Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sweetstuff's Tools of the Trade

What does Candy use for tools and what does my potting area look like?  I have had some followers on Facebook ask me these questions.  So I thought a blog post would be the perfect way to show you.  First lets look at the tools I use!

Sweetstuffs tools of the trade

Someone told me this looked like I was going into surgery!  Well, sometimes that is the case.  There are times I have to hack away at a plant and I definitely use all of these.  I use quite a few kinds of gloves depending on what I am doing.  The ones on the left would be for planting the softer leaved succulents.  The long sleeved ones on the right are for when I am working on or around my prickly cactus.  These have saved my arms for sure.  Then you will see the drill up above.  I use a diamond headed drill bit to drill holes in some of my thrift store finds.  I have become quite good at it.  Some of these tools are pretty self explanatory but a couple of them I will show you in use or explain.  In the middle you can see some squares of screen.  I bought screen by the large roll at Home Depot and cut it up.  I use it to cover the holes at the bottom of my pots so the dirt does not leak out.  Very effective.  I learned this trick on a planting video of Debra Lee Baldwin.  The little paint brush is used to brush dirt off my plants after I have gotten them potted. Another trick from Debra!  The shells, crushed recycled glass (colored), glass pebbles, & rocks are used for top dressing or decoration.

Cactus tongues

I use the BBQ tongues when I handle my prickly cactus.  This works very well.  If you are careful you will not harm the beautiful stickers.  If the cactus is bigger I will use pieces of cardboard cut into large strips to hold it.

Pulling weed with forceps

Now this idea I thought of myself!  It is so hard to get at the weeds that grow beside or underneath cactus.  My fingers were sore and bleeding before I realized there has to be a better way.  I ordered a couple of pair of different forceps on Ebay.  They work wonders!  You can push this thing way down in the dirt if you want to and never get poked!  Because they are forceps they can lock right on to the weeds and all you have to do is pull!  Yep, I'm a genius!  LOL

Dirt mixing area

So this is my Rubbermaid dirt bucket!  It is the largest one I could find.  I mix my potting soil in this.  I use 1/2 palm/cactus mix and 1/2 dry stall.  I go to a local feed and tack store for my dry stall.  It costs me $12.00 for a 40 lb bag!  Way cheaper than perlite!

New plantings

Just wanted to show you this recent potting!  I think when it gets growing it will look awesome!  I tried to combine great colors and textures!  It should be larger in the back than in the front.

Old scarred Xmas cactus \

I wanted to show you this ancient Christmas cactus.  My mother who was 82 when she passed away about 9 years ago absolutely loved Christmas cactus.  She had three in her living room by the huge windows that were really old when she passed away.  I think they must have been 50 years old.  So I wasn't that into cactus and succulents at the time and I didn't take one.  Dad gave one to my sister and one to her son and the other one died.  My sister's is kind of ok.  But she lives in Phoenix, AZ now and who knows.  Her son Jeff did not know how to take care of it and put it outside.  It somehow lived the rest of these years outside getting froze and coming back until this is all that is left.  I took it from him and I can't believe all the blooms on it.  I will take some cuttings from it and grow new plants without all the scars!

Bloom of Mom's old Xmas cactus

Pretty blooms aren't they!  Check out all the brown scaring.  Poor thing!

Pots and other gardening stuff

This shot is looking under my new gazebo to the left.  I put three shelving units here for pots, etc.  I keep most of my planting materials over here so the other side can be free to display pottings!  Check out the dishes of cuttings I am starting.  Also plants just waiting to be planted.

Potting area inside new gazebo

This is looking toward the middle and my actual potting table.  I have a small vertical planting up on the fence at this time and am just waiting for the other's I have planted to root to hang on this fence.  It will look really great then.  I will post photos when it is done.  This is an old secretaries desk and on the left I keep my fertilizers and other things like that.  You can't see because of the table cloth.  Under the table in the middle are carts to put under larger pots and containers of different rock for top dressing.  The drawers are full of tools, gloves and other misc. items.  The bins on the right hold Shells of many shapes and sizes, rocks and other fun things to add to a pretty potting.

Looking to right inside new gazebo

This is looking toward the right.  You can see gazebo #1 with the green top.  Each gazebo is lines with Christmas white lights.  The green one also has a few strings of pepper lights that look really cool!  At night all lit up this place looks so awesome!

