Tag Archives: garden

Same Pot, Different Year

Third annual red, white and blue pot! Check out the last two year’s projects here and here.

Memories of life a year ago around the Fourth was planning and having my baby shower, the on-set of swollen feet around 28 weeks, traveling almost every weekend and a lot of pilates. After being pregnant for a whole nine (actually ten) months it’s crazy/a little sad to actually see her at nine months old. When you think of time passing its usually illustrated in your mind as something clear, like air or wind but when you see your baby in front of you on earth the same amount of time it took to grow her it’s a unique moment in time right before your eyes. As we journey along this first year with the baby it’s been fun for me to think back to life exactly one year ago.

If you love your garden like we do, there’s always a way to find it mimicking your life. Another example of time passing and memories of last year. ↓

On the right is last year’s red, white and blue project. We get a lot of direct sun over the summer so any trace of blue or white has turned green by the relentless sun. With the exception of the sempervivums which has retained some of their red/maroon color. Just in case you need a reminder, this is what the pot on the right looked like just twelve months ago ↓If the pot itself on the left looks familiar, it’s from last year’s baby announcement. ↓ Same pot, different year. Those pink plants have since been removed and planted into the ground in our garden. All sorts of nostalgia over here!


Baby Leighton update: she is crawling, standing, scaling furniture. She yells ma ma mostly when I leave the room and she whispers da da when she’s crawling all over him. She loves to high five and eat all her veggies. Our plans for the Fourth are starting tonight when we do some nighttime gardening, after the baby goes down, to refresh all of our plants in the ground with more pumice. Then on the Fourth we’re going to a pick-your-own farm with family and relaxing the rest of the day! Happy Independence Day!

xoxo, rootedinmoss

Red, White and Blue Redo

Sometimes, I kill plants too. The cause of death typically has to do with the intense Southern California heat. Despite all of the precipitation from the recent El Nino pattern there were a few slight heat waves in February and March of this year. I typically check the weather before I go out of town so that I can move vulnerable plants into the shade but I guess I missed the forecast once. My red, white and blue pot from last year’s Fourth of July project suffered terribly. You can read about the succulent pot that’s the subject of this redo here. I’m ashamed to share this photo but what’s a confession without truly coming clean. So there you have it. Sun-stressed, burnt, sparse, a mere shadow of itself and the obvious reason for this redo. The day I chose to plant and repot the temperature reached around 117 degrees. Since there was no way I was planting outside, I decided to move the entire project indoors (hence the partially overexposed photos from the light of a large window). These days, no planting project begins without adding pumice to my soil from General Pumice ProductsYou can’t see it from this photo but I hit a little issue that was basically an indoor project nightmare. I didn’t realize that my bag of soil, which had probably gotten wet, was absolutely overrun with fruit flies/gnats. When I looked closely at the pot it looked like the soil was moving from all of the tiny bugs walking around in it (insert big eye emoji). At this point it was so hot outside and I had made a million trips upstairs to set everything up, I was just finishing the project bugs and all. On a side note, after finishing the project and living with A LOT of gnats in the house for a few days and seriously considering calling an exterminator, I found an organic solution to my problem. In a small bowl, I mixed apple cider vinegar with a small amount of dish soap (I used grapefruit scented Dawn) then left it out on the kitchen counter where they began to congregate. I checked back a few hours later to a bowl filled with dead gnats! Life changing. My goal for this project was to salvage as many of the plants from the original pot to mix in with the new ones. Sempervivum ‘Red Beauty’ served as the red in my red, white and blue this time around. The sun-stressed plants from the original pot, when mixed against the other plants, were perfect for giving the appearance of white that I needed for this theme. The red, white and blue redo- a refresh success! Patriotic plants at their finest. Happy Independence Day!

xo, rootedinmoss

A Dream For My Future

There’s something new blooming in our garden! I’m 24 weeks pregnant today with Baby Girl Moss! I had intended to write this post, um, maybe 8 or 9 weeks ago. I was thinking and brainstorming of all the ways I could tie this announcement into plants and nature, but I just couldn’t get myself to sit down and write the real story that I had inside.

