Thursday, July 26, 2012

My Afternoon Tea Project...

It has been so hot the past few days that an indoor project seemed like the way to go today.

So, I steeped some Earl Grey Tea and gathered my supplies.

The ingredients for today's project:  A large conch shell, charcoal, pebbles, potting soil and succulents.

I picked up this little succulent plant at the Farmer's Market in Fernandina Beach that I blogged about before.  I'm still trying to determine exactly what plant it is.  It has characteristics of Aloe, Lithops and Haworthia.  (If you know what it is.. let me know! )  I love it for it's small size, and the texture that I knew it would offer to a container garden.  It obviously also spreads well, making new plants which is always a plus for me.. I love a plant that I can divide and use again.

Update:  A twitter friend @RBancroftGarden just retweeted my photo of the shell garden and said that it is a Gasteria.  Here is the wikipedia definition of Gasteria:        

Gasteria is a genus of succulent plants native to South Africa. Closely related genera include Aloe and Haworthia. The genus is named for its stomach-shaped flowers and is part of the family Xanthorrhoeaceae, subfamily Asphodeloideae.[1] Common names include cow-tongue cactuslawyer's tongue,mother-in-law's tongueox-tongue.[2]

I was on the right track..  I'm always excited to 'meet' a new plant! :-)

A couple of days ago a  friend of mine from work gave me a beautiful conch shell.  I knew these two would be a perfect combination.

 Charcoal is something I use often in terrariums and non conventional containers that don't have the best drainage.  Put a layer in the bottom of the planter and mix a small amount in with the potting soil.  I use E.B. Stone's Charcoal.  It's finely ground charcoal absorbs moisture which cuts down on any odor you might get from standing water and helps to reduce damage from over watering.

 A lot of people ask me what soil I use when I plant succulents.  I use a really good quality potting soil - which is not soil at all but finely ground bark usually mixed with some vermiculite and perlite.  You can also use cactus and succulent specific soil.  And sometimes I mix the two.  I had Pike's Potting soil on hand today and as you can see from the photo it's a nice light soil that is perfect for any container planting even succulents.

 It took me a minute to decide which angle I wanted the shell to sit.  I finally decided this would be the angle that would be easiest to water without spilloff.

 The first thing I did was to put in a fine layer of the charcoal.

then I added some pebbles for better drainage....
 and then I added the potting soil...

Pulling apart the succulents was easy..  

     Now to arrange the plants in the shell..

 There were tons of little plants in the basket.

 I added a few more.

 Packed full.  It looks just perfect on the tray on my coffee table!  I'm super happy with it!  And since it doesn't need alot of water it will be easy to take care of too!

Now I'm inspired and off to look for my next project!  I still have a few more plants from The Farmer's Market to plant and a 2 big containers to plant outside.  Happy Thursday.. and Happy Gardening to you all!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Fernandina Beach Farmer's Market

I spent last week in Fernandina Beach, Florida for my family reunion.  On Saturday morning we decided to go to the Farmer's Market.  It was a bustling row of tents full of gorgeous locally grown produce and to my delight plants!!  There were 3 vendors with plants.  One had amazing large pots and hanging baskets of succulents.  Another had gorgeous blooming orchids some of which I had never seen!  And another had an assortment of large tropical plants.

 Peas!! If I had had a way to keep these frozen I would have bought all of them!! I love peas and growing up we had them at almost every meal.  But, now I have the hardest time finding field peas anywhere in Atlanta.  My Dad froze a bunch of them last year and gave me 12 bags. I rationed them out to the point that when I would have peas cooked for dinner Jody would ask me what the special occasion was!  

 Beautiful summer squash!
 Some Local flare!  I actually saw this guy all over the place.
I was impressed with how many vendors were at the market. 
 Tomatoes and Peaches.

 Peppers Cucumbers, Squash and Zucchini.
 Peas and Blackberries
 Musical entertainment.
 What is with that peach??
 A closer look - seriously what is with the stem on that peach?  LOL
 Different sizes of tomatoes.
 I loved the different bottles they had to serve.  They even had Peach Nehi!
 This vendor had different herb blends for seasoning and for dips, soups, and breading.
 More peppers.

