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 Products. You 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!
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.
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:
Palm Springs, California is a city where beautiful xeriscapes existed long before it was trendy or environmentally necessary. Driving down any street in Palm Springs is a succulent lover’s dream, as most shopping centers and street corners are landscaped with drought tolerant plants. If window-gazing front yards isn’t enough for you, there’s the Palm Springs Historical Landmark, Moorten Botanical Garden.
Established in 1938 by desert plant specialists Chester and Patricia Moorten. The grounds are still family owned and operated by their son Clark Moorten. Each time I’m at Moorten’s I love to take the opportunity to chat with Clark and listen to his stories about Palm Springs in the 1960’s or the interesting array of critters he’s come across on the property. Moorten’s houses over 3000 varieties of plants and a most impressive Cactarium, a greenhouse which is home to many rare plant species. For a very small admission fee you can walk the grounds and enjoy the scenery. I don’t typically go here to buy succulents but they do have a small selection for sale.(below: I purchased from Moorten’s in May 2015). They also have an eclectic selection of pottery and garden decor. Every time I visit I always pick up one of their two-toned pots for future projects. You may have seen some of their pottery selection on my Instagram. I’ve been to Moorten’s during winter and summer and I’ll say a trip during summer isn’t for those shy about sweating! I would definitely recommend visiting in either winter or spring. Hours of operation are limited in the summer so be sure to call ahead or check their website before planning your trip.
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.
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. Now 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!
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!