Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Vertical Garden - How to squeeze just a few more plants into the bedroom!

A few weeks ago I read a great book, Love the House You're In.  It really made me think about the aspects of the rental that I love, and on top of the list is ALL the plants that we have.  I have two balconies, and several south facing windows, all of which are covered by plants.  In fact, the only rooms of the house that don't have any houseplants are the walk in closet and the two bathrooms (none of which have any windows.)  

Anyway, I decided that I needed more plants in my bedroom.  All I had in there was a small snake plant* I placed on J's nightstand (it's my way of saying "I love you" since snake plants are known to clean the air at night), a large-ish  Bird of Paradise that was doing OK, but had never flowered, and a Norfolk Island Pine (I think) that Jeff got me around last Christmas.  Now the latter two are fairly large plants, but I wanted a massing somewhere in the bedroom instead of just single specimens.  

Military Mama Musings - Snake Plant/Mother in law's tongue

I did a little research on indoor vertical gardens, and there are some amazing ideas out there, both ready to buy products, and DIY tutorials.

The first one I found was a beautiful Smart Wall from G Sky.  It has the benefit of being an all in one product, comes fully assembled, and has drip irrigation installed.  All you do is add 96 4" plants and enjoy!  Unfortunately at $1499 it was a bit out of my price range.  Still, it's a beauty!
Military Mama Musings - Smart Wall by G Sky

There was also this smaller Vertical Succulent Frame from Succulent Wonderland at Etsy.  It had a great place to put in a larger plant, and the cost of $96 included the succulents in the top corner.  It was definitely worth the price, but it didn't quite fit into the look of our bedroom.
Military Mama Musings - Vertical Succulent Frame from Succulent Wonderland at Etsy

A DIY Succulent Frame from Balcony Garden Web looked like jus the thing.  I could make it in a style that fit the look I wanted and still have vertical plantings.  Until I realized that my bedroom, especially in the winter, simply does not get enough light to support succulents.  I didn't want to install a special light for them, and I was afraid that with the mold problems constantly present in Alaska, it would not end up well for me.  

Clearly, I needed something that would work for less light loving plants.  This DIY wood and leather trellis plant wall looked perfect.  I could make it, and it could be taken off the wall to come with me when we move in a few years.  I loved the look  and the fact that I could paint the pots and trellis to work with the colors of the bedroom.  I realized, however, that my bedroom just does not have this much wall space, at least not where there is any light.  Next house maybe...
Military Mama Musings - Trellis Plant Wall

These Macrame Hanging Planters just looked beautiful.  They all came from Chiron Creations on Etsy, and some amazing person hung a dozen or so of them, all in different shades of blue and green, in a row.  It looks spectacular.  However, you once again need some blank wall space, and I didn't want to spend so much money on my last minute project.  This is once again a project for the next house.

I finally found something that would work for me at M-Pression.  Instead of a complicated design, why not fill an entire shelf with cascading plants?  There are tons that are OK with low light conditions, some neglect (I'm not the best at regular watering, and it usually takes me months to get a plant to thrive), and I already have shelves in the bedroom!

I just loved this look.  I took some inventory of the plants that I had available that would propagate easily.  I had two kinds of photos in the house, which love low light, and are hanging.  Then I went on an online shopping spree at Hirts Gardens over at Etsy.  The choices were great (I decided to stick with one store so that I didn't have to pay too much extra shipping since shipping to Alaska can get quite expensive), and I ended up ordering four new plants:

  • Lemon-Lime Vining Philodendron: an easy hanging plant that's my favorite bright shade of green
  • Mona Lisa Lipstick Plant: this one was supposed to be easy and I couldn't resist the bright red flowers
  • Velvet Leaf Bronze Micans Vine: Interesting green/red foliage, also a philodendron, and it's a hanging plant too!
  • Red Prayer Plant:  this one is not a hanging plant, but I had hoped it would offset the other plantings nicely

Military Mama Musings - Houseplants

I bought a whole bunch of 5" clay pots, and spray painted them yellow and gray.  I did a horrible job, and the paint dripped all over itself.  Since in the back of my head we have a "less than two years at his place" mentality, I decided to just embrace the drips as part of the look, and in fact sprayed some more to get even more drips.  

The plants arrived in a few days and looked like this:

They were packaged very nicely, and in fact were much bigger than what I expected to get with 4" pots.  Very exciting!

I planted them all, including the two pothos plants in the 5" pots.  The result is quite nice, though lacking in the 'vertical' aspect.  But that's the thing about working with plants.  They look significantly better after you've given them some time to grow!

Military Mama Musings - Future Vertical Green Wall

*SIDE NOTE:  Snake plant, or Sansevieria trifasciata, is also called mother in law's tongue.  It is a name I prefer since it paints a nice picture:  the leaves have very sharp edges, and like the  proverbial mother in law, will cut you up if not careful.  However, since my mother in law is a lovely sweet person, I always feel guilty falling back on that name, so Snake plant it is.  

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