fbpx

Upcycled Succulent Project

I spotted this sad and lonely set of bedside drawers on the roadside ready for a hard rubbish collection….and immediately knew what I wanted to do with them. An upcycled succulent project – yes Succulents in Drawers!

With a bit of prep work and a coat of paint to jazz them up they were ready to go.

My hints when looking for furniture to use as planters;

1. Look for a stury frame and base – you want it to be able to hold the weight of potting mix and plants!

2. Go for something with interesting shape or texture – don’t panic about its colour (you can always change that).

3. Remember your plants will need to either have drainage holes or you’ll need to prep the planter to cope with no drainage holes (see my tip in the video).

4. Hunt down roadside hard rubbish collections, flea markets, second hand stores and your local Facebook Buy Swap Sell or Freebie pages. And remember to keep an open mind!

A coat of paint on your upcycled furniture can make the world of difference to look of the finished piece.

For this upcycled succulent project I’ve chosen to use black spray paint and I’ve masked off some areas so they remain the original timber colour – because I love the contrasting look.

I picked black because I love the way plants really pop against it and because it modernises the retro piece a bit.

I used a wood furniture polish to bring out the colour in the original timber parts too.

For the full instructions on this upcycled succulent project scroll down and watch the video.

And taa daa here it is finished! A upcycled drawer work of art on my front doorstep.

Now my tip for watering these babies is to use either a large needleless syringe (you can get them from pharmacies) or a small watering can with a very narrow spout. Either way they won’t need much water at all and when you do water make sure you direct it at the base of each plant and not over the foliage or over your upcycled drawers.

So start hunting around your local op shops or hard rubbish collections (if you are allowed) and pick up an old neglected piece of furniture and give it an upcycled makeover. You can also check out our other succulent projects or why not try your hand at some creative, inspirational potted garden projects.

Gardenette Chloe x

Mexican Style Salsa Recipes

Here’s two delicious mexican style salsa recipes that are sure to impress at your next gathering or party.

They just so happen to be vegan as well! Serve with your favourite dipping veggies, tortilla chips or flat bread.

Gardenette EJ Butler xx

Download the printable recipe HERE

 

Pico de gallo

Ingredients:

½ red onion that has been macerating in 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar for at least 10min

3 ripe tomatoes finely diced

Juice of 2 limes

½ cup finely chopped coriander

1 long green chilli or 2 jalapenos finely diced

¼ tsp smoked paprika.

2 tsp salt flakes

Method:

Drain the vinegar from the onion and combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Check for seasoning/chilli and adjust if necessary. Let the pico de gallo sit for at least 15 minutes to let the flavours infuse before serving.

Charred capsicum and corn salsa

Ingredients:

Corn from 1 fresh cob

1 large red capsicum charred on the stovetop or bbq (stalk, skin, seeds and pith removed)

1 tsp salt flakes

½ tsp chipotle powder

1TBL olive oil

Juice of ½ lime

Method:

Puree all ingredients together in a blender or food processer. Check the salsa for seasoning before serving.

Drying and storing herbs

We’re often asked for tips on how to harvest, dry and store herbs – so here goes! Our top tips on drying and storing herbs….

The woodier herbs like Rosemary, Thyme, Bay and Oregano are often the easiest to dry because they don’t have high moisture content. Sure, air-drying can be a slow process but we love it because it doesn’t cost you anything and the herbs retain lots of their essential oils and flavour. Plus how pretty do they look all hanging in a row.

The best time to harvest your herbs is in the morning after the dew had dried and before they flower, that’s when their flavour is most intense. If you’re picking them for drying you don’t want any moisture on the leaves or they’ll rot – and be sure to shake off any dirt or insects that are trying to take a ride.

Harvesting your herbs helps to keep plants looking nice and bushy – just don’t cut the whole plant unless it’s time to replant it. About a 1/3 of the branch at a time is a good
rule of thumb.

I always remove the lower inch or so of leaves (you can save them for drying too) and then just bundle the cut herbs loosely together in a bunch – don’t jam too many sprigs in there – you want some air circulation. Then hang the bunch to dry in a warm, airy spot away from direct sunlight. Depending on the herb they’ll be dry in about ……xx

Or if you are a little impatient you could place the leaves and stems in the oven for 15 minutes at 150 degrees celcius. The leaves can then be stripped from the stems and kept in airtight containers. I like to store the leaves whole then just crush them before use to retain more flavour.

Some herbs like Basil, Chives, Mint and Tarragon can be successfully stored in airtight plastic bags in the freezer. 

Coriander is one of those wonderful herbs that you can use from root to tip. But because it’s a fragile herb it’s tricky to store well. So if you can, have it growing close
to the kitchen so you can pick and eat it fresh from the pot or patch.