If you’ve followed the blog for any period of time you know that a life changing moment for me was the sudden passing of my father, coincidentally, on the night of my first wedding anniversary. At that time, the thought of having a child and not having my father’s influence on it’s life was too difficult to imagine. I knew I may want children in the future but his passing was the perfect excuse to put it off for another day, another year. But as the old adage professes, time heals all wounds, I too began to heal. Fewer of my life’s decisions began with what I didn’t have but with what I could make for myself. Soon I began to think seriously about becoming a mom. Around our sixth wedding anniversary last year, also marking a decade of being together (10 years!?!) we decided to make 2016 the year of Baby Moss. In January, I had a series of dreams about my dad over three nights. I typically never remember what I dream about and I hadn’t had a dream about my dad in years. The dream reoccurring during these three January nights was the same dream I had shortly after his passing. Wherein I would pass him as he was seated out in public somewhere and exclaim to him, “Where have you been!? I have so much to tell you!!”, and as soon as I would hug him he would be gone.  After the third night of that dream I knew something was different, but I kept it to myself for a few more days out of the fear of sounding like I was losing it! Now I know that I was only a few weeks pregnant when I was having those dreams. In looking back, I see them as a transition that my mind was going through and needed to go through. He came back into my mind, after being gone for some time, to allow me to dream clearly for my future and I haven’t looked back since. It was the perfect proof for me that enjoying each of life’s chapters as they slowly unveil themselves can be a beautiful process for the progression of life.

In true rootedinmoss fashion, my husband and I hit the greenhouses in search of the perfect pink succulents. Below is the potting of the pink succulent pot and a fun little shoot we took to announce Baby Girl Moss.

Due October 2nd! Stay tuned for my upcoming garden-themed baby shower in July.

xo, rootedinmoss

Give Love Back

It should come as no surprise to those who have been following me for some time that I love love and my absolute favorite holiday is Valentine’s Day. I have heard there are people out there that think Valentine’s Day is a retail holiday (I actually think you can make that argument for any major holiday) or that it’s a day in which taking an inventory of love is forced upon us. Luckily, for me, I don’t know any of those people! 🙂 We love the excuse to celebrate love. As soon as February 1st arrives all I see is pink and red and we often eat heart-shaped food- it doesn’t hurt that my husband totally plays along for me.

All this talk about love definitely reminds me of the love I give and receive from my garden. My garden is a source of love in many ways. It gives love to me by always providing me with something new to appreciate. It produces a physical gift in the abundance of itself as way for me to give love to others. And it gives those recipients a way to share love back with me when they tell me how the plants I’ve given them have grown, multiplied, and have been given to others they love.

I feel so grateful that nature always gives me something new to see and love always gives me a new reason to write. In the spirit of my favorite holiday I’m partnering up with General Pumice Products for a giveaway to my readers and Instagram followers! We will be giving away a 15 lb. bag of pumice and succulent cuttings from my garden (see entry details at the end of this post or on Instagram.) Pumice is a volcanic rock made of hundreds of microscopic pores. When added to your favorite potting soil, there are many useful benefits for your garden. The tiny pores on the surface of the pumice act as microscopic reservoirs storing nutrient-rich water, vitamins and minerals. Pumice not only releases stored water quickly which brings oxygen to the root zone (very important for succulents!) but it also allows carbon dioxide to escape and enables air circulation. This process saves on water costs and improves water conservation by absorbing water quickly and slowly releasing it back into the soil when needed. Talk about giving love back to your plants! I have been adding General Pumice Products pumice to my garden (stay tuned for a post about my garden overhaul with pumice) and it has been so beneficial as Southern California experiences an increase in precipitation due to El Nino. I’m very excited to help you give love back to your garden too with one of my favorite products!


Valentine’s Day Projects with General Pumice ProductsGiveaway details:

  1. Must be following @rootedinmoss and @sexysucculents_(the account for General Pumice Products) on Instagram
  2. Must tag three friends on the photo announcing the giveaway
  3. One entry per Instagram account
  4. Must be a Continental U.S. resident (sorry no AK or HI entries)
  5. The prize for this giveaway is a 15 lb. bag of 1/8″ pumice and a variety of succulent cuttings from my garden. Both items will be shipped separately.

Check out generalpumiceproducts.com for more information about their products. 

DIY Holiday Succulent Terrarium from JuicyKits.com

I spent the long Thanksgiving weekend relaxing, shopping online and leisurely working on holiday DIY projects. One of my projects from this weekend was assembling the cutest holiday-themed terrarium from JuicyKits.com. Below is a photographic step-by-step of what it took to assemble the terrarium and what I used to complete it.

I’ve partnered up with JuicyKits for a giveaway of their Winter Edition Big Ol’ Egg terrarium! Head over to my Instagram @rootedinmoss for more details and giveaway terms.


