Archives For gardening

I’ve already pontificated on how much I hate the bushes in front of my house, but since it isn’t in my budget to replace them, the least I can do is make them look better. Their current state as of the other day was pretty rough.

Here is what they looked like all winter:

Here is what they looked like last week:
I guess they actually don’t look that bad, but in person they looked very overgrown and in need of a trim (in some places they were nearly as tall as me!). Last year I used basic garden pruning shears to trim them down but it was a lot of work (I have shears similar to these). So this year I invested in something a little more heavy duty to speed up the process. I should have done more research before I went but these days I am just trying to get everything done so when I saw a Menards and I had 20 minutes to spare I just went in.
First of all, electric hedge trimmers are freaking expensive. I had a choice between a 6″ blade for $54.99 or a 22″ blade for the same price… ???? Such a confusing choice!
Most people would probably go with the bigger blade since it was the same price, but that blade was just so big that I wasn’t sure I could really maneuver it. The way I thought of it, the 6″ blade could probably cut off my finger, but the 22″ in blade could cut off my head so I went for the little blade because I am accident prone and I like my head. And man is the trimmer really little. I didn’t take any pictures of myself using it because no one looks good doing yard work, but it’s barely the length of my forearm.  But it worked.
It definitely got the job done but it wasn’t much faster than using the shears. Although it was significantly less hard. So I’m on the fence about this tool for $54.99. It was definitely too expensive, but I’ve already used it and returning stuff is a pain, plus it does work it just isn’t very powerful. Even though the 6″ blade is too small I’m glad I didn’t get the 22″ blade because that thing was scary, but seriously though why isn’t there an in-between option? Like a reasonable 15-18″ blade? Someone get on that.
For now though, I was able to knock something off of my to-do list and make my house look a little less abandoned. Some day I’ll replace those ugly buggers but for now I’ll do my best with what I’ve got.

How to Make a Terrarium

September 21, 2012 — 2 Comments

How to make a terrarium:

1) Go shopping and buy:
a) A glass or plastic open container. I got mine at HomeGoods for $15.
b) Rocks (I wish I could have just gotten these from my yard but it’s amazing how few rocks are in my yard).
c) Activated charcoal… this one is a little hard to find but they should have it at any nursery.
d) Soil. I buy Miracle Grow: Moisture Control, but pretty much any kind works
e) Succulents. It may help to have your container with you so that you can see how your plants will all fit inside. My particular container is about 15″ in diameter and I fit three succulents in it.
d) Miniature animals because it’s a terrarium and it should be awesome.

2) Put a layer of rocks on the bottom of your container (I saved a few to put on the top layer). This is for drainage.

3) And then a layer of activated charcoal (about an inch of the charcoal). This charcoal, as far as I understand it, is for smell. I guess these terrariums can get moldy so this charcoal is supposed to keep the mold and moldy smell away.

4) Add soil (I filled my container about half full)

5) Plant your succulents!

6) Add a little more life to it. I added rocks and teeny tiny baby deer that I bought on Etsy.

7) Take care. Terrariums are very low maintenance but that only applies if you set them up right to begin with. Also, I can’t stress enough how much terrariums need sunlight. If you forget to open your blinds even a few days in a row these little babies will start to die. On the other hand they can go weeks without water. I sprinkle, emphasis on sprinkle, them with water every 10-14 days.

I made this terrarium about a year ago and it has kept well. One of the plants died which was my fault because I left it too long when I was on a trip without sun or water, but like I said earlier if you do a few things they should keep for a long time. I don’t remember the exact amount I spent to make this but here is my best guess on how much this project cost me:

Container: $15
Deer: $5
Soil: had on hand
3 Succulents: $16
Rocks: $5
Activated Charcoal: $8
= $49 … yes, that is expensive but have you ever tried to buy a pre-made terrarium? They are over $100! Like this one and these.

Here are few ways you can save on terrarium expenses:

– Use dirt and rocks from your yard… why not??
– Use coupons!
– Use a container you have on hand. The only real criteria involved is that they are usually clear (but don’t have to be) and they should have an open top (closed top terrariums require different care). I have a couple of shallow vases right now that would work.
– Share actived charcoal with a friend. I only used a small amount so there is no need to buy a whole bag… go in with a friend and have a terrarium making party!
– Buy plants on clearance. They may look a little sad but nothing a little repotting and love can’t fix.
– Use little miniatures you have lying around or make your own.

Happy terrarium making!

Let me be upfront, I do not like being outside. I know that isn’t a popular thing to say but I am one of those people whom insects flock to. I’m like Pig Pen except I shower.

Actually now that I look at this character I’m not sure those are bugs, but if they were that is what I look like when I go outside. So apart from mowing my grass I avoid spending any time on my yard.

I do love indoor plants though. They are so much easier to care for, they look great year round, and they give rooms a certain breath of fresh air.

Currently, I have four house plants. When I was in college someone told me that caring for a houseplant is a good way to improve your emotional well being. That sounds silly but I think it actually worked for me. I once kept an orchid alive for two years!

But this post isn’t about my emotional health, it’s about houseplants. I don’t know the first thing about plant species, I mostly just pick whatever I like. Whichever plant you do choose I would highly recommend reading the card that comes on the plant. Some plants have very specific care instructions. Also, I’ve found in my six years of houseplant experience that plants don’t need watered half as much as you’d think. I water my plants every Saturday except for my succulents which I water every two weeks.

If you’re new to the houseplant game I’d suggest going to a nursery because they will have a much bigger selection. I wouldn’t recommend buying planters in the garden section though because they are usually overpriced and generic.

Here are some cheap and uncommon planters that would look awesome around your house:

(Source)
I love this! You can find vintage pyrex at just about any antiques shop and most of the time it is reasonably priced. I love this idea because unless you have a lot of open shelving these beautiful bowls are often hidden away behind closed doors.

(Source)
I’ve seen plants planted in tin cans before but I really like these dented cans… it’s like that extra texture really gives it something. The best thing is that this project would be free because you can use any can you have and whatever paint is lying around.

(Source)
This cracks me up. Plants in a bread tin! This is so smart because even though I try not to over buy kitchen gadgets I somehow always end up with way too many pans.

(Source)
This is adorable. Also, who doesn’t have 14 extra mugs lying around?

(Source)
Hilarious and cute. Maybe a little young for my house but it would be cool in a fashionable teen’s room.

(Source)
This isn’t an uncommon pot but it is an elevated one. By dipping the bottom of the planter into paint and then turning it over and letting it dry is a cool and easy way to make the planters you already have look unique and textured.

So many cool ideas! What uncommon planters have you tried out? The possibilites are endless!