gardening for reformed plant murderers – part 1

gardening doesn’t come naturally to me; i once managed to kill a succulent by over watering, and i evened it out by reducing petunias to a pile of dust by forgetting to water them for an entire summer in brisbane. but i thought i’d give gardening a go again after moving into our cute art deco flat in st kilda, and just to make it extra awkward, i decided to start in the middle of winter when i had the least chance of succeeding….

outdoors, i’ve managed to keep a vertical garden alive for almost six weeks so far, but i’ll talk about that one in another post. the most success i’ve had so far has been with my indoor plants. if you’re like me and more black finger than green finger, air plants (tillandsias) are the most suitable ones to start on. they do exactly what they say on the tin and survive on nothing more than a spray with the water gun once a fortnight (once a week in hotter months). there’s no potting required, and as long as you open a window and let a little bit of sun in the room, they’re good to go. only thing you have to keep in mind is that they aren’t always the prettiest of things, so presenting them nicely is where most of your effort should be focused. you can go all out and hang them in formation around the room on string like elsie does in this post, or you can do what i did and have a bit of fun incorporating them into the existing decor:

yorick modelling different types of air plants
yorick modelling different types of air plants

sticking a plant on top of an ornament doesn’t really need a lot of brain power, so i thought i’d go one better. originally i’d planned to use succulents, but halfway through the process of preparing the camel (yep, i meant to write ‘camel’) i realised that camel + potting mix was a bad idea. i’ve been seeing lots of creative planters on pinterest and etsy lately, and by chance i live around the corner from one of the daggiest party shops you can find, who happen to sell ugly old plastic animals. i grabbed a few, took them back home and went through the following process:

  1. figure out where you can cut a hole on the back or side of the animal, then using a sharp knife or scissors (the plastic isn’t too tough), roughly cut a piece out of the animal
  2. spray paint the whole animal in the colour that you choose. if you want to add highlights, mix some varnish with acrylic paint and go for it
  3. that’s it. you’re done.
neville showing us how a side hump is done
neville showing us how a side hump is done

i started painting one of my animals before cutting, then realised i’d just made more work for myself. i also didn’t use spray paint, so i had to add a layer of gesso before the paint as an undercoat and varnish them. too much work. don’t bother.

when you’re done, just pop an airplant in and voila! your tacky animal planter is complete!

herb modelling his new mane extension
herb modelling his new mane extension
if they're large like gary try using a succulent
if they’re large like gary, try potting a succulent instead

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