The JuicyKits website is so fun to shop on. Once you decide on a terrarium you can choose from their Succulents Menu to personalize your order. Since I’m assembling the Winter Edition, I chose a palette of red and green. The kit comes with pebbles and activated charcoal to create a drainage system for the terrarium as well as landscaping fabric to create the perfect base. I used the Terrarium Tool Kit which includes a long spoon with soil-packing end, long round-tipped tweezers, coarse hair brush, water pouring spout and paper funnels. The tweezers were perfect for putting the plants in place, especially cacti. I supplemented with a few stems of succulents from my own garden to create height in the terrarium.The long spoon from the Terrarium Tool Kit is perfect for adding more soil without disturbing the plants that were already in place.The Winter Edition kit comes with 1 lb. of white decorative sand- it’s snowing in this terrarium! The brush from the Terrarium Tool Kit is perfect for smoothing out the sand in tight spaces. One last finishing touch! 

Such a fun addition to my holiday decor! Head over to JuicyKits.com to take advantage of their 25% off Juicy Tuesdays sale! And don’t forget to enter to win a JuicyKits Big Ol’ Egg Terrarium on my Instagram account @rootedinmoss.

Happy December! xo, rootedinmoss

Succulent Cornucopia

I don’t know about you but I’ve always felt awkward about cornucopias. Maybe it’s the weird name or the odd shape that have never drawn me to adorning my Thanksgiving table with one… until now. My husband had the genius idea of making a succulent filled cornucopia to replace all of my negative thoughts. 🙂 While mapping out our DIY game plan we aspired to making 100% of the project ourselves. That was until we realized that neither of us possessed the basket-weaving skills of the pilgrims and indians, so we bought the cornucopia base. Yesterday, we stayed home in our pjs and put this gem together. This is how we did it. I chose a holiday-themed color palette with shades of green, red and accents of mint. The cornucopia base used for this project measures 9 inches in diameter at the opening and about 16 inches in length. To create the internal base to build upon I used floral foam, one half-dome of wet foam (here), one half-dome of dry foam (here).

  Place the piece of wet floral foam into the base with the flat side facing out. With a butter knife, cut a “pizza slice” out of the dry foam and place aside the remaining foam for later use. Use floral wire (here) to attach the two piece of foam together. The base does not need to be beautiful, as evidenced in the photo above, because you will be adjusting and shaving away at the base as you go and it will eventually be entirely covered. If necessary, use the leftover dry foam to fill in gaps. To prep the succulents, remove all dirt from the roots. With scissors, snip the stem close to the base of the succulent and carefully insert a two to four inch piece of floral wire into the stem. Larger succulents may need two pieces of wire due to their weight. IMG_2295Now for the fun part, placing the succulents onto the base. I used two larger Echeveria ‘Doris Taylor’ succulents as my focal points. The bright green color and fuzzy texture speaks “holiday” to me. I nestled the larger succulents into the gap between the two pieces of foam to accommodate their heavier weight. As I placed the succulents on the base, I continued to shave down the base to keep the appearance of the contents cascading out of the cornucopia. Occasionally, I would create a nook in the base to nestle in a succulent that had too much natural height. If you don’t like where you have placed a succulent, remove it, the base is very forgiving. Once I placed more than half of my succulents, I went back and added some Thanksgiving-inspired fillers (here) and (here). I had these fillers leftover from my Succulent-Pumpkin Wreath. I stuck them into places where the base was still visible. I also filled in gaps with tiny succulents in the same method of carefully inserting floral wire up the stem or base of the succulent.And that’s it! I used about twenty tiny succulents, most of which were just babies attached to the larger succulents, to fill in spots once I was finished staging. Once Thanksgiving is over, you can reuse all of these succulents in either your garden or for other projects. Stay tuned to see how I repurpose these succulents for Christmas decor.

I am thankful for the ability to use my mind and my hands to be able to create the things inspired by my heart! Happy Thanksgiving!

xo, rootedinmoss

Have Succulents, Will Travel: Austin

If it’s not already obvious, I’ll admit it, I’m nostalgic about pretty much everything when it comes to traveling with my husband. We had spent some time living in Texas a few years ago and boy, was it good to be back! We were greeted with the most beautiful sunset. When I’m asked to describe my blog I usually include gardening, home decor, baking, nature in travel- and that’s where I’m stopped and asked to elaborate. I love to travel and I love to appreciate the unique aspects of nature wherever I go: nature in travel. That’s the inspiration for this new series within my blog, Have Succulents, Will Travel. I love to visit the local succulent purveyors in whatever city I’m visiting and now I’ll be sharing with my readers where I go and what I loved about it!