So there you go!  Hope I gave you some good ideas.  Write me a note if you have any questions!
Have a great week and remember:

It's Another Beautiful Day!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Look what's happening at Lowe's

Just had to share with you my visit to Lowe's today!  Wow do they have the succulents!  And I scored on a beautiful echeveria that I have never seen before.  They had quite a variety so I plucked some others up too while I was at it!

Is it Christmas?

So first I have too show you this beauty!  I may go back and get this tomorrow.  It was in a bowl with other succulents and the color just jumped out at me.  I have never seen an aeonium so red before except in photos.  I want it!  Hee hee!  Oh and why didn't I buy it then?  Well......I had just gone to the eye Dr. where he had put all these crazy drops in my eyes.  My pupils were all dilated and I had to wear my sunglasses!  So I was just taking photos willy nilly!  It wasn't until I uploaded them that I went Aaaaah!


Here is the pot it was in!  The other succulents I have but for $22.98 I can always use more to put in other planters.  And this aeonium is a prize!

Echeveria 'Neon Breakers' hybrid 3

Then I came upon these tubs of huge echeverias!  They were hybrid's called Neon Breakers!  Had to have a couple of these for sure!

Echeveria 'Neon Breakers' hybrid blooms

Check out the bloom on Ms. Neon Breakers!  Wowza huh!  Love the color!

Aloe plicatilis 1

Beautiful pots of aloe plicatilis!  No stem yet but on there way!  I have two so I left these behind!

Beautiful succulent hanging basket

They had a couple of these beautiful hanging baskets!  $29.98.  I bet the folks in Southern Calif. would be going crazy to grab one of these!  Great price but I couldn't afford to get.  I can do myself for much cheaper.

Look at all the pretties at Lowes

Here are the racks of succulents.  You can see some hanging baskets and lots of other goodies.  On the otherside of these racks there were even more!  I went inside to get some spaghnum moss and found even more plantings.  Some very cute basket and other ideas.

So if you have time and some extra dough you might want to check out Lowe's.  It's pretty Sweet!

Tomorrow I am going to the Carmichael Cactus & Succulent Society Show & Sale.  I went last year and it was awesome.  I look forward to seeing great people and beautiful succulents.

Until next time remember:

It's Another Beautiful Day!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Think Outside the Box

Sometimes when you garden you get tired of the hum drum.  Plant in the ground, plant in a pot.  But when you look on the internet everyone is doing vertical gardening.  You want to do it too right?  So do you need to go find a frame at a garage sale?  Make your own frame?  What to do. What to do.  So one day you are gardening and you tell your husband your dilemma.  So he goes into the garage and within 5 minutes he comes out with this object and says, "Will this work?"  I almost fell over and crushed my echeverias with what  he brought out!  He brought out a hamburger BBQ grill cage that I got him for Father's Day one year and was never used!  Heck yea!  That will work like a charm.  What a smart guy he is!

Vertical gardening BBQ style

This is how I made it.  I opened up the cage.  Then in the larger part I laid sphagnum moss that I found by the sheet.  I made sure that it came up around the sides.  Then I filled it with my planting mix.  I use 1/2 cactus/palm mix and 1/2 dry stall.  Then I laid down another layer of sphagnum moss and put the grill back together and latched it down.  After this I got it soaking wet.  I already had bunches of cutting from my garden so I gathered a variety of the smallest.  I used a pencil and punched holes and inserted each cutting where I thought it would look good.  I even added some to the top and on each side.  Ta Da!  All done!

Succulent Hamburger BBQ grill

Here is a close up of the actual cage all planted!  I posted it on Facebook and it went viral.  How cool is that!  That husband of mine is a smarty pants.  And he has made me think outside the box.  I now have a couple of shish kabob BBQ cages that I am going to plant.  Oh by the way.  You can get this hamburger BBQ grill cage at Walmart for about $8.00 unless you have one already.  Just water it every few days till the cuttings root.  That may take about a month.  Then hang it anywhere you want and watch your friends be amazed.

