DIY Succulent Letters

 

Love our succulent letters? Sweet - so do we!

Below is a simple DIY tutorial of how to assemble and plant your own succulent letters. You can also visit our DIY succulent wreath making post, here

 

Tools needed, all can be purchased at our shop (or found somewhere in your junk drawer):

 

- Thick nail or narrow screw driver

- Metal clips or staples  

- Clippers (We love our T-600's)

 

Step 1. Purchase your letter from the shop or by emailing us, shop@gardenapothecary.com. (We ship within the continental US, for $18. fee. Each letter unplanted costs $52.) 

 

Step 2. Gather small, but sturdy succulent cuttings. This is the time to make friends with that neighbor who has those fabulous succulents, and ask for a cutting or ten. Bake a cake, bring them a puppy, pretend to be a girl scout - I don't care, just get those gorgeous cuttings! A variety of colorful ones is preferred. You can also visit a nursery to purchase one big succulent (one that has many off-shoots or babies) and then remove the smaller pieces to use. Simply look for sturdy succulents that have thin stems. You don't want to use a succulent that falls apart easily or has a stem with a diameter larger then a pencil. You will need anywhere from 12 - 35 cuttings, depending on your letter and desired design. Some growers like to dry their cuttings out prior to using them in wreaths or letters, which is a standard propagation technique. I don't find that I need to do that, so I plant fresh. 

 

 

Step 3. Ready your tools and letter. Lay your letter flat and saturate it with water for a minute or less, allowing the water to be soaked up by the moss. You don't want to over water it, or the moss will be difficult to work with. You want moist, springy moss. 

 

Step 4. Trim the lower leaves off of your cutting, including any dried bits or debris. You want a clean stem that is about half an inch long. 

 

 

Step 5. Start Planting! Pick your largest succulents and arrange them randomly on the letter. Once these are planted and secure, you can add the smaller cuttings to surround and fill in empty space. Once your larger pieces are picked out, take a nail or screw driver and make a little hole in the moss, gently widening the moss. Well watered moss should be soft but springy, and will bounce back (thus holding the cutting in place). Insert the cutting stem in the hole, and gently twist a bit to secure it in. These letters are lined with metal wire that keeps the moss in place, so don't worry about accidentally pulling out the moss. 

 

 

Step 6. If the cutting is still wobbly in the hole, you can secure it with metal clips or staples. You can also use these for gently securing smaller cuttings that otherwise would break in your hand if you tried to insert in firm moss. You can also use clips for securing succulent cuttings that have no stem. Remember, these are cuttings, so even placing them on moss will prompt them to quickly take root. The clips act as support until they fully root on their own. You're not piercing the succulent or it's leaf, you are just placing one or two clips around it to gently hold it onto the moss. Often times, you only need one clip per cutting. 

 

 

 

 

Step 7. From there, you can thoughtfully fill in as you see fit. I tend to make mine very full, but some people would rather they grow in over time, so as not to over power the letter's shape. Once your letter is complete, lay flat in a filtered sunny location for 2-4 weeks, or until the cuttings have taken root, prior to hanging. Do not water during this time. 

 

Care - succulents like to grow outside in full sun to part shade, depending on your location. Generally speaking, you can take the letter down, lay flat and soak with a hose twice a month. Feel free to trim, clean dead leaves or replant as you see fit. I tend to my letters about two to three times a year, trimming and replacing for aesthetics. If you do not know where to place your letter, feel free to email us a photo of your wall or garden for assistance and more in-depth care instructions. You can have these inside for up to one week, before they will want to be outside again. If you'd rather have us do the planting, we can do that as well. Simply visit us at the shop, or email us. 

329 Main Street, Half Moon Bay, CA

shop@gardenapothecary.com

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GA + Merchant Home

A lovely post from one of most favorite companies, Merchant Home. This noteworthy company of the talented Alexandra Sklar, offers business insight that we have grow to depend on. I call her my ideas wrangler - although it doesn't begin to encapsulate all the Merchant Home has to offer. As a small company (and with my head mostly in the weeds, not the books), Alexandra's detailed eye for design, numbers, trends and business management is not only inspiring but vital. We have truly loved working with her and the MH team. 

 

 

(Image by Alexandra Sklar) 

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Sown.

Since the election, I have been writing daily tips on twitter, on the concept of gardening as a form of protest. Historically, we have seen that putting our money towards sustainability, organics, equality and small-business is a vote for a more efficient, just and healthy system of living . There are many avenues to support these causes, and for my companies, we start with sowing seeds, selling and giving our crops and educating people on how to grow their own food and medicine. 