East Austin Succulents

Located on the same property as Tillery Street Plant Co., under the shade of pecan trees, East Austin Succulents boasts two greenhouses and several outdoor displays with a great selection of succulents and cacti (and soil too!). They offer their services to create arrangements and centerpieces in either your container or one of theirs. Speaking of containers, they have a lot of unique, funky and vintage containers- I wish I would have gotten a better picture. You can see a bit of their container selection on the left side of the above photo. Their motto is, “life is short, surround yourself with beauty” and they certainly deliver on this because the grounds are both peaceful and beautiful. I have followed @eastaustinsucculents on Instagram for a while and it was a pleasure to finally be able to stop by! 

IMG_2256IMG_2263801 Tillery Street, Austin, TX 78702  eastaustinsucculents.com

Do you have any shops or greenhouses you love in Austin? Let me know on Instagram @rootedinmoss!

Girl Behind the Garden

After my dad passed away without warning, I repeatedly thought about our unfinished business with each other. Those thoughts evolved into wondering what memories about myself and my life went with him the day he died. What had he seen or known about me that he hadn’t gotten around to telling me or that I hadn’t thought to ask? Afterall, how do you know what to ask when you don’t know what you don’t know about yourself? I suppose I expected that over the course of my life I would discover and learn everything I needed to know in due time, but sometimes life makes you grow even under a cloudy sky. Once my grief eventually subsided my thoughts took a different course. Who is expecting to learn something from me? What is it and would they be listening when I was ready to teach them?

I have one sibling, my sister, who is eight years my junior. Our age difference gives our relationship a special complexity in which I am a friend, her family, a mentor. Naturally, I am in the position to be an example and a role model and I take that position with great pride. In this day and age where we spend so much time being “social” it can be difficult to really connect when we already think we’re totally connected. Recently, my sister went with me on a trip to Palm Springs where we visited Moorten’s Botanical Garden and Cactarium. We spent the morning walking around the grounds in the sweltering August heat, she was a great sport. As we were walking, to my immense delight, she pointed out and named plants or directed my attention to something I missed that she knew I would want to see. It was amazing to see that in her own way she was interested in something I love so much. I managed to take this child, raised in the digital age, and have her love something in a way that only one with an old soul could. My work here is done!

That day at Moorten’s, as I reflect back on it now, is a reminder that knowledge is an evolution in which your original sources fade into you becoming the source and those you teach become your teachers too. The unfinished business I once thought I had with my dad has become my current business with my sister. I’ve found that it’s not about talking about yourself or even sharing family memories it’s about getting out and doing. It takes effort to pass on your passion but when you do it’s wonderful to see what someone else can make of something you love. I can’t exactly put my finger on a single passion that my dad directly passed to me but I know I feel his spirit when I work with my hands. That’s why I love to share the things I create with everyone who reads this blog. A full circle connection that brings me joy. But you just can’t underestimate unplugging from the computer or the phone and teaching those around you, in person. It was the original way to be social, before the media. And that day that I got out with my sister confirmed the direction of my path that she knows the garden and the girl behind it too. moortens2moortens3

Red, White and Don’t Be Blue

I’ve had the fortune over the years of spending Independence Day in different cities across America: Birmingham, Alabama, New York City, Jackson, Mississippi, Central Pennsylvania, Palm Springs, California to name a few. On July 4, 2012 the already nostalgic holiday took on additional significance when my uncle (my father’s brother) passed away in a tragic accident. We spent the next few years celebrating the 4th differently, without fireworks and barbeque. A passing is always a cause for reflection but a passing on a holiday leaves the quandary of how to move forward recognizing both events in the years to come. For me, my soul heals itself by creating something beautiful. So, in the spirit of Uncle Chris and all things red, white and blue this is what’s going on in the garden and in the kitchen this week.


Red, White-ish and Blue Succulent Pot

This succulent project was inspired by the big, beautiful Echeveria ‘Blue Sky’ I found a few weeks ago on it’s last leg at a home improvement store. It took time to nurse it back to health and now it’s the centerpiece of this project.

IMG_0475IMG_0478IMG_0479IMG_0486IMG_0488IMG_0491IMG_0501IMG_0498

 

Blueberry and Strawberry Buttermilk Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze

I can’t say that in July I make our food resemble actual flags but I do like to be festive the week of Independence Day. I love using blueberries and strawberries in recipes this time of year. This buttermilk cake isn’t overly sweet and is the perfect light ending to any picnic or summer meal.

