Plants as Decor

March 28, 2013 § Leave a comment

There is something about plants that freak out people. I think because a plant is a living thing, people are worried about not caring for it. The plant’s death, they think, will haunt them like a ghost.

You know, it’s okay. Plants die. And you know something else? Plants live despite your worry. So go ahead and try to grow some plants, would you?

Try this: Think of plants as living decor. That’s exactly how I am treating my newest set of houseplants. And thanks to a nifty ceramic container sold by Chive.com, I can suspend my succulent garden on the wall, literally creating living art.

chive container

 

Some things to note:

  • Succulents don’t need a lot of water. There are no drainage holes in this suspended container, so having plants that don’t need lots of water is a good thing. I won’t need to water this much at all.
  • Because the container is horizontal, it was important to add some vertical elements to this “art.” One succulent has a long flowering stem and several others cascade over the container’s side.
  • Succulents are fairly small and so are appropriate for such a small container.
  • If the plants die, that’s ok. I can put other small plants in it. Or I could put non-plant things in the container, too. It’s decor, fashion, even. And I can change it up whenever I want.

Head on over to the Chive.com site and find a few plant and flower containers that fit your style. Then have some fun choosing otherworldly-looking succulents to pot up at your local farm market or garden center. It’s artwork as unique as any Rothko.

 

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Poinsettias: Perks of the Job

December 6, 2012 § 3 Comments

With the nature of what I do for a living, I get free stuff. I write about plants and gardening, and companies send me free plants and gardening equipment. It’s nice. Really nice. And if any of those folks are reading this, I could really use a new pair of Felco hand pruners.

The “free stuff” slacks off in the off-season. Except each December I receive a nice gift from the folks at Ecke Ranch. Paul Ecke Sr. and Jr. “invented” the poinsettia as a holiday plant by giving away hundreds of plants for the sets of talk shows back in the 50s or 60s. And, well, now poinsettias are everywhere.

Being “everywhere” can backfire. Being everywhere can give any product the image of it being commonplace and worthless. And what’s happened is that you can now find poinsettias in your local Walmart or other big box store for 99 cents. And they are in pretty bad shape, too.

This gift I received from Ecke Ranch contained 8 samples of the antithesis of the throw-away poinsettia. They’re well-grown and beautiful—even shipped clear across the country via two-day FedEx. There’s something comforting in this plant that represents such such a hallowed season. The big, bushy, well-grown poinsettia really is not to be missed—and it’s well-worth the money, too.

poinsettias

And don’t they look so holiday-cheery grouped together?

holiday cheer

holiday cheer

As you can see, not all poinsettias are red. This one is called Sparkling Punch. Pinks and off-whites—why not?

Poinsettia Sparkling PunchP

Poinsettia Sparkling Punch

And this one looks like it’s covered in tiny glittery dots. Kinda like Pointillism. Get it? Pointillism? Poinsettias? And it’s aptly named Monet. (This one plant has kinda slacky leaves—they aren’t all like this.)

This variety is called Monet.

This variety is called Monet.

I do like the large, bushy poinsettias, but something I like even more are the tiny tiny ones that are about 4 in. tall. Very cute, and you can set them around the house wherever you want. If you see one, grab one—or a half dozen—you’re gonna find them adorably fun to decorate with.

Oh, and about that “Watch out! They are poisonous to cats!” thing. It’s a myth. Well, it’s not a myth. They are poisonous. BUT, your cat or puppy or baby or you would have to eat several whole plants before anyone starts getting ill. And how likely is that going to happen? So, don’t fret about it.

boos and poinsettia

Update on Dainty: Where’d June Go?

June 26, 2012 § 2 Comments

Hey, hi. Remember me?

Nope, haven’t forgotten about Dainty Dot. Truly have not. It’s been a bit of a busy month. And I’ve had other things on my mind. Dainty took a backseat for a bit.