~

With the recent rains this February, the ground has been considerably swollen, dark and teeming weeds. I let a couple weeks go by without tracking the weather too strictly, and without a planting plan. On the third week, I got strategic on what I should plant at the farm on the next available dry day. Last Sunday I got that day; warm, dry and not even a breeze - perfect for sowing small seeds. I tilled up some crud rows in different sunny locations all over the property, since perfection is never something I strive for in farming. I churned up the soil, pulled away the larger weeds and broadcasted thousands of organic seeds. All bought from small, organic farmers, I look forward to these plants growing into something beautiful, profitable for my companies and abundant enough to share for free. It's been a while since I've farmed flowers, so I went a little crazy... here's my list. I'll keep you posted on the progress. 

2/15/2017 On the farm. In no particular order or arrangement. Seed quantities are not exact on all. 

Borage - Borago officinalis 1.5 gm.

Candytufy 1,500 seeds 

Sweet Alyssum 8,700 seeds

Dragon's Tongue beans 50 seeds

Sunflower Mammoth Grey Striped 25 seeds  5.5 gm. + 50 seeds 

Sunflower - Maximilian - Helianthus maximiliani 50 seeds

Sunflower - Hopi Black Dye 25 seeds

"Haagen-Dazs Wildflower Mix"

"Large Sweet Pea Pods"

Virginia Stock 8,000 seeds

Fava Bean 10 seeds

White Yarrow 14,000 seeds

Viscaria oculata 1.5 gm.

Gilia tricolor 1,000 seeds

Scabiosa - Fama Deep Blue 10 seeds

Scabiosa - Fata Morgana (2 unmarked packs from Floret Flowers)

White Sage - Salvia apiana 100 seeds

Nasturtium - Sahins's Paso Double 25 seeds 

Daucus carota - Choclate Laceflower - Dara (unmarked pack from Floret Flowers)

Sweet Pea - Noel Sutton 30 seeds 

Sweet Pea - King's High Scent 40 seeds 

Sweat Pea - Oxford and Cambridge 40 seeds

Sweet Pea - Beaujolais 30 seeds

Sweet Pea - Matucana 20 seeds

Sweet Pea - Apricot Sprite 20 seeds

Sweet Pea - Mr. P (2 unmarked packs from Floret Flowers)

Sweet Pea - Erewhon (unmarked pack from Floret Flowers)

Poppy - Black Swan Pompom 1 gm. 

Poppy - Iceland, Giant Peach (2 unmarked packets from Floret Flowers)

Poppy - Meconopsis - Frances Perry 50 seeds

Poppy - Meconopsis - Lingholm Hybird - x sheldonii 25 seeds

Poppy - Oriental - Fruit Punch 100 seeds

Poppy - Breadseed - Hens and Chicks .5 gm.

Poppy - California .5 oz. 

Stock - Apricot (unmarked pack from Floret Flowers)

Rudbeckia birta - Black-Eyed Susan - Chim Chiminee Mix (unmarked pack from Floret Flowers)

Zinnia elegans - Lilliput Salmon (2unmarked packs from Floret Flowers)

Zinnia elegans - Benary's Giant Salmon Rose 30 seeds

Zinnia elegans - Oklahoma Salmon 50 seeds

Zinnia elegans - Zinderella Peach 50 seeds

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Gardening is a form of protest.

I believe gardening is a form of protesting in a time of social and political unrest. With an administration aiming to divide the nation, lead by fear and prejudice and make money at all costs, it's important to find empowerment within our local communities. Historically, gardening has always been a way to take care of ourselves, our families, and connect with communities - let alone ground into nature and the natural rhythm of the earth. These are big concepts that can be explored for pages and pages, but for now, I invite you to visit these few links of people who are staying healthy, voting with their dollars and connecting our nation, by the simple act of gardening

Want to learn more? Visit my twitter account for my #dailyprotest. 

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Cacao, for the skin and beyond.

Here on my farm in Half Moon Bay, CA, the ground is beyond muddy, plants are sleeping and the harvest season feels very, very far away. While only a six hour flight south to Punta Gorda, Belize, my friends that farm cacao are out on their farms tending to rapidly growing cacao fruit trees. Their normal harvest season is more towards June, however some early pods are being harvested weekly, mostly for use at home in traditional Mayan teas and food, like corn and cacao soup, chocolate and elixirs. 

Here at home I have been going through my Belize botany notes. A handful of filled to the brim notebooks with scraps of paper, maps with notes and lines from interviews. The paper is swollen from rain, mud and chocolate, a in the moment reminder that transports me back to the jungle when I flip through the pages. 

There are many medicinal values associated with Theobroma cacao, for our purposes, we focus on the skin benefits. Cacao oil is a key ingredient in our Higher Ground facial serum, an oil that gives the serum it's signature, rich scent and color. Useful for circulation, hydration and skin cell repair, cacao continues to amaze me - and helps my skin look glowing and healthy. 

Want to take a virtual trip to Belize with me? Visit some of my past posts

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