Friday, June 20, 2014

Succulent Orb - Nailed It!

Okay, so you've seen those often comical posts that start from Pinterest, where someone's inspired and motivated to try something.  The pin makes something look so easy to accomplish, but somehow it doesn't quite turn out that way, right?

Here was my inspiring pin, originally placed on my Garden board more than a year ago:
Succulent Orb / Ball
Apparently others liked it too, with 425 repins as of this writing.  With a little digging on the originally pinned site's content, which reviews the book from which this idea comes, Succulent Container Gardens, by Debra Lee Baldwin, I found comments giving how-to instruction ideas (not necessarily the author's prescription).

So, as if I didn't have enough other chores to do in my own garden, I go to Lowe's, looking for more.  I would have started this project last year, but only bought one 10" hanging basket at the time, then could not find any, anywhere, the rest of the year and even early spring this year. I found the 10" hanging baskets at the Dollar Tree last week (without the liners), so last week went to Lowe's to scout other supplies.
Succulents are expensive, at $3.98 for a 3" container at Lowe's.  I checked the orphan rack - none there. Then, I found two succulent containers, without prices, and no others like them.  They each had 7-9 of the 3" succulents arranged inside (which would've been $28-$36 for each, or $56-$72 total).  The manager got on the computer and made two tags for me - $9.98 each - BOOM - $19.96 total!
So, I gathered some cactus soil and a 14" basket liner that I decided to cut to 10" (none of those were to be found, either, but I still had the one from last year's purchase).  Total money investment, with tax: $30 (including baskets from Dollar Tree).
Succulent ball materials, ready, or ready to go
I admit, the plants looked good already in the containers, but I was now on a mission. I cut my liner, and filled each of the hanging baskets with the soil.  I used the entire bag, packed it down, then soaked it, as the reader comment on the original pin site suggested.
The next step was to connect the two baskets, so I placed the potting soil bag over one, and carefully aligned it with the other full basket.
After aligning the baskets into an orb, I slid the bag out from between the two, and connect the baskets.  I used twist ties (didn't have those plastic, self-adjusting ties).
The next step was to let the basket orb dry out for 24 hours, but I was already growing impatient, it was supposed to storm later in the afternoon, and so I soldiered on.  It was very hot outside, but I put the umbrella up, and worked beneath it, in the courtyard.
Work station set up in the courtyard, under the umbrella, in the shade
The directions said to then cut X's into the liner, and place the succulents into the orb / ball.  Easier said than done.  It was more like cutting and stuffing, trying not to sever the succulents into the orb.  I used one entire container's worth of plants, and still had space on my upper half of the orb.  Not to be discouraged, I spaced what I had of the one container on the upper half.  Then I quit. Want to know why?  I quit because I decided I nailed it!
Pinterest-inspired succulent orb / ball - nailed it!
Lol, this looks nothing like the Pinterest inspiration!  And, there's a reason why you should wait 24 hours for the soaked soil to dry out - it's frickin' heavy! Look how it's bending my shepherd's hook, below!
Succulent orb / ball - weighty when wet!
And how in the world am I supposed to cut holes in that bottom half and stuff succulents into it, without both the plant and the dirt falling out??

For now, I've decided to leave the basket orb as it is, let it dry out from the soaking I gave it, and come back to it once the succulents have a chance to take better root. Then, maybe I can flip the ball and hang it upside down and work right side up with the side now untouched.  I'll leave the undisturbed container on the table in the courtyard, and the project ball on the hook, in the back corner.
Courtyard, with purchased succulent container on table
Project succulent hanging basket (ball), in back corner of courtyard
So, with the rate at which succulents grow, I should have this project complete in, what, about 3-4 years? The good news is my sunroom is climate-controlled year round, so I can move these succulents to the [mostly] glass room when conditions are less than ideally dry and warm outside. Oh well...I guess it doesn't look too terribly bad, it just doesn't look like the pin.

Have you ever tried a Pinterest project - recipe, craft, DIY, fashion look - that you just nailed??  I'd love to hear some of your stories.
(Thank you to Creative Country Mom and Miriam at Hometalk for featuring this post!)

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