A backseat to what, you ask? I’ll review in photos …

Boo kitten

Boo – she’s growing too fast. My iPhone can barely hold all the photos I take of her.

peony

June has so many Instagram opportunities. I can’t keep up. Pretty, huh?

I’ve been perfecting my pizza-making skills. And man, do I have mad skills with the dough.

Provincetown vacationProvincetown. Vacation. Roof deck. Water views. That really about says it.

Cucumber Cape CodderThanks, Martha Stewart, for the most-appropriate Ptown vacation drink—the Cucumber Cape Codder. I’ll post that recipe soon. Really, so good.

yoga matI’m slightly obsessed with yoga. Just slightly, but in a good way. Maybe I’ll talk to you about it someday. But for now, know that this mat has become a good friend of mine. And it’s fashionably orange.

potato flowerSo, I’m a potato farmer’s daughter. And an avid gardener. And for the first time this spring, it dawned on me: Why not grow some potatoes? And it shall be so. Technically once the flowers bloom, there should be potatoes under the ground. But I want them bigger than peas, so I’ll await awhile.

Powahouse Unit X viewOh, yeah, and by the way … we’re buying a brand-spankin’-new unit in a brand-spankin’-new building. New as in, this was a vacant lot last July. And it’s highly energy efficient and will have solar panels and is built like a German tank – and that’s with good reason. Obviously, more on this later.

JenniferAnd have I mentioned lately that I love this person? I do, and I’ll do it all again in a split second. (Ain’t she a cutie, too?)

homemade pizzaMore pizza. I might be slightly obsessed with pizza, too. Always in a good way.

But just because I haven’t been writing here doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing. I’ve been taking a spin at fiction. More of a poetry-short fiction hybrid type of writing. And the cool thing is it’s fiction inspired by photos. The images are all iPhone Instagram pics taken by a friend who has a knack for knowing there’s a story behind a scene. Take this one, for instance. Who left the phone? Why? Who was on the other end? I took a stab at it—and a bunch of other photos, too—and am publishing them at The Skinny Fedora. The one above is “Hope Asked.”

So, give The Skinny Fedora a quick read and let me and the other skinny girl know what you think. Leave comments here or at www.theskinnyfedora.com.

Spring Blooms in California

April 5, 2011 § 6 Comments

(Psst: At the end, there’s a contest opportunity!)

It’s cold and drizzly here in Boston, but it’s definitely spring in California. That was my conclusion after my recent 10-day business trip out there. Okay, eight days of business, two days of relaxing. But, still, the weather out there was decidedly un-New Englandish.

One of the … I’m loath to call it a perk or benefit … hmmm, okay, let’s instead say this: One of my day-job responsibilities is to travel to California each spring and drive from San Diego to San Jose (or vice versa), visiting plant breeding companies along the way. This designated week is the flower equivalent to the Detroit Auto Show, and each company displays their latest and greatest ornamental plant varieties. It’s me, my boss and colleague, and about a thousand other folks looking at flowers. Seriously, it’s actually a tough job. You have no idea.

Now, I’m not sure if I’d be revealing any industry secrets if I tell you, for a lot of these new plant varieties, it’s not that the plant is a new color or can do some sort of trick. Oftentimes it’s “more compact and uniform with better branching.” Man, if I hear that phrase one more time … It means this crop can be grown as “bench run,” or the commercial grower can grow whole benches of this stuff and ship it out all at once, and they can ship it safely (because it’s compact and well branched) without damage during transport. I.e., they’re increasing their margins. And when you sell your flowers to a big box stores, you need all the margin you can get. Think about that the next time you buy your 99-cent geraniums at Big Orange.

The real point with this post is that I did see some some unique flowers and ornamental plants that deserve a mention—even some new patio-sized veggies. Many of them won’t be available until spring of 2012, but I thought I’d share.

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Now, about that contest: I have about three packets of cherry tomato seeds to give away. Feel like trying your hand at sowing and growing them? The 5th person to comment gets them!

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