven’t yet installed my garden along a wall, but when I turn it sideways, it seems to stay in place pretty well.
We started with the following materials:
- Wooden Frame (our instructor made his own out of fence wood)
- Flat piece of wood cut to the size of your frame
- Plastic fence netting (I’ve also seen chicken wire used)
- Black mesh fabric
- Staple gun
- Light soil suitable for succulents (our instructed recommended this soil mixed with crushed shells)
- Succulent plants
Here are the steps we followed:
Step 1: To create a strong framework, we cut the plastic netting and black mesh into rectangles that were slightly larger than the size of our frames. We pressed the plastic netting into the frame and stapled it along the inside of the frame; we repeated this step with the mesh fabric and trimmed both so that there wasn’t any extra coming out of the frame.
Step 2: Fill the frame with soil. We used a mix of lightweight soil and crushed shells. While sand is often mixed into soil for succulents, our instructor cautioned against this because it adds extra weight to the structure.
Step 3: Secure the flat piece of wood to the frame using screws.
Step 4: Once the framework was complete, we selected our succulents and arranged our design by setting the plants on top of the grid before we started planting.
Step 5: To plant each succulent, we cut a small square out of the netting and mesh – cutting an almost 2-inch square per 3 inch plant. Inserting each plant into the grid was the hardest part. We had to push all of the soil in the frame out of the way and then push the plant in, using a pencil to help push the base of the plant further into the soil.
This is my final garden:
I haven’t installed it vertically yet. Some tutorials suggest letting the roots take hold for a few weeks before hanging it, but our instructor said this wouldn’t be necessary.
Last night I joined a flower workshop with the amazing team at Bows and Arrows. I’ve admired their work via Instagram for awhile, so it was great to learn a few tricks from these talented folks. If you’re in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, I highly recommend taking a workshop – they have a photography and flower class coming up this weekend and a two-day workshop in Marfa this summer.
I’ve never been great at arranging flowers, but I was pretty impressed with the look I was able to create last night (photo above). A few things I learned:
- It takes some time to style an arrangement. In the past, I’ve always spent 15 mins or so on an arrangement. During the workshop, I spent over an hour creating my masterpiece. While this won’t always be possible, starting early and allowing lots of time is definitely key.
- Always use floral foam to hold the stems in place and make sure the foam is tightly placed within the container. After soaking the foam, you can press it gently against the top of your container to make an impression and then cut along those lines to create a perfect fit.
- Start by defining ‘the bones’ of the arrangement: a tall piece and a low extending piece, for example.
- Don’t be afraid to mix heights. In the past, I’ve always tried to cut each stem the exact same length. In looking at the Bows and Arrows arrangements, I realized that they have a mix of shorter and taller stems, giving the overall piece some movement as well as the quirkiness I love.
Here are a few more scenes of the floral awesomeness from last night:
It’s not quite spring but already we’re beginning to spot some new guests in our backyard. Watching birds is becoming a bit of a hobby around here, and over the past weekend, we even spotted a red-tailed hawk. In addition to being on the look-out for birds, I’ve also been scouting options for modern bird houses and feeders for our yard. I just purchased this wooden bird feeder and, even though the birds haven’t discovered it yet, I love the new view just outside my office window.
Here are a few others on my wish list:
High: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5
Low: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5
The palest shades of pink are popping up in all sorts of items for the home. Here are a few of my favorites:
Product Sources: 01 / 02 / 03 / 04 / 05
Last week I updated the shelves above our kitchen sink after finally taking down the last of our Christmas decorations. It wasn’t an easy task for me. Since moving into our home, I’ve been collecting images of open shelving for and studying them for inspiration. I can’t recreate any one specific image, so my approach has been to figure out what I like about each display and try to model it with my own belongings, in the context of my own home.
Here are a few tips I’ve found to work for me:
Image sources: 1 Neutral Palette / 2 Height + Texture / 3 Simple / 4 Repetition
I’ve always wanted to try printing a photo in a large-scale format. Staples, Office Depot and other print/supply stores will create large, black-and-white engineering prints for under $10. After our big ice storm a couple of weeks ago, I realized that I had the perfect photo to try it out.
I started with this photo that I took while we were sledding in our neighborhood:
I converted it to black and white, bumped up the contrast and cropped it to the print dimensions – 36 x 48 inches.
And after printing it at Staples, I attached it to my office wall using 3M poster strips.