So don't forget to think outside the box.  You will never know what you (or your genius husband) will come up with!  And of course remember:

It's Another Beautiful Day!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What's happening at Sweetstuff's

Space saver

Spring is here and lots of great things are going on at Sweetstuff's!  First of all since I have pretty much run out of concrete area I have decided it is time to go vertical.  So on my front porch I added this baker's rack.    This photo was taken a few weeks ago so there are now many more plants in front of the baker's rack to enjoy.  I love walking into my front door.  So many bright colors and shapes.

Graptosedum Alpenglow

Everything is out of the garage including the Graptosedum Alpenglow you see above streaming out of a hole in my strawberry pot.  We dismantled our gazebo that we turned into a greenhouse and now it is just a regular gazebo.  I did learn a lesson with the gazebo.  Since air is trapped inside and there is not much circulation it made the plants inside very susceptible to bugs.  The ground inside the gazebo became wet when it rained which did not help matters.  It took me a while to get rid of the aphid explosion.

Sedum pachyphyllum

In the front planters plants are trying to peek out of the layer of leaves I put down to help insulate them from the cold.  I still have to remove them.  I have been very busy lately trying to make the back patio livable again that this got pushed back.  Today we put up our 2nd gazebo over my planting area.  It was quite a job and took up most of the day.  But in the end it will be awesome.  Pictures of it to follow in another post.

My Big Blue Pot

The aeoniums in my big blue pot out front is doing quite well.  I love to watch it change colors all year with the change in temperatures.  All the succulents down below are doing crazy well!  If you look at the photo in the upper right you can see a large rosette on the aeonium plant starting to push out a bloom stalk from it's center.

Sedum pachyphyllum in full bloom

I have blooms all over the place!  This sedum is so pretty and yellow.  The Aloe brevifolia 'Crocodile Plant' has many offsets and is getting really crowded!

I'm stuffed

The echeveria 'after glow' is still dark from the cooler temperatures.  It is still happy in this large saucer with lots of other echeveria's.  I started this saucer as just cuttings and it took off.

Euphorbia spurge 'Ascot Rainbow' and friends

This is my side bed behind the gazebo next to the fence.  I planted this Euphorbia x martini 'Ascot Rainbow' last fall and it took off and is blooming like crazy.  Joining it are other succulents such as the purple graptoveria 'Fred Ives' you see front center.

Echeveria gluaca

I have had this bed of echeveria glauca growing for many years.  It is creeping over the cement.  I whack it closer to the little iron railing you can see quite often and it just keeps creeping back.

Euphorbia Milii

My Euphorbia Milii is doing fine and survived the winter quite well.  It is blooming now and I have learned that it has light pink/salmon colored blooms.  I think I will be re potting it soon.

Front planter spring 2012

My new front planter is doing really well and every plant survived.  As you can see I have more plants to add that are just sitting in the planter box waiting for me to get dirty!

Front planter spring 2012 1

A close up of part of my new front bed.  You can see a couple of pots ready to be planted.

Tiny Opuntia

This little Opuntia picardoi is doing really well.  It hasn't bloomed yet for me but I am hoping it will this year. This plant is in a pot that is about 12 inches across.

How do you Voodoo

This is my Aeonium Voodoo starting to bloom.  It produces a bloom cluster completely different from other aeoniums I have.  The others usually produce a large stem that then has a large bloom cluster at the end.  This one has many bloom clusters poking out from different areas at the top of the plant.  Each bud will open and show a beautiful yellow flower.

Aeonium 'Voodoo' bloom macro

Here is a close up of the buds and bloom on the Voodoo!

Aloe Saponaria

I think the name of this blooming aloe is Saponaria.  Not sure yet.  Waiting to hear for sure from a valuable source.

Unknown kalanchoe

I love this redish leafed kalanchoe!  The bright blooms are spectacular.  I have scoured the internet though and I don't have a name.

Outside baker's rack

I am running out of room everywhere so I just got another baker's rack from Ross for the backyard. It really fits perfectly in this spot!

Spring 2012

Lots of plants are now outside!  They are all still recovering from there few months in the garage.

Spring 2012

Soooo much work still to do back here.  My honey put up my other gazebo and today I put lights inside of it just like the other.  Now I will be able to plant at night and we will be able to spend evenings outside under the lights.  My sweetie has also been collecting rocks for me as you can see in the wheelbarrow.  We need to put them around the cactus garden.

Ok that is the mini update!  Lots of spring/summer fun to come.  Hope the rest of your week is super duper. And remember:

It's Another Beautiful Day!