 You can keep your coriander fresh for longer by treating it like a bunch of flowers. Simply cut the stems and pop it in a glass of water. Just don’t submerge any of the
leaves, re-cut the stems frequently and change the water every day or so. You can even put the jar in the fridge to keep it for longer. I’ve even stored chopped up
coriander in ice trays.

So there you have it – drying, harvesting and storing herbs Gardenettes style.

How to grow plants in pots SUCCESSFULLY!

If you love growing a potted garden, then you’ll need some of these tops tips for success when growing in pots. Let Chloe show you how to grow plants in pots SUCCESSFULLY!

1. Choose the right size pot for your plant. Not too big and not too small. A pot that is too big is a bit of a waste of space and the proportions look all wrong. While a pot that is too small can’t stunt the growth of your plant. As a guide choose a pot that is 2-3 times the size of the original pot of the plant.

2. Choose the right type of pot; self watering pots are perfect for herbs and vegetables or annual flowers. While lightweight pots are great if you need to move pots around a lot.

3. Prevent potting mix from becoming hydrophobic (that’s repelling water) by using a wetting product like eco-hydrate https://ecoorganicgarden.com.au/produ…

Liked this video? Please give it a thumbs up and don’t forget to subscribe. Check out more videos on our channel here- https://www.youtube.com/thegardenettes

Our fav indoor hanging plants

Nothing creates the feeling of an indoor jungle quite like house plants with tarzan like vines cascading down from above. So when you’re decorating your house with greenery, don’t just introduce plants at ground level, spice things up a bit and create interest from top to bottom.

Our favourite indoor hanging, trailing and cascading plants:

– Devil’s Ivy
– Chain of Hearts
– String of Pearls
– Boston Fern

All pots used in this video can be found in the Northcote Pottery Range at https://www.northcotepottery.com/

Fruit Tree Pruning Basics

Don’t be daunted by how to prune fruit trees – I’ve got a couple of simple guidelines that will help make the process easier.

Firstly start by removing the 3 D’s – that’s any dead, diseased or damaged branches. Then look for any crossing or those growing downwards.

As you go consider the shape – you can prune fruit trees to many shapes – but the main goal is to open up the structure of the tree. This will increase airflow amongst the branches which can reduce disease outbreaks. And pruning will also allow more light into the centre of the tree which will help with fruit ripping.

Let’s start with pome trees – that’s your apples, pears and quince – these trees fruit on obvious fruiting spurs – so we don’t want to prune all of these off! However still need to shape the tree – so look for last seasons growth – that’s the young thinner branches and cut them back to 5 or 6 nods to get the shape you want.

Peaches and nectarines fruit on wood “last seasons growth”. So this pinkish/reddish branch which grew last spring & summer, will produce this coming summers crop. But they need to be cut back by about half so the tree can support all this fruit! Cut just after one of these nodes – ideally an outward facing one – and cut at an angle.

If you had any fungal or pest problems last season then it’s a good idea to do a clean up spray of eco-fungicide mixed with eco-oil. And to help prevent leaf furl on peaches and nectarines, spray them mid winter with a copper based spray and then again right before the leaves emerge in late winter/spring.

If I’ve not talked about a fruit tree that you have or you need more help with pruning then check out if your local nursery has any classes OR carry around a handy book like “The Complete Book of Fruit Growing in Australia” by Louis Glowinski

So know that you know how to prune fruit trees – well the basic tips anyway….go get snipping!

How to use garden screens

The right screen in the right place can be the difference between an eyesore and a decorative feature in the garden.

I love the look of rusted metal in a garden – I think it adds style and character to outdoor living areas. These outdoor garden screens from Northcote pottery are made from weathering steel so they have a lovely rusted appearance and they come in different patterns and sizes to create privacy, block unsightly views and decorate every corner of the garden.

This bare old fence is screaming out for a makeover, so in go these Moroccan style Geometric screens and what a difference. I’ve broken up the screens with some simple climbing frames so that I can get some greenery growing up here. It’s looking a bit bare at the moment, but I’m planting a beautiful deciduous climber called Boston Ivy. It will create a lovely wall of green in the spring and summer and in autumn it turns beautiful shades of red. So the combination of the rusted screens and colourful foliage will be just stunning.

Now it’s time to update the old gate and give it a new lease on life. Goodbye boring gate palings, hello stylish new entrance. The biggest screens in this range are 1800 x 900mm, which is the standard size of a lot of garden gates – so I just removed the old palings and kept the frame intact, then drilled the screen to the frame and wha la – there’s just no comparison.

I also like to use rusted screens as works of art in the garden and the smaller screens in Northcote Pottery’s collection are just perfect for creating a focal point, dressing up a tired old fence or spicing up a dull wall.

Create a succulent ball

I love a bit of garden art so I’m going to create a living succulent ball that can be a hanging feature in your garden.

