My New Love – Propagating Succulents

I have never been a huge cactus fan, mostly due to the crazy amounts of spikes and prickly fuzz.

succulents

However, I recently began to enjoy the beautiful blooms and flower-like shapes of the succulents at a home on my running path. The garden is full of poke-free, drought-tolerant, beautifully colored plants. They arranged in such a nice manner that the yard looks absolutely stunning. Expensive, even.

I had the opportunity to speak with the home owner, who was extremely kind and gave me a quick tutorial in succulent growth and propagation – even sent me home with a few leaves in my running shorts pockets to give it a try! I have since been hooked!

The greatest thing about succulents is the minimal amount of water they take. I currently water 2 times a week, depending on the heat. This is because most succulents grow more in the spring and summer months. In the winter, I have read that you should water just once a week, maybe even every other week as the plants go into a dormant phase during colder seasons.

I have had mostly great luck in propagating from leaves. I started with the few I was given, then got more from a couple plants I found outside a few restaurants and homes I run by. If I see the homeowner, I be sure to ask first… but if I don’t, I guess I figure they won’t mind me taking just one or two leaves, so long as I don’t damage the plant and it is large enough they won’t miss 1 leaf! Give me your opinions on this, as I don’t know the proper succulent-leaf-taking etiquette!

Propogating Succulents

Photo Source: needlesandleaves.net

To refresh my memory, I found a very simple tutorial (see image link above) that has a method I have found to work very well with most plants. I find that some leaves like more water than others (or maybe I am giving them too much sun, so the soil just dries faster?), and some that prefer to have more sand in the mixture. Visit Needles + Leaves for the great tutorial.

One type of succulent that I have yet to be able to propagate is Aloe. I have actually read many tutorials, watched many videos and am embarrassed that many people say it is the easiest to work with! I can’t believe I have tried a dozen leaves and can’t seem to get one started – the EASIEST ONE?!

I have tried so many methods, from laying pieces on top of the soil as shown by Needles + Leaves, to burying the leaf upright in the soil, no water, moist soil, dipped in honey (that idea seemed weird, but I gave it a shot…), fresh off the mother plant, allowing the end to dry/scab over, and even buying a rooting powder. Not one method has worked for me!

 

Propogating Aloe

Photo Source: www.wikihow.com

My next attempt will be to try this tutorial from WikiHow, partly shown above. PLEASE, if anyone has a tried and true method for Aloe, be sure to let me know by email or in the comments to share with everyone!

Just a quick shout-out to my friend, who has been kind enough to let me slice a dozen or more aloe leaves off the plants in his backyard for practicing each failed method! Thank you!

Brick Books for a Vintage Garden

I very much enjoy crafting new items for my home and garden.

When the holiday decorations are taken down and stored away and the winter weather is still keeping us indoors, I sit down with a hot cup of coffee or tea and begin creating new items for the new year. January and February is the best time for creating – I find that the spring time asks for too much cleaning, summer is full of travel and making plans with the kids and fall is the start of a long, enjoyable holiday season. I like to keep busy, so crafting is a great way to stay occupied when the chill outside is unbearable!

Brick Books

Image: junk-culture.com

This weekend, I started a new project that is not only fun for me, but I will be continuing to create more as gifts for relatives. My family has a couple generations of librarians, so by nature we have turned into bookworms! What better for a bookworm than a nice set of books for the garden?! These “books” are actually made of bricks! Yes, that is right…ugly old garden bricks transformed into these amazing (though not QUITE readable!) treasures.

Look at the beautifully crafted vintage look of these brick books! I am so impressed! For my very first brick novel, I started with my grandfather’s favorite “Treasure Island”. I know he will enjoy placing this out in his garden…or maybe using it as a bookend in his home office. While mine does not look quite as vintage as the lovely books shown above, I am hoping to wear it down with some fine sandpaper once I am done painting the title on.

This is a very fun project and will make an easily personalized gift for any garden or book lover!

Butterfly Garden

Butterflies are beautiful, flitting around among all the other lovely flowers you’ve planted, so it makes sense to want to attract them. Some people just like butterflies, and that’s reason enough to plant a butterfly garden.

Butterfly

Butterfly gardens are also popular because it’s fun to watch butterflies, and kids love them. And who doesn’t enjoy the sight of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly?

So if you’re setting out to create a butterfly garden, you’ll want some nectar plants that will keep your adult butterflies fed and happy. A butterfly garden can also provide larval food plants for butterflies when they hatch from their eggs.

Butterflies are attracted to plants that have certain colors, such as red or purple flowers, or large leaves with nectar inside of them. Some things people can do in order attract butterflies in their garden is by having a solitary flower bed so you can get a good view of them fluttering their wings when they land on the flowers, planting some trees and shrubs for butterflies to have shelter, having an artificial structure with water, and by planting certain types of flowers. Artificial structures such as birdbaths and ponds also provide valuable water sources for thirsty butterflies while also attracting them with its up-close views while feeding.

Butterflies

Planting plants that are attractive to butterflies is the easiest way to attract them. Some of these plants include: Bee Balm, Basil, Bergamot, Butterfly Bush (Buddleia), Catmint, Cosmos, Gloriosa Daisy (Gloriosa superba), Marigolds (Tagetes spp.), Nasturtiums, Red-Hot Poker, Rosemary, Salvia, Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum), Stonecrop (Sedum).

Upcycle a Broken Lawn Chair!

I have seen people re-purpose nice, old wooden chairs, but never have I seen something like this before.

Chair With Belts

Photo: instructables.com

I have to admit, when a lawn chair breaks, I am first to chuck in in the dumpster. Never before have I thought twice about saving it or fixing it. Probably because these days, lawn chairs are so poorly made that I don’t expect it to last more than a few seasons with that crappy woven plastic tubing.  Not to mention how much these plastic-covered chairs suck. Your hot, sweaty skin sticks to them in the summer time! Ugh.

This guy gives a tutorial on Instructables.com in creating a re-purposed chair from seat belts! Genius! Not only are you up-cycling old junk, but creating a new chair at the same time. Saves money and looks awesome! Plus, the possibilities seem endless…seat belts, regular belts (dated ones not worn in your closet, or stock up on the cheap at a second hand store), macramé yarn, old ties, old rope, old backpack or purse straps, duct tape…whatever junk you have sitting in a box in your garage! Just be sure you spray it with a weatherproof coating if you are going to keep it outdoors.

What an awesome idea!

Garden Apron

Looking for a way to keep the dirt off your clothes in the garden?

Apron Garden

I am constantly being covered in soil, leaves and other fun little tidbits of my yard each time I head out to do “a little” gardening. Sure, a little dirt never hurt…but it DOES mean more laundry  ! I don’t know about you, but laundry is not something I look forward to. The laundry room is hot and stuffy, and the task of folding is SO monotonous! I would rather be gardening!

Photo: Etsy ohlittlerabbit

This handmade, screen printed apron shown above would be a great addition to any avid gardeners wardrobe for use in the garden or while cooking up all those freshly picked veggies in the kitchen! I also have to say, I LOVE this apron in white…the more dirt and stains it shows with time will only make it look better with this quote!

I am constantly looking for fresh gift ideas for all my gardening friends during the holidays. This adorable apron tops my list this year! Order now before the holiday rush on Etsy!

Planting Chart

I’m not gonna lie to you, I don’t have the greenest thumb and I don’t have the best luck growing vegetables. However, if you’re someone who loves to grow them, please let me know what your secret is because it looks like fun!

The following chart should help those just starting out – or even those with years of experience under their belts. Planting Chart