Saturday, December 19, 2009

Designing the bedroom &
Creating a Succulent Terrarium

Click the photos to see them larger.

I decided to finally design my bedroom. We've been living here for a year and a half, and I haven't done a thing to it. There are some bamboo shades, but that's it. I realized that I never want to spend time in the bedroom, even since we found a cute desk on somebody's curb this summer, and I refinished it. At that time I had been fantasizing about having a craft desk in my room, and after imaging this for a few weeks, a desk just the right size appeared. I'm talking exactly the right size—like it fits the space I wanted to put it to the inch.

Still, the room is obviously unfinished, and so, not very welcoming. I went to a few fabric and craft stores, looking for some Amy Butler fabric to use in the room, but couldn't find any. So I went on Ebay, and there it was—on sale no less. I got a few yards to make a slipcover for my upholstered headboard, and another pattern to make some pillows.

After that, my design concept all fell into place... in my mind that is ;-) I know what color I want to paint the room (low VOC of course). I know what I want to hang on the walls. I already have images ready to pin on my dream board over my desk. And last night I took two of our wedding photos that were just sitting in a box, and put them in some frames I found in the basement. Free art. Love it.

There was also one other thing missing from my plan: Plants. I think every room needs two things: some black accents, and plants. However, I didn't want a traditional house plant. Ever since I can remember I have been in love with desert plants, like cactus and succulents. But it's been years since I tried to keep any, and I really wanted some.

First thing this morning I went to Marshall's and there it was: My huge glass terrarium—only 10 dollars! Shopping was never so easy. I just walked in, and like the desk that appeared when I imagined it, there was the terrarium.

Next, my Bubba (Ashley) and I headed to the local garden center, The Flower Bin. They have the most amazing selection of desert plants, and every other kind of plant you could imagine too. Going there is such a treat. We played around with different succulent arrangements, till we found a grouping that complimented each other.

Then a guy who works there gave us some serious knowledge on succulents. He told us that succulents need drainage, very little water, and that the roots grow outwards, not down. Therefore, he suggested a good amount of rocks, bigger rocks, because they're better for drainage. Also, since there wont be a real drain, he directed us to add a layer of charcoal next, to remove toxins from the system. He said to put a couple inches of cactus potting mix after the charcoal, and don't pack it down. Then you can arrange the succulents to your liking, and fill in with more cactus soil.

I thought it was very interesting that he suggested not watering the succulents for a week or two after planting them. Then he said you can check them individually to see if they need water by gently squeezing with your fingers. If there is some give, then they could use a little water. If they feel firm, then they're full. The ones that need water can be squirted with a spray bottle.

Lastly, I was surprised to learn that most of them can be pruned with scissors if you want to keep them short and bushy. Otherwise, some of them will grow quite tall, and may exceed the height of the terrarium, which is 9 inches wide by 10 inches tall.

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