Classes, Flower Designs, Gardening, Gardens

Garden Chairs

I’m so excited about this project and the final results. I have been wanting to make a garden chair for a while but hadn’t found the “right” chair. Then at the antique fair this year, I found two chairs…already prepped for me! It was fate…or just dumb luck. So purchase them I did…even carried them several blocks home.

If you read my blog about the antique fair you’ll know that I promised to tell you how I planted in them. So here goes…my first ever “how-to”…let me know what you think.

Step 1: Find Chair(s)

You can use just about any type of dining style chair (not upholstered or a recliner). If you choose a wooden versus the metal one I used you’ll need to prep the container portion differently and most likely weatherproof the wood. Check out some YouTube videos on how to do so. In my case I had these great metal bistro chairs which someone had already removed the seats and attached the chicken wire.

I had debated on painting the chairs but ended up leaving them the white rusted look so they were a bit more neutral to appeal to more customers. If you are doing this for yourself you can choose just about any color you want…I had thought about a bright yellow, red or teal which I think would compliment the plants beautifully. Then again that probably why I left them white…I couldn’t choose a color!

Step 2: Gather Materials and Tools

Gather your tools and materials. Here’s what I used but all are subjective to the type of chair and what you are planting. Remember this is for 2 chairs.

  • Green moss – 820 cu. in. or 13.4 liter bag (used about 3/4 bag for both chairs)
  • Cactus Mix – 8 quart or 8.8 liter bag (pretty much used the whole bag)
  • Burlap – depending the size of the chair but I used about a 1/4 of a yard.
  • Gardening or work gloves – I used them only when I was working with the wire, however if you are planting cacti you’ll want to use them for that as well.
  • Wire clippers
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers – this is optional. Since succulents are fragile many people use tweezers to handle and plant succulents.
  • Zip Ties
  • Chicken Wire (floral mesh)
  • Several buckets
  • 28 plants (mostly 2″ pots but a few 4″)
  • Decorations (I.e. driftwood, bark, rocks, fairy garden accessories)

Step 3: Prep for Planting

There will be a lot of water dripping from your chair as you are working, so pick a work area that can get wet. This is also a somewhat messy job so take that into consideration as well.

Some of the chicken wire was saggy and not connected to the chair frame. I was worried that the weight of the soil and plants would cause a problem so I zip tied the chicken wire in a few more places. This is an easy way to attach it if you are starting from scratch. I happened to have white zip ties so they blended well with the chair frame. You may also want to do two layers of chicken wire and cross-hatch them so that the holes are smaller and the moss won’t come out the bottom.

I filled one of the buckets with water and soaked a good amount of the moss in it. You may need to work in small batches. Ring out some of the water from the moss and then start layering it on the chicken wire. I did I nice thick layer of it but not so much that I lost the bowl shape and the ability to hold the soil. I have to admit once this step was done, I was giddy. I knew this would turn out good…just from the layer of moss. Then again ya’ll know how much I love moss.

Next cut your burlap to fit on top of the moss. This is where your soil will sit. The burlap prevents the soil from falling through the moss. A little hint, I placed some soil in the middle of the burlap to anchor it before I cut it. Note: You can use coconut husk fiber or any liner that lets water through. This is really just to prevent the soil from pushing through the moss.

I poured about half the bag of soil into a bucket and wet it throughly and left other half dry in another bucket. I used cactus soil since I was planting succulents and I needed a soil that will drain well.

Fill the bowl of moss and burlap with the dry soil.

If you are using driftwood or something large, then place them now.

This was a piece of bark, so I filled up the underside with soil to keep it sturdier and so I could plant easily.

I also made balls of chicken wire to make little mounds to plant in. This is where the wet soil really helps as it clings to the mound easier. Be sure to fill inside your chicken wire as you want to make sure the plants are fully in soil when you insert them in.

Sorry, not the best picture of my ball of wire.

Step 4: Start Planting

I did a mock layout of where I wanted to put the plants. Basically leaving them in their containers and laying them around the container. I wanted taller plants towards the back and draping or ground cover along the sides or in open spaces.

Make a hole in the soil where you want the plant to go. Remove your plant from their container and discard the old soil. Insert into the hole you made. I used the wet soil to then loosely pack the plant in place. Step repeat until all plants have been used.

Step 5: Moss It

If you like the “bare soil look” then you can skip this step. I used more wet moss to cover the bare soil throughout the container. You could also use rocks, bark, sea glass, or a combination of these. I liked this “forest floor” look that the moss gave.