 Yellow and Red bananas and squash.
 Sweet potatoes.
 Mangoes and Papaya! You don't see these in Atlanta's Farmers Markets.  My Aunt and Uncle brought us some fresh mango and I brought one home.  I can't wait to make Mango Salsa in a few days!  We all ate some of their fresh mango and it was delicious.  So completely different than store bought mango.  It was full of flavor and so tender!
 Cherries, Blackberries, Strawberries... and??? I don't know what the other fruit is... Do you?  I'm going to look it up.. I'll post what I find.. But it is so pretty isn't it?
 Ok.. I looked it up.. It's called Rambutan. Apparently it's a tropical tree and the fruit is very popular.  Now I wish I had bought some to try.
 Peaches and cherries.
 Herb plants for sale.
 Many different types of greens were for sale.
Salsas.  Canned tomatoes and Pasta Sauces were available in this booth.

Ok.. and now on to the PLANTS!!!

The first Plant booth we found was Seven Trees Succulent Nursery.  They had succulents, bromeliads, and foliage plants like fancy leaf begonias.

Gorgeous Blooming Guzmania
Purslane in full bloom.  This is the best succulent bloomer for summer gardens and containers.  But don't expect it to bloom on a cloudy day.  This is a sun loving bloom.  Each morning as the sun comes up the flowers open and at the end of the day they close.  If the sun doesn't come out they don't bloom.
Huge Mother of Thousands Succulent.
Foxtail Fern, Fancy Leaf Begonia, Devil's Backbone.

My Mother fell in love with this  blooming Echeveria.  It has fuzzy silver grey leaves and a gorgeous, contrasting orange bloom.  We left this booth to walk the rest of the market and come back and make our selections and unfortunately this sold in the mean time.  I told her I would get another one for her and I've already picked one out at work at Pike Nurseries! :-)
I love Fancy leaf begonias and this crinkly one is a personal favorite.
More succulents.  She had most of them in hanging baskets.  This definately made it easier to carry.

My  Mother loved them all!

We moved on and found Cabbage Creek Farm.  They had gorgeous cut flowers. I particularly loved the  black sunflower! Truly beautiful!

Orchids by Del-Rei had all the ususal Orchid favorites and many very unusual varieties.  I'm not going to even try to name them now.  If you know them feel free to comment.  I'll research them and add the names when I find them.  It's not often that I get stumped by a plant.  I'm truly to get to learn new orchids! It was hard to resist buying these beauties.

Gorgeous phalaenopsis.

Cookies and baked bread.

The last booth at the back of the market was Blooming Landscape Gardens.  They had  a mix of larger tropical plants and shrubs.

Beautiful Bird's Nest Fern
Hosta Bloom with African Mask Alocasia in the background.
Variegated Colocasia. I had never seen this one.
Beautiful Hibiscus blooms
I love perennial Hibiscus!! Such a great bloom this time of year!! 
Croton.  There are so many different varieties of croton.  This narrow leafed variety is one of my favorites!


This Papyrus was taller than me! Okay.. I'm only 5'3 but still... it was really tall!!

Salvia,  I'm not sure which variety this is but it looks like a Salvia coccinea.  The most popular Salvia coccinea 'Black and Blue' is a favorite of hummingbirds and I'm sure this one would be too!!

So we left the tropicals and went back to the succulents.  My Mother missed out on her favorite and I had a hard time choosing mine.  I really wanted to choose something that is hard to find.  I probably spent 20 minutes trying to choose.....

Here I am with my final selections!! I'm soo happy!! :-)

At home in the hotel for a couple of days.  
Yes.  My husband, Jody, is all too familiar with packing plants on our travels :-)

Yay!! They made it home with me.  I have plans for a couple of container gardens.  I'll post pictures when I've finished them.

If you are planning to visit the Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach, Florida area... don't miss the Farmer's Market on Saturday from 9 - 1!  You won't be dissapointed!