Here’s what you’ll need:

2 good sized hanging baskets
A stylish selection of succulents
Quality potting mix
A piece of cardboard
Cable ties
A few pieces of floristy wire

I’m using matching Stratford Hanging Baskets from Northcote Pottery’s Clyde Garden Collection. The detail on them is bird cage like, which is wonderfully decorative and there’s plenty of room for planting succulents.

Start by filling both of the baskets with potting mix. Now the tricky bit is joining the two baskets to form a sphere – so here’s a neat trick. Simply place a piece of cardboard over the top of one of the baskets, put the two halves together and gently slide the cardboard out. Then firmly secure the baskets with cable ties.

Now comes the fun part the planting. I’ve chosen a selection of Echeveria’s from InStyle succulents. I’m using different colors and forms for extra impact. So I’ve got some darker forms like ‘Painted Lady’ which has burgundy coming through the foliage and ‘Black Knight’ which has burgundy or almost black tips and then some silver forms for real contrast.

These plants have been grown as plugs so they’ve only got a small root system which makes them perfect for this style of planting. Now all you need to do is cut little holes into your hanging basket liner and pop them in. If they are a little insecure just get your hands on some floristry wire and you can pin them in.

If you’re finding it tricky to get underneath then try resting the basket on a pot to do the lower half and remember to secure any loose succulents with floristry wire. Now all you need to do is reattach some of the wires from the hanging basket were removed earlier and it’s ready to display in the garden. The perfect garden disco ball!

How get rid of black flies around indoor plants – Fungus Gnats

The pesky little black or grey flies darting around your indoor plants are fungus gnats!

While the flying adults are just plain annoying, it’s the larvae which live in the potting mix that can be doing some serious harm to your plants.

The adult flies lay their eggs into the potting mix and the teenie tiny, larvae hatch out and feed on organic matter including plant roots and soft tender stems. This can cause wilting and slow the growth rate of your plants right down.

But there are 3 simple ways to get rid your fungus gnat problems!

Number 1 – DO NOT overwater your plants. Fungus gnats love wet potting mix and outbreaks most often occur when the soil isn’t allowed to dry out between waterings. The eggs and larvae need continuous moisture to survive, so allowing the soil to dry out before you wanter can help break the lifecycle.

Number 2 – Kill the larvae in the potting mix using a soil drench of eco-neem. This is really easy to do – simply mix up the right dilution in large bucket. Then take each of your plants and allow them to soak in the mix until the air bubbles have stopped. Let them drain outside in the shade, before bringing them back inside. You’ll need to repeat this soil drench in 7 days because the flying adults can live for a week or more.

Number 3 – Do NOT allow water to pool around the roots of your plants. So tip out excess water that may gather in cover pots or saucers after watering. Leaving it will just encourage algae to grow, which the fungus gnats will just feed on!

So don’t let fungus gnats invade your indoor plant jungle and remember….there is anyways room for one more plant!

You can buy eco-neem from Bunnings & all good garden centres OR online here: https://ecoorganicgarden.com.au/produ…

Orange & Thyme Panna Cotta

ORANGE, SAFFRON AND THYME PANNA COTTA

Downloadable PDF Recipe HERE

Serves approx. 8. Prep time 45min + 4 hours cooling time in the fridge.

This recipe calls for 5 whole oranges. You’ll need the zest of these for the first part of the recipe, reserving the flesh for serving. This sweet treat looks really impressive made in 8 martini or retro dessert glasses and can be made a day ahead of time. The ingredients can be halved to produce 4 desserts.

INGREDIENTS

For the Panna Cotta:

– 1 pinch saffron steeped in 1 TBL boiling water for at least 5 min

– Zest of 5 oranges

– 600ml pouring cream

– 400ml full fat milk

– 2 TBL honey

– 50g caster sugar

– 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract

– 8 sheets (leaves) gelatine (we used mackenzies brand)

– Cold water for soaking gelatine

For the macerated oranges:

– 5 oranges, peeled and segmented

– 1 TBL caster sugar

– 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves

– Fresh thyme sprigs for serving (flowering if you can get them!)

METHOD

Soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water for approximately 10 minutes. In the meantime, you can start on the panna cotta mixture.

Combine in a medium size pot over a medium heat all the panna cotta ingredients, except for the gelatine and the water it’s soaking in. Stirring occasionally, heat the mixture until it starts to steam and small bubbles form around the sides of the pot. DO NOT LET THIS BOIL. Once hot, pour the mixture into a bowl and set aside. Squeeze out the excess water from the bloomed gelatine and whisk into the hot panna cotta liquid until it has completely dissolved. Strain the mix into a jug and wait until it cools to a luke warm temperature before pouring into the dessert/martini glasses. Set these in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Before serving your dessert, combine the segmented oranges, thyme leaves and caster sugar and let sit for at least 5 minutes. Top each panna cotta with the macerated orange segments and some of its juice. Garnish with beautiful thyme sprigs and thyme flowers if you have any.