Step 6: Clean Up

There will be moss hanging down from the bottom of the chair. I just pushed it back up into the chicken wire or trimmed it where necessary.

Step 7: Enjoy

Take step back and bask in the glory of your finished project. Take tons of pictures and brag about it! You deserve it for all of your hard work. And please share those pictures with me! I would love to see them.

These lovelies will be for sale at the Art & Garden Festival on July 14 in downtown Petaluma. Be sure to stop by the booth and say “hey!”

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May your day be filled with flowers!

Flower Designs

Liken’ the Lichen

As you’ve seen from previous social media posts, I have thoroughly enjoyed photographing lichen and mosses this rainy winter season.   I’m not quite sure how or why I’ve become a little obsessed with it.

What I once considered a plight between the cracks in the pavement, I now have an appreciation for the beauty and fortitude of moss and lichen.  Maybe it was seeing it’s use in floral design that made me see it in a different light.   Or maybe it was my walks around my neighborhood wanting to find any plant life that I could photograph for social media.  Heck, it could stem from my love of Richard Ayoade (some of you will get that). Whatever the catalyst for my new found appreciation, I am so happy that it happened.

Lichen is a composite organism that forms from algae or cyanobacteria living amongst multiple fungi species in a mutualistic relationship.  Lichen are not plants and come in a variety of colors and structures.  Some may be small leafless branches, flat leaf-like structures, flakes that look like peeling paint, a powder-like appearance or other forms.    (sourced from Wikipedia)

Moss are small flowerless plants that grow in dense green clumps or mats in damp or shady locations.  They do not have seeds but have stalks that contain a single cell filled with spores for use in fertilization. (sourced from Wikipedia)

Lichen and Moss are fascinating and add a patina in our everyday life that goes unnoticed.  So next time you are out for a walk, eating al fresco, or just simply out shopping, don’t just stop and smell the roses, look at the moss/lichen that is growing on the side of the building, in the cracks of the pavement, or the branch of the tree.  I know you’ll see the beauty in it, too.

 

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May your day be filled with flowers!

Image from channel4.com
Flower Designs, Travel

Portugal – Sintra

On our last day in Portugal we finally made it to Sintra to visit Palácio da Pena (Pena Palace). Sintra has four palaces that you can visit. Each one different and all beautiful in their own way. We had plans to visit both Pena and Quinta da Regaleira, but due to the very dreary weather we only visited Pena.

First off, let me say that Pena Palace is beautiful and something out of a fairy tale. Inside the palace the décor is amazing and the architecture is stunning. However, you are herded through like cattle. While we made friends while in our cue, there were times we were being pushed along by others. You can pay only to walk the grounds and not go inside the palace.

That all being said, it is so worth a visit if only to walk the beautiful grounds and see the stunning vistas (not that we could see them due to the weather).

Mind you, I was having a blonde senior moment and wore my sandals. I had put them on to walk down for breakfast and forgot to change into my tennies. Silly me. We were in the Uber half way there when I finally notice…of course it was at the same time the rain started. Oh well…I don’t melt.

If you love photography, Pena Palace is the place for you. Even with my very amateurish abilities I was able to get some great shots of the grounds. And these were just from the path to walk (uphill) from the ticket booth to the palace. Most Instagram pictures of the palace are when it’s bright and sunny out, but I actually loved this moody, mysterious vibe that the drizzly rain gave to my photos. It did prevent us from exploring too much though as the pathways were a bit muddy.

Ok less talking…more pictures. Please note these photos are unfiltered.

First the palace. While it’s not flora, architecture is important in design and is a fascination of mine.

Look at these cute little cyclamen. It’s hard to tell from the picture because I zoomed in but these are itty bitty. I’ve seen small cyclamen in like two inch pots but these seemed even smaller. Could just be that they were in a massive forest. No matter…they are precious.

It was told to us by our tuk-tuk driver (we took a tuk-tuk back down the hill) that King Ferdinand II collected trees and plants from all over the world (including sequoias from North America) and planted them on his property. His collection is so vast that it created its own ecosystem and that the weather we were experiencing was more common than the sunny skies you see of the palace in all the pictures.

While I was a little disappointed that we didn’t have views from the palace overlooking the town of Sintra and seeing the other castles on neighboring hills, I have to say the artist in me loved how these photos turned out.

 

And…because I’ve become moss obsessed…some close-ups. 😍

 

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May your day be filled with flowers!

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The dreaded sandals on a rainy day.