For the cake:

2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened, plus 1 tablespoon for greasing pan

3 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/14 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 cups blueberries

4 to 6 large strawberries, diced, underripe ok

For the glaze:

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

1 lemon, juiced and zested

Dash of vanilla

2 to 5 tablespoons milk                                                                  IMG_0508Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12- cup Bundt pan with 1 tablespoon softened butter.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt. In a larger bowl, beat remaining butter, granulated sugar and vegetable oil on medium-high speed until fluffy, at least five minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Once fluffy, beat in one egg at a time on low speed. Then beat in vanilla. Turn off mixer and add one-third flour and half the buttermilk, beat until incorporated. Add another one-third of flour and the remaining buttermilk, beat until just combined. Add remaining flour mixture and beat 30 seconds, scraping down sides. Finish incorporating mixture with rubber spatula, avoid over mixing.  IMG_0512

IMG_0510

 

Toss blueberries and strawberries, separately, in remaining 2 tablespoons flour. This will cause the fruit to suspend in the batter rather than sinking while baking.

 

 

IMG_0509

Spoon one-third of batter evenly into prepared pan. Place half of blueberries and strawberries onto batter then top with another one-third of the batter. Scatter the remaining fruit on top and cover with the rest of the batter.

IMG_0522IMG_0511IMG_0518IMG_0519Bake until the cake is golden brown, in the warmer months 1 hour, in the colder months 1 hour, 10 minutes. Test cake at 55 minutes with toothpick, if it comes back perfectly clean, cake is done. Transfer to a rack to cool for 30 minutes. Run a sharp knife along the edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Invert onto rack to cool completely before glazing, at least two hours. IMG_0521IMG_0520After cake has cooled and just before serving, make the glaze. Whisk confectioners’ sugar, butter, vanilla and lemon juice together. Whisk in one tablespoon of milk at a time until a thick glaze consistency is achieved. Pour glaze over cake, allowing it to drip over sides. Slice thick portions.
IMG_0531IMG_0529IMG_0528IMG_0530IMG_0532Enjoy!

We live in the land of the free because of the brave. Be safe celebrating!

xo, rootedinmoss

Best of Instagram with LeafandClay.co

I’m so excited to be chosen for the ‘Best of Instagram’ series with leafandclay.co ! Leaf & Clay is a collaborative blog, bringing together succulent enthusiasts of various areas of expertise, with the goal of developing the most comprehensive succulent resource available anywhere. On there today, you’ll find my Q&A where I discuss how I got into drought resistant gardening, my favorite places to shop for succulents and my photography style. Make sure to go follow their blog and Instagram (@leafandclay) where I’ll be guest blogging soon!

Temporary Home

The other day my husband and I were in the garden contemplating where to plant a tree and a few other plants. He brought up a good point that we won’t be living in our current home forever, so if this is our temporary home what will happen to what we plant? My initial reaction, albeit against my feelings about nature, was to say that we could dig up the plants and take them with us wherever we go. I have always aligned my gardening-self with the Greek proverb: “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” With the thought that I may plant a small tree today and push my grandchildren in a tree swing upon its highest branch decades later. So where did this gut reaction to uproot everything and take it with me come from? This had me thinking all week about this earth as our temporary home.

A few days later, we received word that my husband’s Nana had passed away at the age of 91. A strong-willed woman with a peaceful passing at home. A blessing we could all wish to have one day. A passing is always a time for me to reflect. I am a Christian and naturally I believe that I will have a home after my home on earth expires. No matter what you believe, this earth is a temporary home for all of us give or take a few years. But this concept is difficult to share with others, especially those who are grieving. I have been witness to much grief in my life and have lost many who are close to me. What I find most often with those who are grieving is that they need a reason as to why they are still here. This is my best attempt at a message to anyone who is mourning:

You are still here. Here to bear witness to life’s beauty and mystery for all the days after your loved one’s passing and until your own. You can find them in the wink of an eye of a child they never had the chance to meet; in the harmony of a song you found the courage to learn to play; in the unexpected flower on a plant that’s never bloomed; in the clouds you fly amongst on an airplane; in the hand you use to connect the here and now to the once was. And you can know that when you are no longer here, these are places I will find you.

We planted that tree. I am content with committing to the earth a flowerless plant to which I may never see the color of its blooms with my own eyes. I am humbled by the challenge to keep only happiness and love rooted deeply in my heart. I can also accept that not all that is planted, no matter how much attention it is given, will survive. We will all leave our temporary home in our own way, on our own time.

Steve and Nana
My husband Steve and Nana at our wedding on November 7, 2009.