My Adorable Succulent Garden

When I moved to Arizona almost 2 years ago (time flies!) I was amazed by the saguaro cactus. I’d never seen them in real life! Sadly cacti that huge isn’t what you would call adorable and no, I don’t want anything that monstrous and pokey in my yard. Ever.

At the same time when I moved here I fell in love with succulents. They’re the coolest little desert flower cactus plant you’ve ever seen! They’re so funny looking and yes they make me smile πŸ™‚ Once we moved into this apartment I wanted a flowerbed to hang over the ledge on our balcony & finally five months later — I got one!

Aren’t they the cutest plants you’ve ever seen? The one that looks like a bunch of little grapes cracks me up –Β it’s just so funny-looking! I’ve had them for a few days now and they’re still alive and looking great.

I’d had the dirt I used for a while and little aphids and teeny centipedes had found their way in…or grown in there…I don’t know, I don’t want to think about it — they were just there. And I wanted them gone.

So I googled “natural methods to kill aphids”. Everything I read suggested lemon juice, dish soap, or vinegar. I figured I’d try all three at once and poured some of each into a spray bottle and filled it up with water. I sprayed the dirt then eventually just dumped it all in (this was before I planted anything) and let it sit for a few hours.

It worked! No more aphids or centipedes or anything gross. Just adorable succulents!

That’s life with Mr.Layland & Me!

The Gardening Life

I live in Arizona. Not much grows here.

If it does, it’s because there are some amazing plants that can survive the 115 degree summer that sometimes even I don’t think I can live through. They do it though!

I’m from North Carolina – where everything grows. As long as you can dig through the red clay and get some rich soil in your garden you’ll be set. One year we grew so much zucchini that we ended up giving a few to the UPS guy!

This is the first time I’ve tried gardening in a different climate and since I’m not fond of straight up killing things – I decided to start small.

This is a grouping of three different succulents that I bought about three months ago from Lowe’s. They need water about once a week and partial sun if they’re outside. They’re super easy to take care of and exactly the kinda of plant a new Arizona gardener should start off with.

About a month and a half ago I ventured into more real gardening and ended up with a beautiful little patio tomato plant.

Look! I have one tomato!

It’s my little baby…and probably the only one I’ll get. When I first saw it at about the size of a blueberry I got super excited and wanted to Instagram it — but figured that might be a little pathetic. So I guess I waited until now when it’s a little larger than a cherry tomato!

Right now isn’t the best time for tomatoes in Arizona, the heat is getting to be too much for it. It typically needs full sun but when I had it out in the morning sun the leaves started to wrinkle up. I have it out of the sun now – mostly just hoping that I can get this ONE tomato to turn red and then “harvest” it and start earlier next year.

I’ve had a lot of fun keeping up with my little plants and even came up with a DIY project to go along with it!

See that wine bottle? It’s my watering can πŸ™‚ I got it out of the recycling of the family I nanny for and decided it would make the perfect watering can.

I got a drawer pull from Hobby Lobby ($2) and super glued the ends to some cotton fabric and attached that to the bottle.

I’ve been using it for about a month and it’s working like a dream! When I get a real garden I’ll invest in a bigger (and real) watering can but for now, it works!

That’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!

Wine Bottle Planter

Wine Bottle Planter

Some projects turn out much better in your head than they do in real life. This project was definitely that sort of project. It was the project that would not die, the project that would not end and by the time it was over I vowed never to do anything like it again.

 

Rather than simply recycling your wine bottles, consider repurposing one to create a one-of-a-kind plant container. http://www.greenlivingaz.com/2014/05/27/mosaic-wine-bottle-planter/

It looks pretty simple, right? And I’m sure with an electric, professional grade glass cutter, it is! I tried a few ways to get this result including the good ole soak-yarn-in-acetone-and-light-it-on-fire method. Not the most effective method but definitely the one with the most flames.

My deadline was coming up and I was out of options so I came up with a new project. The Mosaic Wine Bottle Planter. Instead of trying to make one clean cut I improvised and here’s what I came up with:

Materials

  • Wine bottle
  • Glass Cutter
  • Safety goggles
  • Hammer
  • Gallon bag
  • Sharpie
  • Super glue
  • Mod Podge
  • Sandpaper
  • Cork or rubber studs
  • Small rocks
  • Potting soil
  • Succculents

Instructions

  1. Draw an oval lengthwise along the front of the wine bottle with a sharpie.
  2. Put on your safety goggles. Use the glass cutter to score the bottle following the black line. The glass is thick, so you will need to go over the line a few times until you create a small track.
  3. Place the wine bottle in the gallon bag and close it. I would suggest going outside on a grassy area for this next step.
  4. With the wine bottle still in the plastic bag, hit it with the hammer. One firm hit should shatter the bottle. Try to keep the pieces as big as possible.
  5. Take out the biggest pieces first and super glue them back together, adding the smaller pieces to fill in the holes creating a mosaic look. Be sure to leave out any pieces from the inside of the circle where your plants will be. If a piece didn’t break along the line and you have excess glass, hit that piece individually to make it smaller.
  6. Let dry 30 minutes.
  7. The edges will be uneven so use sand paper to smooth them out.
  8. Coat the bottle with Mod Podge to seal the cracks and keep the bottle shiny.
  9. If you still have the cork, you can cut it in half and glue the pieces to each side of the bottle to keep it from rolling. You can also use two marbles or tow stick-on rubber stubs.
  10. When using the bottle for planting, make sure to place a layer of small rocks or pebbles at the bottom so the roots don’t sit in water. Any plant you use should have shallow roots and need minimal watering.

Once your mosaic wine bottle planter is complete, you should be able to repot your shallow-root plants an display them in your windowsill to enjoy all summer long.

It was an experience, that’s for sure. Thanks to the Arizona heat I ended up having to re-do the same bottle.

Once was good enough for me.


The picture in this post was featured with my article in Green Living and is from etsy.com. I know you’re curious how mine turned out but the good version was never photographed and the second version…well let’s just say this picture gives you what we like to call the right idea.